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Entrepreneurs go through extremes rarely experienced by the normal work force. These entrepreneurs are forced to learn a broader range of information in order to run a business. The entrepreneurial duties may encompass cleaning the floors one day and inventing a new product on another day. They may be required to tackle a personnel issue while raising capital just to keep the business alive. All of these tasks create fantastic learning experiences for the entrepreneur but that new found knowledge is not always shared with the team.
Because the entrepreneurs is the most knowledgeable about the business, the team members constantly seeks advice from their leader. Passing out bits of wisdom daily helps employees but it may not teach or encourage them to think for themselves. One important fact that every entrepreneur would do well to learn is that the sum of knowledge of the team is likely greater than that of any individual in the team. Teaching what you know is great and extremely important, but pressing the team to go beyond what is taught forces them to think and use their own skills to improve the business.
Encouragement of the team members to participate in building the business may help take the business to new levels. Imagine the collective minds and interests all working toward the same goal of becoming the best business possible. Encourage their abilities and have them seek improved solutions or better products thus making the business a real winner. Imagine an environment where the entire staff feels empowered to build a fantastic business and has the pride and desire to do so.
In a recent conference, L. David Marquet author of “Turn the Ship around” described his navy experience of passing along an order that was impossible to follow. The crew was highly trained and oriented to follow orders without question. They were also reluctant to provide any feedback or question authority. Mr. Marquet’s realization of the need to change and force the crew to be stronger contributors resulted in a ship with one of the worst performance records becoming one with a stellar operational record. It is this ability to unify and draw from the team that takes them from working like robots to being an all-star team providing outstanding contributions.
The ability to direct all the team to be participants and active contributors helps to ensure that things are not missed. It is not possible to know everything or to see all issues. Having the minds and hearts of the team focused on the improvement of the business will help in the creation of an all-star business. After all, creating a highly successful business is the dream of every entrepreneur. Why not share that vision with the team and empower them to help achieve that goal!
Taffy Williams is the author of: Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed and the Startup Blog. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC , Facebook, and Startup Group.