From Sydney, Australia to Washington DC, the start-up landscape continues to evolve and attract new entrepreneurs. Some of these start-ups will be able to grow into multi-million dollar companies while maintaining their cutting edge approach. Others may achieve growth but eventually lose their motivation and entrepreneurial spirit. Below are five signs that you have lost your entrepreneurial spirit and five surefire ways to get it back.
What are the top signs that you have lost your entrepreneurial spirit?
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, there are some signs that your entrepreneurial spirit might be slipping away. Recognizing these signs and addressing them quickly is paramount to remaining on the cutting edge of success. Here are the top signs that you have lost your entrepreneurial spirit:
1) Complacency has replaced initiative
Complacency at work is both counterproductive and potentially dangerous. A complacent work culture can lead to low levels of employee satisfaction, a lack of innovation, and poor retention. Complacency can manifest itself in many ways, including the following:
- An absence of passion
- Disengaged leaders and employees
- Cessation of calculated risks
2) Shared experiences have come to a screeching halt
A growing number of responsibilities and a larger workforce can reduce the quality and quantity of employee gatherings. If you cannot remember the last time you held a party or an impromptu employee gathering after hours, then it is time to refocus your efforts on creating more opportunities for you and your employees to spend quality time together.
3) Employees are doing the bare minimum
If you feel increasingly frustrated because your employees seem to be exerting minimal effort at work, then a big business mentality may be permeating your workforce. Here are some signs that your employees are cutting corners and doing the bare minimum to keep their jobs:
- Employees consistently leave early every day
- Absenteeism is on the rise
- Workers rarely offer suggestions or ideas anymore
- You notice a growing number of employee errors
4) Your business is caught in a time warp
“…Big companies can’t fight their way through the paperwork, budgets, and politics to create real innovation – probably the very thing that got them to that size in the first place.” – Gee Ranasinha, Founder and CEO of KEXINO Marketing Agency
Does your business look and function exactly the same way that it did two years ago? Are you still using the same strategies to generate leads and activity? If your company has remained essentially unchanged over the past couple of years, then it is time to reclaim your entrepreneurial spirit.
5) You have stopped taking risks
Calculated risks play a key role in success, regardless of your field of work. If you notice that you have gotten into the habit of always playing it safe or avoiding risks, it is time to reassess your approach and reflect back on the many ways that your calculated risks helped you reach your goals in life.
What can you do to maintain your entrepreneurial spirit?
Fortunately, reviving your entrepreneurial spirit is not costly or difficult – especially if you get started as soon as you see the signs above. You can recapture your enterprising nature by implementing the series of steps described below.
1) Always be on the lookout for the warning signs above
You must play an active role in monitoring your organization for signs of complacency and stagnancy. Recognizing and addressing these unproductive behaviors before they become commonplace throughout your organization is vital to resurrecting an innovative work culture. Be sure to address these specific warning signs as soon as they arise:
- Increased absenteeism
- Employees leaving early on a regular basis
- Workers who previously exhibited initiative are now offering the bare minimum
- Disgruntled employees
2) Approach onboarding and training with an entrepreneurial flair
Your new hires represent the future of your company. The on-boarding process is the perfect time to ensure that your new hires adopt an enterprising attitude. Make sure that training platforms are thought-provoking, engaging, and relevant to each employee’s goals. As you develop and update your training initiatives, make sure to remember the following:
- Emphasis your vision and shared company goals before, during, and after the onboarding process
- Consider using a learning management system (LMS) to keep new employees engaged in training
- Provide training on a continued basis to help employees adapt to the changing marketplace
3) Eliminate complacency once and for all
The keys to eliminating complacency are to re-engage your workforce and encourage positive change. Author and management thought leader, Dr. John P. Kotter, suggests an 8-step process for leading change to address complacency in the workplace. These steps include creating a sense of urgency, forming a strategic vision, generating short-term wins, and sustaining acceleration.
4) Seek guidance from a seasoned mentor
“A mentor with experience as an entrepreneur or business executive can take a lot of weight off your shoulders. You have the benefit of their experiences and the advice of someone who has been there before. Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have had mentors along the way. Gates had Buffet and Zuckerberg had Jobs, for example.” – John Rampton, Entrepreneur VIP
An accomplished mentor can help you remain focused on achieving success without sacrificing your entrepreneurial spirit. Ideally, the mentor you choose should be one who has experienced sustained innovation along with growth.
5) Lead by example
Setting a good example for your workforce is vital to ensuring that employees remain motivated to exceed expectations and demonstrate initiative. Some effective ways to lead by example include the following:
- Always remain focused on building and maintaining relationships
- Be present and actively involved in daily operations
- Attend industry trade shows to learn about the latest market trends
- Master the art of active listening when communicating with others
The Bottom Line
Maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit will help you prosper, regardless of whether you own your own business or currently work for an employer. If you feel that you have lost your innovative approach, take a step back and resolve to follow the steps above to help restore your passion and focus. Most importantly, always be on the lookout for signs that you are becoming complacent. By monitoring your behaviors and actions, you will be able to maintain your cutting edge approach.