One word I hear continually emerging in the way companies describe desired employee behavioral competencies is “entrepreneurial.” It’s clear, you need people who have as much interest in growing the business as the owner does. If I understand what they’re really describing, it’s a person with an blazing internal drive to find and capitalize on business and growth opportunities. People who act like they care about the company and are excited to make things happen.
I’m sure some industries attract more of the type of person who displays these behaviors than others, but what % of the population actually has the potential to fulfill this role for your company? What drives the risk-taking, aggressive, successful activities that your company has come to value? What makes a person behave in this way?
Think about those behaviours and then think about what kind of environment you would need to foster that behavior. Think about what you really want to see and describe the environment that would encourage this. Even if these behaviors can’t be grown (depending on your school of thought) they can at least be developed and encouraged. Even ff they are innate, you can at least draw them out and develop them.
Now, think about your corporate environment. No, not from your experience in the C-suite. Think about the power structure, the kinds of managers you have, the level of empowerment you provide your lowest employees. Think about the staff satisfaction levels you have. How quickly are employees allowed to advance? What is the average age of your employee? Do the managers horde the budget and shell out peanuts to the producers?
How easy is it for someone to be excited about your business. Why should they be excited? Do you offer them some kind of stake in that success? Do people that excel see a path to the top? Do people have to put in 20 years before they see a promotion or some movement? Do you believe in your people enough to develop them and help them grow? Do the resources allocated to growth and development match the need?
Long-term, your greater issue is not where to hire an entrepreneur from, but how you’re going to create an environment where those behaviors develop and flourish. People aren’t 100% entrepreneurial or 0% entrepreneurial. I believe each of us is on a sliding scale on any given day. The focus should be on drawing these kinds of behaviors out and giving people something to be excited about.
Create an environment where all of your employees naturally begin to exhibit these behaviors and you’ll not only see people demonstrating the right behavior, but you’ll be able to keep them.
P.S. The answer to the question in the title: They’re all around you.