Looking at it from the outside some might think we are foolish with this policy. As I explained with Franziska, a former employee turned entrepreneur, we support and promote the entrepreneurial spirit of every single employee and that of course can lead them to develop the courage to start their own business. However, I would never change our company culture and philosophy.
I am proud of every single one of our alumni that live their dream of self-employment. The creative input we gain from our employees is priceless. We have no machines that do our work and therefore our employees are our most precious assets.
What counts are smart minds, supporting their ambitions and bring out the best in them. Our goal is to make employees feel comfortable at their workplace so they feel proud about doing their job. This has a cascading effect outside of the office with customers and at business events.
Every member of our team knows they are able to shape the company actively, and a completely different level of motivation and work satisfaction is created.
Trust Before Control
Over the years I learned to always welcome every contribution. It is very important to establish a culture where entrepreneurial thinking is supported and every idea is valued (and at least listened to).
I regularly ask my employees what they would like to do outside of their daily tasks and if that would fit with Mashup priorities. I emphasize that they have our ready ear and strong support.
Here I plead for more trust than control. What counts is the result. Miriam and I don’t really care about how long a lunch break is or if everyone really sits at their desks for eight hours a day. What is important for us is the outcome.
Entrepreneurs experiment and discover – a zero-error-policy would be the wrong basis for a tolerant and creative work environment. On the second try mistakes become new knowledge.
On the road to success mistakes are expected. Miriam and I basically became a CEO-duo overnight after being employed PR consultants ourselves for a long time. Therefore we know the principle “trial and error – and try again”. Entrepreneurs experiment and discover – a zero-error-policy would be the wrong basis for a tolerant and creative work environment. On the second try mistakes become new knowledge.
However, don’t forget to lead and guide. In my experience nearly everyone has an entrepreneurial characteristic, but sometimes people just need a push in the right direction.
Hiring intrapreneurs is still a modern leadership concept in today’s economy. Often the company’s hierarchy is too rigid and the fear of passing over control to realize new ideas is very strong.
Surprisingly, as generation entrepreneur, or Gen E, stands for individual responsibility, profit-oriented thinking and dedication these are the same traits that most businesses look for in new hires. Every company can benefit from employing motivated employees that identify themselves with the company as if it was their own enterprise and therefore deeply contribute to the company’s success.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Nora Feist is the CEO of Mashup Communications a Berlin-based agency for PR and digital storytelling. With their philosophy „We love to tell new stories“, the agency focuses specifically on start-ups and founders within the online and mobile sphere. Connect with @mashupstream on Twitter.
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