As the founder of your business, you are in charge. You set the vision. You make the strategic decisions for how to reach your goals. You are the one held accountable for the success or failure of your company.
Being the boss comes with a ton of responsibility. But that doesn't mean you have to make every decision. In fact, if you want to build a business that doesn't fall apart when you aren't present, you can't.
You need a group of people working with you to help you advance your mission. But the goal isn't to create a group of minions who follow your every order. And the idea isn't to hire a bunch of clones of you.
You need a rock star team that helps you build a stellar business. Jim Collins' extensive research for his best-seller Good to Great popularized this idea.
"Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they're going--by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with 'where' but with 'who.' They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats."
How to create a team that makes your business better
You need a team who has the entrepreneurial mindset.
Your bus needs to be filled with problem solvers, innovators, with a passion for your customers. You need partners who do what needs to be done quickly, thoughtfully, and resourcefully.
If not, you'll surround yourself with people who who can't move, adapt, and adjust at the speed needed to compete in today's fast moving marketplace.
You'll end up with people who look for permission, rather than taking initiative. You'll get people who shy away from pushing the envelope in favor of defaulting to what has been done in the past.
And you end up with people so focused on "doing their job" according to protocol, that they don't actively look for ways to find solutions that delight your customers. No bueno.
Here are three ways to cultivate a team that embodies a culture of entrepreneurship, so you can build a thriving business.
1. Encourage strategic risk taking
To grow your business, you've got to take risks. You can't be sure about every bet you make, thus experiencing failures from time to time is inevitable. According to 18-time best-selling author Seth Godin, failing frequently is essential to your success.
You need to create an environment where failing is ok. Encourage your team to be curious, try new things, and reject the status quo.
And if things don't work out quite the way you envisioned, they need to know that they won't be punished for it.
2. Frequently connect your team to your customers
Your business exists to serve your customers. The better you are at doing it, the stronger your results will be.
Increasingly, science is proving that connecting your team to your customers, strengthens your ability to deliver better outcomes for them.
"A growing body of research shows that end users--customers, clients, patients, and others who benefit from a company's products and services--are surprisingly effective in motivating people to work harder, smarter, and more productively. A brief visit from a student who had received a scholarship motivated the fundraisers to increase their efforts. A photograph of a patient they had never met inspired the radiologists to read X-rays more accurately. By serving as tangible proof of the consequences and value of employees' efforts, end users such as these can be important allies for leaders in motivating and inspiring their workforces."
Have your team spend more time with your customers. And then empower them to make the decisions that helps them be more successful and improves the experience your business provides for them.
3. Celebrate your team's individuality
Create a culture that is a mosaic, rather than a melting pot.
Often, businesses expect their employees to check their individuality at the door, in favor of putting on the official corporate brand while working.
It isn't so important that everyone on your team look the same, sound the same, and act the same. It's more powerful to leverage the areas that make them unique, and use them as a major asset to your business.
Enable your team to be themselves. Highlight their strengths, and put them on display. Encourage them to build their own professional platform, where they are recognized experts in their field.
Build a team filled with people who think like entrepreneurs. Use their talents as an asset that infuses your business with fresh ideas, and extends your reach. As a result, you'll be able to build a business that goes farther, faster.