Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

So, You Say Your Company Wants an Entrepreneurial Culture

So, You Say Your Company Wants an Entrepreneurial Culture 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Anyone who owns or manages a business or organization can say they want their employees to be invested in the company’s mission. They can say they want to hire natural entrepreneurs. Of course, it is doable to hire the crème de la crème. Aside from entrepreneurship college graduates, you will find and interview people whose core values exhibit those of self-sufficiency, resourcefulness, imagination, and responsibility, but your company environment is what will either keep or frustrate those bright-eyed new hires. It will be impossible for them to identify with the company’s goals without the proper environment.

It can be quite the paradox. Job security is a top-priority item for all employees, but for those who are met with office politics and petty status issues, job security can become the only reason to go to work. How can these people be imaginative and empowered at work when they have a career to worry about? Before Barefoot Wines was conceived, Michael was a government employee. He was motivated, like most college grads, to be productive and move forward in his field. But the negative office environment gave Michael a wake-up call. He did not want to become an employee who was detached from his actual job, only going to work because it was his duty to show up. From then on, he was determined to avoid working for any such organization.

In part, Barefoot Wine is due to what Michael learned from his stint with the government. As a company grows, it is further and further removed from accountability for the customer experience, and sales. Any employee may think, “Sales is someone else’s responsibility. I’m going to get paid regardless.” This leads to people becoming comfortable in their specialty. Why does their individual job matter in terms of customers and sales? This thought process is even worse at the governmental level, where many are so detached from customer responsibility.

Simply put, sales is the foundation from which entrepreneurial culture grows. If two people start a business together, they both know that sales need to happen to guarantee them a job the following day. As the business grows, new departments develop, and the two owners are not as close to sales as they once were. Here, you can see how easy it is to lose an entrepreneurial culture. Maintaining an entrepreneurial culture is more important than building it! As a company grows, compliance and fear can replace productivity and sales. Employees are no longer dedicated to responsibility, ownership, and empowerment—their basic checklist is simplified to attendance and status.

So, before you interview and hire for people who are natural entrepreneurs, you must first make sure your company environment will keep them there. Whether it is a startup or an established company, it is essential for any organization to create a culture of acknowledgement, respect, ownership, and enthusiasm. Always keep the customer experience first in mind. This, instead of organizational politics, must be most important.

Get in tune with the company’s foundation and what got it all started—sales. Sales must be the motivational factor that drives and fosters a proper entrepreneurial culture. How can you maintain a proper environment if you’re out of touch with your core goals? When your employees understand that they are appreciated and are capable of making a difference, they will be devoted to delivering the best customer experience!

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