I was in Georgia running a “Thought Leadership Pod” for a national technology company. We had mid-level managers from all the various departments. It is not usual that you find such a diverse group of business people at one workshop, however, during this event, we were asked by senior leadership to uncover the level of corporate entrepreneurship.
As we normally do, we designed and sent out a custom survey with a variety of questions in order to understand their companies “Corporate Entrepreneurial Quotient.” What we found is that the level of excitement regarding their areas of business was almost non-existent. This surprised the leadership, since they stated that at their department meetings people seemed to be excited about their job and the company as a whole.
More than 75% of the managers that have been in their position more than 2 years had lost their excitement for what they do. They were just doing what they were told to do and found their excitement outside of work. The results were the same across the board, from sales to accounting. 60% felt that they had no ability to change the way things were done. 80% of the managers that handled virtual teams felt that their position was challenging and kept them motivated. 95% of the managers stated that the company says they want change, but when it comes to delivery, it falls short .
When the question came up in the thought leadership pod, as to how they planned on getting the spark back, some responded they would take a vacation and then it would be better (but only for about a week), but most of them had no response at all. Through our proven process of getting the participants to share their corporate wisdom we were able to stimulate some great conversation and uncover some very interesting underlying issues that that company had hidden below a layer of corporate politeness.
After working through the department mind-maps. Discussing how various departments and their actions are linked to other departments. Then discussing concepts such as “fingerpointerosus,” comparison obsession, sub-optimized P&L’s and more, the 4 root causes were identified.
Once the root causes were identified, they had to develop a way to overcome these issues and implement change in a positive way. Just identifying the root causes created a sense of relief and then excitement about how to create a “real” culture of corporate entrepreneurship. This group of managers that started off with nothing to say, turned into a group of exited employees thinking outside the box, working together, and experiencing a mutual benefit culture that brought their excitement back to their work experience.
They also needed to leave the two-day experience with the tools necessary and the knowledge how to use them when they got back to their daily activities. The following are some of the tools the left with:
I did caution the managers:
It is important to remember what Corporate Entrepreneurial Leaders say:
We increase innovation, efficiency, profit, revenue and develop leaders through the culture we create. We and our teams, fear nothing, appreciate everything and know that what we need, we already have!Marc Gilenson, author of “The Entrepreneurialway”