Welcome to a new season! For those of you returning, thanks for sticking this out with us and for those of you just joining our adventures, thank you for taking the time to stop by. I initially started this blog as an outlet to share my research work on organizational management while I was working on my Master’s Degree at Ashford University. I received such positive feedback and encouragement from both my fellow graduate students and professors; I decided to pay it forward and share my research with other “enthusiasts” interested in the fine art of organizational management, because even though these concepts are meant as business strategies, these are tools that can be used in any setting, business, domestic, academic, etc.
We begin our latest season of blogs by taking a closer look on the development of an entrepreneurial culture within an organization. To do so, we must first identify what it means to have or create an organization that consists of a visible entrepreneurial culture. In other words, we must first assess whether an entrepreneurial culture exists and whether that culture has contributed to the organization’s performance. For instance, during my research work, I discovered that a company like the 3M Company, which values innovation, encourages their staff members to experiment with various projects and ideas during company time. If management deems the experimentation successful with results in fruitful outcomes, the company invites the employee to work on the project team for that innovation in addition to providing a monetary reward to that staff member for their input and ingenuity.
In order to identify whether an organization encourages an entrepreneurial culture, the key component is to discern whether structures and/or processes within that organization promote entrepreneurship or whether they hinder the process. The owner of Just Books, Inc., Jennifer Lawton, suggests that good corporate culture, in its purest sense, should have the look and feel of something organic, not contrived. She further states that a balancing act between many components of an organization is needed which requires careful execution at each level (Jennifer Lawton). She believes this is especially true for leaders looking to develop entrepreneurial companies, because they are not only working together to build a business, they are developing an innovative culture as well.
At her organization, for instance, she developed and provides a set of rules for creating and maintaining an entrepreneurial culture. These rules include: (a) treating people with respect; (b) helping staff members stay healthy and balanced; (c) keeping the doors of communication open; and (d) building cohesive teams. She also states that once a healthy, trusted, relationship with informed employees is established, it is imperative that leaders continue to monitor the evolution of the culture so that it develops and expands as intended (Jennifer Lawton). The hard part for any leader or operating manager is to stand back, and with their guidance, watch it develop and grow, like a gardener does, tending the garden.
In addition, Lawton asserts that some of the key components to maintaining an entrepreneurial culture are: (a) allowing the team to build itself within a safe, comfortable, open environment where employees are encouraged to evolve together as a unit without being forced; (b) include management participation without controlling the outcomes, allowing the culture to thrive without the leader meddling or ignoring it; and (c) remembering to bring attention to even the smallest detail. This is because an organization is made up of many small components which create the larger one, and sometimes the smaller details tend to get lost or fall between the cracks of the larger ones.
Finally, and equally important, there are many ways leaders can take action to make employees feel as though they are an integral part of the process, like having lunch with employees; helping them and/or family members through personal issues; participate in team events with staffers. Also, small gestures like saying “Good Morning,” or assisting them with heavy items, and opening a door for staff members. These are just a few examples of what leaders can do to help create healthy cultures with a safe environment where employees are encouraged to offer their feedback, input, and ultimately feel confident to offer their full participation, which in the long run, will also help make the company become a better place to work at, with staff members who are enthusiastic to help that organization achieve successful outcomes.
That’s it for today’s post! On Friday, we will conclude our discussion on developing an entrepreneurial culture within an organization and analyze some of the innovation processes. Until then … Keep working on your leadership skills!
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, Jedi Master.
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Jennifer Lawton. (n.d.). Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture. Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://www.entrepreneurship.org: http://www.entrepreneurship.org/resource-center/creating-an-entrepreneurial-culture.aspx