Leadership skills and styles vary from one individual to another. Which is why it is always important to learn new techniques, get new ideas on how to cultivate a leadership styles that empowers you to be a great leader in today’s modern society. In my blog piece on “The Incredible Benefits of Creating an Entrepreneurial Workplace”, I shared about a client of mine that saved seven figures by instituting my philosophy and process. I’d like to tell you a little more about how it works.
Creating an Entrepreneurial Workplace, as I wrote about in Jack Canfield’s book, “The Road to Success, Volume I”, is very challenging to do. At the same time, the rewards for creating this environment are exceptional.
I’d like to address two key challenges today that block employee empowerment, ownership and entrepreneurism. The first is around improving company communication, in particular cross functionally. The second is about understanding the challenges of why it’s not inherently in most employee’s best interest to be entrepreneurial, and how to turn that around.
Key issues I hear when interviewing employees is:
The number one complaint I hear from companies is about internal communication. It’s not that anyone wants to communicate ineffectively. It’s just that with the way most businesses operate, proper communication isn’t fostered. As well, with most employees looking out strictly for their best interests and their functional team’s best interests, there isn’t enough incentive to work together and communicate effectively.
Almost without exception, I hear about the challenges of functional silos and how departments don’t work together in the company’s best interests. Our tendency is to protect ourselves as well as to be competitive. Neither internally fosters strong communication.
The goal in our workshops is to break down the functional walls and show the benefits of collaboration instead of competition. I actually institute a lot of the principles I share in my sales book “Sitting on the Same Side of the Table: The Art of Collaborative Selling” to help create that collaboration.
The place to start is to find a mutually beneficial desired outcome. Within departments or silos, the path to get to the desired outcome may be different. But, if conversations are facilitated and both sides come to realize they want to get to the same place, they can put together a plan that works for both parties.
Typically I like to start with small gains. Teach the groups the communication skills they need in order to work together. Then they’ll take on small projects or initiatives in which the teams can work together. Once they start making small gains and get to reap the rewards, it leads to non-facilitated cross functional improvements and better communication.
Coming in from the outside, it’s much easier for me to lead and facilitate these improvements. I don’t have the history, the baggage, or the emotional attachments. I find it much easier to help from the outside instead of being in the middle of it. This was true even with my own companies.
As well, employees of my client’s companies will tell me anything. I’m not a threat. I’m only there to help make things better. They’ll be much more open with me than they will be with their boss or other executives. Through this openness, it helps me to lead, guide and facilitate the workshops to maximize the results.