Creating a business full of entrepreneurs – teaching the giant to dance
What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur tends to think bigger than your traditional small business owner. They embrace failure as a part of the learning process and they’re not satisfied with merely surviving, they constantly seek opportunities and transform them into successful ventures.
When a new venture evolves and the few team members that exist have all started their journey in the business pretty much at the same time; it organically creates a natural entrepreneurial culture and a common value system. It’s very difficult to articulate and even more difficult to measure, but you just know it’s there and you can feel it in the energy of the people and the business.
There is a universal innate belief in and commitment to growth, achievement, improvement and success and it’s wrapped up in a sense of ‘we’re in this and creating this together’. Managers are blind to status, power and personal control. It’s a beautifully intense, empowering, fulfilling feeling. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of an environment that is abundant in energy and culture?
Entrepreneurial culture can also be cultivated in larger businesses. When the entrepreneurial climate is incubated within a business it becomes infectious and attracts and encourages entrepreneurial dynamos. It builds the intensity and characteristics of a high growth business. Rosabeth Moss Kanter (who has been studying entrepreneurship since the 1980s) describes this as ‘intrapreneurship’.
When a giant learns to dance, the individuals in the business do not have to be doing “big things” or being the traditional heroic figure and creating a breakthrough invention. Instead the giant or the business realises that the cumulative accomplishments from a team dancing together result in big performance and the majority of times outperform their traditional counterparts.
Some of the ways we (Rethink) cultivate an entrepreneurial environment?
- Stimulating energy
Our leader or ‘Little Big Boss’, Cassandra Kavanagh encourages team members to stay stimulated and energised by having personal interests integrated into work life. For example some of the Rethink team have a lunch time personal training session in the park on Thursdays (which if you’re reading this, you’re more than welcome to join us) and there is a 20 minute daily meditation session available for Rethinkers to attend. It’s important that people feel fulfilled at work both personally and career wise. Work, life and fun aren’t mutually exclusive.
- Consciously creating the Rethink brand
We are currently doing a lot of exploration work with local brand development agency Mezzanine Media to understand all that Rethink is and it’s place in society – and then how each of our team members are an integral piece in that picture. Through this discovery process we are refining and developing our internal purpose, set of values and beliefs and business personality that each member of Rethink can identify with and own. This ultimately gives each team member a deeper understanding of the bigger picture they’re a part of and helping create; which in-turn allows them more autonomy and freedom to operate within the space of Rethink.
- Flexible resources
Another trait of entrepreneurs is the way they use resources. The ownership of the resources is not a priority, but they do need control of the resources for a period. These days, cloud-based technology with open APIs allows an abundance of flexibility. Our business is in the process of moving over to a cloud-based CRM (Client Relationship Management software), that allows over 200 different application to be added or removed to our CRM as we need. We are not tied down to one particular expensive piece of equipment/technology and as we grow, or if the environment we operate in changes, we have the freedom and flexibility to adapt. We are basically borrowing the technology at a small fee for the time we require it.
- Focusing on emotional intelligence
When we recruit new team members to join our Rethink family, we choose them first and foremost on their alignment to our culture and values. We spend time during the interview process to articulate our vision and gauge their belief in and passion towards the business. We then extend this during the life of the team at Rethink, by providing personal development coaching to the entire team, to support them both personally and in work life.