Empower Your Employees to “Think Outside the Box”

Entrepreneurs start ventures because they have new, innovative ideas as a result of “thinking outside the box.” They often identify under-served niches in the marketplace and seek unique ways to fulfill unmet or unrecognized needs.

Once they start and grow the business, do Entrepreneurs foster the culture of “Thinking Outside the Box” in their employees?

The Entrepreneur’s original initiative due to creative thinking is also applicable to his/her organization. If the culture of the company is one of innovation and finding unique ways of doing things better and faster, it will promote not only continued success for the company but also tremendous job satisfaction for the employees.

Entrepreneurs should be careful not to create a control-oriented impression that “Thinking Outside the Box” is only meant for them. It gives a feeling of “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Empower your employees and let them come up with creative ways to perform their jobs better and improve processes in the company. Entrepreneurs too, for this employee performance management philosophy, should think outside the box!

Ravi Patel

Managing Perceptions

A few simple tips for Entrepreneurs to positively manage perceptions in various situations:

  • Never overreact to situations where there is employee dissatisfaction or customer or vendor complaints. Analyze the situation calmly before taking proper corrective action, instead of taking hurried actions due to external pressure.
  • If you do have a serious situation, do not create a smokescreen and divert attention away from it to hide the real problem.
  • Do not focus on the small or minor issues in managing your companies; focus on the larger or macro issues for greater impact. Let your management team manage the details.
  • If you need to make a statement or message regarding any irregularities in your company, do it for significant issues not trivial ones. If you mostly emphasize minor matters, your employees or going to be dismissive of such gestures.
  • Be sensitive to the message that you send with your actions. If you are being austere or are having cost reduction programs, do not have bonuses or spending that is contrary to the current environment in your company. Having incentives is not inappropriate, but make sure that they are related to the right objectives and are perceived positively.
  • Of course, when you are borrowing a lot of money, do not spend it on bonuses or management extravagance. If contractual obligations are involved, renegotiate those for the long-term financial health of the company and goodwill for all stakeholders.

While the above sound obvious,sometimes we tend to lose sight of reality and the negative perceptions that are created.

Ravi Patel

Empower Your Employees to Think

Why do Entrepreneurs start businesses? Usually, because they have new, innovative ideas as a result of “thinking outside the box.” They identify under-served niches in the marketplace and find unique ways to fulfill unmet or unrecognized needs.

Do Entrepreneurs, once they start and grow the business, foster the culture of “Thinking Outside the Box” in their employees?

The reason for the Entrepreneur’s original initiative due to creative thinking is also applicable to his/her organization. If the culture of the company is one of innovation and finding unique ways of doing things better and faster, it will promote not only continued success for the company but also tremendous job satisfaction for the employees.

Entrepreneurs should be careful not to create a control-oriented impression that “Thinking Outside the Box” is only meant for them. It gives a feeling of “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Empower your employees and let them come up with creative ways to perform their jobs better and improve processes in the company. Entrepreneurs for this employee performance management philosophy should also think outside the box !

Ravi Patel

Engage Your People

Recruiting and hiring good employees is not enough for Entrepreneurs.

After new employees start work, on-boarding, orientation and making them aware of the company’s Vision, Mission and culture should be a standard part of any hiring process. How many Entrepreneurs do that?

Even if you have a robust on-boarding process, what do you do to keep your people actively engaged in your company?

Entrepreneurs don’t treat working in their company as a “job.” They need to develop that sense of spirit in their employees. People should feel closely attached to the Mission of the company such that they view their job in a macro sense – as having a direct impact on fulfilling the Mission rather than just completing assigned tasks.

Offering material rewards for accomplishments works for a while. What is more important is the emotional engagement of employees in the company such that they personally identify themselves with the company’s success (and failures). Finding ways to engage employees in a meaningful way should be a key objective for Entrepreneurs.

Engaged employees are generally happy and productive. Involve them in your in your company.

Ravi Patel

Lead by Example

Leaders often encourage their followers “to give their best” to whatever they are doing. Entrepreneurs do the same when motivating employees towards fulfilling the Mission of the company.

In a team environment it is normal for all employees to contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the mission. However, is it always true for the leaders?

If Entrepreneurs expect the best from their employees, then they too should give their very best to the employees and the company. Do they? Leadership by example is not just a catchy phrase!

