Beating Complacency — What bogs down your entrepreneurial spirit?

From Palo Alto to Bengaluru, the startup landscape continues to evolve and attract new entrepreneurs. Some of these startups will be able to grow into multi-million dollar companies while maintaining their cutting-edge approach.

Others may achieve growth, but a corporate mentality that stifles their enterprising nature will ultimately hinder them. Here’s some lessons you can learn from a startup and the top ways to prevent a big business mentality from crushing your entrepreneurial spirit. What are the top signs that you have lost your entrepreneurial spirit?

Whether you are a business owner or an employee, there are some vital signs that your entrepreneurial spirit might be slipping away. Recognizing these signs and promptly addressing them is paramount to keeping your company on the cutting edge of your industry. Here are the top signs that your company is losing its entrepreneurial luster:

Complacency has replaced initiative.

Complacency in the workplace is both counterproductive and potentially dangerous. A complacent work culture can lead to low levels of employee satisfaction, a lack of innovation, and poor retention. Complacency can manifest itself in many ways, including the following:

  1. Absence of passion
  2. Disengaged leaders and employees
  3. Cessation of calculated risks

Shared experiences have come to a screeching halt

A growing number of responsibilities and a more substantial workforce can reduce the quality and quantity of employee gatherings. If you cannot remember the last time you held a party or an impromptu employee gathering after hours, then it is time to refocus your efforts on creating more opportunities for you and your employees to spend quality time together.

Employees are doing the bare minimum

If you feel increasingly frustrated because your employees seem to be exerting minimal effort at work, then a big business mentality may be permeating your workforce. Here are some Indications that your employees may be cutting corners and doing the bare

Minimum to keep their Jobs:

Employees consistently leave early every day Absenteeism is on the rise Workers rarely offer suggestions or ideas anymore You notice a growing number of employee errors.

Your business gets caught in a time warp

“…Big companies can’t fight their way through paperwork, budgets, & politics to create real innovation — probably the very thing that got them to that size in first place.”

Does your business look and function exactly the same way that it did two years ago? Are you still using the same strategies to generate leads and business? If your start-up has remained virtually unchanged over the past couple of years, then it is time to reclaim your entrepreneurial spirit.

What can you do to restore your entrepreneurial spirit?

Fortunately, reviving your entrepreneurial spirit is not costly or difficult, especially if you get started as soon as you see the signs above. You can recapture your enterprising nature by implementing the series of steps described below.

Always watch for the warning signs above

You must actively monitor your organization for signs of complacency and stagnancy. Recognizing and addressing these unproductive behaviors before they become commonplace throughout your organization is vital to resurrecting an innovative work culture. Be sure to attend to these specific warning signs as soon as they arise:

  1. Increased absenteeism — Employees leaving early on a regular basis workers who previously exhibited initiative are now offering the bare minimum disgruntled employees
  2. Approach on-boarding and training with an entrepreneurial flair
    Your new hires represent the future of your company. The on-boarding process is the perfect time to ensure that your new hires adopt an enterprising attitude. Make sure that training platforms are thought-provoking, engaging, and relevant to each employee’s goals. As you develop and update your training initiatives, make sure to remember the following: Emphasize your vision and shared company goals before, during, and after the on-boarding process Consider using a learning management system to keep new employees engaged in training Provide training on a continuing basis to help employees adapt to the changing marketplace.
  3. Eliminate complacency once and for all — The keys to eliminating complacency are to re-engage your workforce and encourage positive change. Create a sense of urgency, forming a strategic vision, generating short-term wins, and sustaining acceleration.
  4. Seek guidance from a seasoned mentor
“A mentor with experience as an entrepreneur or business executive can take a lot of weight off your shoulders You have the benefit of their experiences and the advice of someone who has been there before. Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have had mentors along the way. Gates had Buffet and Zuckerberg had Jobs, for example.”

An accomplished mentor can help you remain focused on achieving success without sacrificing your entrepreneurial spirit.

Ideally, the mentor you choose should be one who has experienced sustained innovation along with growth. Advice from an industry leader can be instrumental in helping you prevent complacency from replacing your entrepreneurial drive.

Lead by example

Setting a good example for your workforce is vital to ensuring that employees remain motivated to exceed expectations and demonstrate initiative. Some practical ways to lead by example include the following:

  1. Always stay focused on building and maintaining relationships
  2. Be present and actively involved in daily operations
  3. Attend Industry trade shows to learn about the latest market trends
  4. Master the art of active listening when communicating with others

The Bottom Line

Maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit will help your company prosper, regardless of its size or focus. If you feel your innovative approach dipping away, you can follow the steps above to recapture it. By erasing complacency and adopting a proactive leadership style, you can restore your entrepreneurial spirit and reposition your company for market leadership.

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