A startup is not just about one idea. It’s a culmination of thoughts and concepts brought to life by you and a competent team. The good news is you’re not responsible for coming up with all those ideas, even if you are the entrepreneur. Your team can be an excellent source of ideas as well if you set up your company culture right. Robb Misso, CEO of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions, consults executive leaders on creating a positive culture: specifically, what culture means and how fostering positivity can serve everyone involved in a manufacturing organization as true stakeholders.
If you don’t think that things will eventually work out, you’re going to have trouble waking up in the morning. However, embracing absolute optimism at the expense of reality isn’t going to work either. Balancing the two is often a matter of aiming for the best possible outcome while remembering that things can take a turn for the worse and preparing accordingly.
This approach creates an idea-based company culture by reminding people that things can go wrong without bringing down the room. It also puts their heads in the right place, as nothing generates new concepts like seeing problems.
Entrepreneurs are trailblazers and pathfinders. However, where many startups falter is applying that line of thinking. Thinking outside the box and considering hypothetical scenarios isn’t just for big ideas; it’s for everyday use too.
The startup’s systems and functions, for example, are brand new, with nothing set in stone. The ability to think up possible futures and consider ways to make things work is critical to a startup. Depending on your offering and industry, you and your team might need to dream up something never done before and find a way to make it scalable and applicable to your startup. When someone proposes something, whether it’s a solution or a problem, ask for alternatives. Encourage them to think continually of what else they can do so they can arrive at the best possible option.
Creating and enacting ideas requires an environment of trust, on many levels. Employees must trust not only that you will listen to them, but that they’ll get the appropriate support for their ideas. Without this trust, your employees will hesitate to speak their thoughts, and your dream of having an idea-based company culture will fail before it begins.
How you develop said trust will vary depending on who you’re speaking to, but it can boil down to respect. “Giving people the appropriate amount of respect, and maintaining that respect, can lay the foundation for the right environment,” stated Mr. Misso.
As an entrepreneur, you are held accountable for your startup. The buck stops with you, for good and for ill. That gives your tasks a more personal angle. It’s your work, and you want things to go well.
You should encourage this sense of accountability and ownership in your employees as well. If they come up with a project, let them head it. Reward them for their successes and help them grow past their failures.
If you want people to come up with ideas of their own, you need to lead the charge. Keep generating ideas, and people will follow your lead.
Running a startup as an entrepreneur is a challenging experience. The good news is you don’t need to do it alone. Lean into your team and encourage them to lend you their strength and minds, and you’ll make the path a lot easier.
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