Is your team in the doldrums, unmotivated or underperforming? If so, a lesson in the entrepreneurial mindset is in order — for you and for your team members.
The benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset shouldn’t be confined to a few innovative risk-takers, according to Christopher Gergen, CCL’s 2010-11 Innovator in Residence and author with Gregg Vanourek of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. In their book and through their teaching and consulting work, Gergen and Vanourek offer an important twist on entrepreneurial thinking.
“The entrepreneurial mindset is one that is awake to new opportunities, brings creative solutions to whatever opportunities are on the horizon, translates those opportunities into vision and then ultimately, puts them into action,” says Gergen. “Clearly, those same characteristics are highly valuable in many professional paths and as we lead teams and organizations.”
How can you tap into the entrepreneurial mindset to get the most out of your team?
Teams are at their highest level of performance when companies get two elements right: intentionality and alignment.
Intentionality, according to Gergen, is about clarity of purpose. “The first question you need to ask is, what outcomes do I need to achieve? How clearly can I describe this for myself and the team?” Start with this core purpose, clarify specific goals and priorities, and then turn your attention to alignment.
“People are at their highest performance level when they are doing things that are aligned with their personal sense of purpose. They are looking for opportunity, challenge and the chance to develop their talents, achieve success and make an impact,” Gergen explains. “But they are also looking for a rich life outside of work.”
As a boss or team leader, how can you best match your team members’ skills, interests and needs to the organizational goals? How can you connect work with people’s personal passions? What can be done differently so that people are creative and committed to the team?
“Many leaders are scared to ask these questions, fearful that they’ll find a group of members who are very unhappy in their current roles,” says Gergen. “But it’s much better to uncover that and determine if are there are adjustments that you can make. When people are fulfilled as individuals then they will be great contributing members of the team.”