How an Entrepreneurial Mindset Encourages Innovation Within

August 14th, 2013

Photo credit: The New York Times

When I worked in corporate America one of the competencies I always thought needed improvement was political awareness. Truth is, I did not long to be politically aware. I wanted to stand up in a leadership meeting and share my own thoughts. One day, the Chairman of our company asked 60 of us a question to get our input. He wanted our thoughts, right?  Well little did I realize that even though the Chairman wanted our thoughts, his Senior Manager minions wanted to make sure our answers were approved, cleansed of imperfections, and void of insights that would make anyone in the room uncomfortable. In fact, it would have been best if we sat quietly, smiled, and let senior management solve the important problems of the company. Why even bother inviting us? I still ask that question, but now I kind of know the answer.

In corporate America, you are paid to do a singular job and paid well. Make sure you don’t rock the boat though! Remember, you’re paid to NOT rock the boat, to do your job, and to keep your head down. Alternatively, in most entrepreneurial companies, you are paid based on value that you create. Your ideas seem to matter more. Your actions and risks are more likely rewarded. Try it! Make something happen and take that risk! Most likely, nothing will happen immediately, but you’ll begin the build your confidence and aptitude towards continued risk-taking. Remember, everyone is valued to do their job and using their whole brain. Identifying something is wrong, fixing it and making the place better is a risk that is always rewarded.

Truth is, my story is flawed. The Chairman really did want our thoughts, but his culture would not allow it to happen. Politics, history, hierarchy, personal agendas, and poor leadership prevented him from getting what he so craved; which was an entrepreneurial entity that thrived from the bottom up. Where his employees could help him feel a part of something greater by being a part of the fix. None of us had the authority to participate and the fear of taking any risks. We knew that political correctness was rewarded, not risk taking.

So I started my company knowing I wanted to be the Chairman (funny thought) that could be trusted. Where risks are welcomed. In my company, there is no need for pre-meetings to make sure the staff know how to speak to me. At my company, the culture is transparent and free thinking is encouraged!

One Response to “How an Entrepreneurial Mindset Encourages Innovation Within”

  1. An Entrepreneurial View of Failure | The CBI Group Says:

    […] say that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. How do you handle the rejection? The no’s? The pats on the head […]

Leave a Reply

Outside-In® Book List

© Year CBI Group. All Rights Reserved. Site Credits.