In part two of this two-part post, lets dig much deeper and get into the practical aspects of that principle. These ten practices, if applied consistently, will help stop the turnover bleeding that’s costing your company and destroying its reputation.
1. Let employees think and act like business owners.
Employees should feel empowered to make decisions–and employers should let them. That may require a significant shift in the way you lead. What I’m saying is, decision-making processes and approvals need to be simplified; and leaders need some coaching in how to hand off the reins; and employees need training, coaching and mentoring to help them confidently grab hold of the reins.
2. Minimize the rules.
In thinking like an owner, you also should minimize the rules. Unnecessary policies coming from bureaucracy stifles the entrepreneurial spirit we talked about in the first post, so if you’re the one setting down new policy, my advice is — go on a rule diet. Enlist a few people cross-functionally to create a council where you meet just to look for ways to keep the bureaucracy to a minimum.
3. Give people the opportunity to drive.
If a team member comes up with an idea that may not be part of their “scope of responsibility,” help connect them with the right teams and let them bring their ideas to life. Whether you’re the boss or a senior co-worker, try to give them that opportunity to drive something. It will expand their skills, thinking and creativity. And….ultimately drive up your engagement scores.
4. Create a recognition program that rewards people for thinking like an entrepreneur.
As a servant leader, reward those who are constantly sharing ideas that are simple and small, but still make a significant difference to either the customer experience or company bottom line.
5. Try to work with colleagues in different departments for cross-pollination of ideas.
One of the reasons smaller companies are naturally more entrepreneurial is because of this practice– the team is small enough that everyone has a voice and input on everything, even if it’s not part of their core responsibility or strength. So, as your team, dept. or company get bigger, be vigilant of getting segmented off from other departments and creating silos. You want to keep the steady flow and diversity of ideas, fresh perspectives and organic innovation that can come from cross-pollination.
6. Always, always, always communicate.
As teams, departments and companies grow, internal communication gets more complex and naturally suffers. So be intentional about it. If employees are indeed being asked to think like business owners, then they need the access to the same information that owners receive; they need to be brought to the table for input and be included in important conversations; they need a clear understanding of the big picture, strategic goals, changes of direction, and what’s going on in the minds of management if the bus route changes; they need to be invited to meet customer and clients, and get early exposure to them even before they become clients.
7. Create a culture of questioning.
Questions fuel the creative process and entrepreneurial mindset. Perhaps you can open meetings with a thought-provoking question. You can create a Wiki page or any other online community where co-workers can post any question they may have. Or you can pose a question of the month to get everyone focused and thinking about a certain aspect of the business.
8. Let them ask you anything.
As senior leaders and managers, you want to foster a transparent culture by allowing for any question to be asked, even the tough ones! Then address them in a town-hall meeting, as uncomfortable as it may feel. This will dramatically increase trust with your employees, and build a collaborate, trustworthy culture.
If you want to ensure anonymity when taking the pulse of your organization, try a company like TinyPulse, which we highly recommend for getting real-time feedback with short, frequent surveys that get high response rates.
9. Have a “no door” policy.
No, not an open-door policy; I mean a no door policy. At companies like HubSpot and Menlo Innovations, execs sit with everyone else, and in many cases (including the CEO, pictured above), the walls around cubes have actually been taken down completely. Collaboration and engagement soars once the barriers (physical and emotional) are removed.
10. And finally, set an entrepreneurial example.
As with most elements of a company’s culture, the entrepreneurial spirit has to come from the top and from within. Whether you’re in upper management or not, setting an example for yourself and your department can always help trigger more responsive, innovative ideas around you. If you’re not open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, how can you expect your team to be open to them?
At Leadership from the Core, our business is reversing leadership behaviors that lead to turnover and low morale! We do that through servant leadership. If this post struck a chord, subscribe below to receive a download link to a FREE 45-minute teleseminar….
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These are simple behaviors that any manager at any level can start doing today.