In Profitable Problem Solving

Listen up CEOs….

Do you offer the Four “MUST HAVE” cultural constructs to attract and retain Intreprenuers

You would not believe how many CEOs quip the corrective statement, “Don’t you mean entrepreneurs?” My response every time, “No. I did, in fact, mean to say Intreprenuers.”

Does that type of question concern you? It should if you work for – or invest in – a company with an out of touch CEO. Intreprenuers are the best and the brightest of today’s employees. Every community, industry, and company have them in their ranks. The big question, can you attract and retain them?

Intreprenuers are the entrepreneurial minds that put their special gifts to work for a company rather than powering their own entrepreneurial endeavor. That is not to say that they will not one day branch out on their own, but for today, count your blessings to have them adding value within your organization.

About that, how do you attract and retain Intreprenuers?

  1. Pay for performance

What does that mean you ask? It means you should link the ability for your employees to increase their income to their performance, ability to solve problems in your environment, and contribute to innovating new products and services. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you should pay more for what your employees already do – rather I am advocating for you to take it up a notch and ask them to go above and beyond. And when they do (and they will), then you reward those employees that heed the call and deliver value that you could have asked for in their annual goals.

Need some data to buy in? Studies validate that incentive pay has a positive impact on overall performance. Even better, incentive pay has been linked to improvement in laggard employees as well. In other words, if you want your employees to differentiate themselves with performance that requires extraordinary effort, put a carrot in the game and reward them for their extraordinary accomplishments with more opportunity and compensation.

  1. Praise performance with unabashed recognition

Yes, you not only should put a smart compensation plan in place to pay for their extraordinary performance and innovation; you should provide a strong recognition program.

Per Forbes, recognition can be particularly impactful when given in the moment, and in the context of enterprise-wide value. Your employees appreciate that you notice their contributions and make the point to recognize them for differentiating themselves.

Make certain that when you build your recognition strategy, you include many different options to share the recognition with the entire employee base. With a loud and enthusiastic voice, share the good news on the social media platform your firm utilizes, in employee newsletters, during town hall meetings, and as a part of key employee meetings. This action will not only produce a gratifying and rewarding experience for the Intreprenuers, it will create buy-in from other employees motivated by recognition and want to emulate that Intreprenuer’s good deeds to gain similar recognition.

  1. Crowdsource to your Rock stars

When you have a group of Intreprenuers that are firing on all cylinders, you have critical mass. Amassing such critical mass is a competitive advantage if you opt to harness the power it can offer. Imagine the insight that can come from these Intreprenuers that know your company like the back of their hand. Consider forming an employee advisory board with nominated seats for high performers and use them as a focus group when considering how to innovate new products, evolve the company culture, and scale the operations.

Perhaps rhetorical, but why would you pay an outside consultant when you have a group of rock stars that have the ability to outclass and share their entrepreneurial insights with you? To add to the benefit, these Intreprenuers not only understand your company, they understand your best practices and your customer base. Imagine the framework for success an advisory board of Intreprenuers can deliver to your organization. Lastly, any change that comes from this type of employee-based vetting process is certain to have high adoption from your staff.

  1. Use Intrepreneurs to Solve problems when they are small, simple, and less expensive

You will not find a better subject matter expert to help you identify issues in a most simple, non-disruptive, inexpensive state than your staff. Often, employees know more about company problems than the management team and the CEO. Unfortunately, the CEO isn’t often aware of such issues until they have been ignored for a period if time, festered into something dangerous, and require an expensive and time-consuming process to fix. Of course, that assumes you can fix the issue at all.

Intreprenuers are highly capable of finding and solving problems within their organization. Moreover, empowering your employees to put on their entrepreneurial thinking caps and solve problems in their area of responsibility is good business. Consider the additional benefits of this rock star culture: these benefits include but are not limited to increasing employee collaboration, stimulating problem-solving, and nurtures a thriving culture that can be a competitive advantage. I call this strategy Profitable Problem Solving.

Bringing this post to a close…

I have spent the past twenty years working to turnaround failed or under-performing business units and companies. I have witnessed companies recover and fail, each example always enveloped in significant cost and disruption. With all of that in the rearview mirror, I have to say that the absence of just one of these four cultural constructs in a company is an indicator the leadership team is disconnected and leaving opportunity on the table.

These four constructs are simple to build into your business strategy, inexpensive and simple to implement, and worth their weight in gold (and shareholder value) to nurture and sustain.

Why leave opportunity on the table?


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