Entrepreneurs need to give their best to the organization to inspire their employees to do their very best. If Entrepreneurs show an attitude of “do what I say, not what I do,” their employees are not going to be motivated for the long haul.

Doing the right things for leaders means giving 100% or more to prove to the employees that they all are part of the same team and everyone needs to contribute their very best.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on December 10, 2019 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Doing Right

In entrepreneurial companies doing the right things is critical for growth. In general, who is right should not matter as much as doing what is right.

How does this actually work in practice?

If the Entrepreneur has created a culture of favoritism and is partial to employees whom he/she likes, then who is right will take precedence. Employees will try to prove they are right to win favors with the Entrepreneur and might even try to put others down. Not a healthy environment!

On the other hand, if the Entrepreneur has established a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement, then what is right will prevail. There will be more emphasis on doing the right things for the company rather than establishing who is right. In this case it becomes a win-win situation!

What would you rather have?

Ravi Patel

Published in: on December 3, 2019 at 7:15 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Be Grateful

Entrepreneurs have a lot to be grateful for!

First and foremost are our country and the free market system that allow Entrepreneurs the opportunity to create and grow businesses and prosper.

Employees are the backbone of companies and Entrepreneurs should be thankful for the dedication, loyalty and hard work put forth by their people to make businesses successful.

No business can sustain itself without customers and clients. Be thankful to your sources of revenue for putting their trust in you to provide services and products.

Entrepreneurs should also appreciate their suppliers and service providers who continue to supply essential goods and services to sustain their businesses.

Shareholders and financiers who have invested in your abilities to grow the business and provide a return on their capital should be high on the list of people to whom Entrepreneurs are grateful.

Do not forget to appreciate your gratitude to your business advisers who provide a sounding board for you to share ideas and seek advice.

Lastly, the community that you operate your businesses in should be appreciated also.

So on this Thanksgiving, I encourage Entrepreneurs to express their gratitude to the above stakeholders in your companies.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 26, 2019 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Honor Veterans

On Veterans Day yesterday, we honored all veterans who have served and are members of the Armed Forces currently serving our country. How could Entrepreneurs honor current veterans?

When hiring employees, do you consider veterans? Serving in our armed forces instills discipline, adherence to established processes, teamwork, courage, overcoming adversity and other fine attributes that Entrepreneurs should be seeking from qualified prospects.

Veterans bring with them an intrinsic understanding of how loyalty adds to team proficiency and builds trust in a work environment. For Entrepreneurs looking to make a long-term investment in an employee, veterans often outperform other candidates as proven team players.

Through service, training, and lifestyle, veterans typically have the work ethic that any Entrepreneur would be thrilled to replicate in all of the organization’s employees.

Entrepreneurs should, all things being equal, give preference to veterans who have served our country. You will not be disappointed.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 12, 2019 at 7:17 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Value Adding Performance

Classifying employee performance  varies with each company. Most traditional ways focus on actual performance against expectations or against established goals.

Here is an alternative approach. Entrepreneurs should categorize employees into three categories – those who add direct value to your business, those that are neutral or add indirect value, and those that reduce company value.

Clearly, you should pay special attention to the first category by training and motivating them so that they continue to add value. Have a strong retention program for these individuals so that they don’t leave your organizations.

Deal immediately with people that reduce the value of your company. These are the bad apples that need to be removed from the company as soon as possible.

The people that are neutral as far as their contribution to company value need to be either moved to the category of employees that add value by training, or red-circled if they are providing a support function to the first category of employees. If there is a chance that they would reduce the value to your company, they need to be transitioned out.

Identifying the three categories of employees and dealing with them appropriately will go a long way in building the value of your company.

Ravi Patel

Leadership by Example

Leaders often encourage their followers “to give their best” to whatever they are doing. Entrepreneurs do the same when motivating employees towards fulfilling the Mission of the company.

In a team environment it is normal for all employees to contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the mission. However, is it always true for the leaders?

If Entrepreneurs expect the best from their employees, then they too should give their very best to the employees and the company. Do they? Leadership by example is not just a catchy phrase!

Entrepreneurs need to give their best to the organization to inspire their employees to do their very best. If Entrepreneurs show an attitude of “do what I say, not what I do,” their employees are not going to be motivated for the long haul.

Doing the right things for leaders means giving 100% or more to prove to the employees that they all are part of the same team and everyone needs to contribute their very best.

Ravi Patel