I picked this topic for today’s post because I want to share what I learned from venturing out to start my own company nine years ago. This topic is particularly timely to me because Mariner just celebrated its nine-year anniversary. This milestone has given me a chance to reflect on how we got to where we are so quickly.
When writing about being an entrepreneur, I think it’s easy to sound as if you have all the answers, or have it all figured out. Maybe others do…but I will be the first to admit I don't. I am still learning and figuring out how to be the best leader, owner, visionary and mentor I can be. It's a process I enjoy very much, and I don’t think I’ll ever be perfect. With that personal disclaimer out of the way, here are five tips I believe all entrepreneurs should consider:
Define your culture
Focus on your unique ability
Define what's important and what you should measure
Never stop communicating
Don’t be afraid to innovate
Defining Your Culture According to Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I think it’s very important to define the culture you want within your organization. After you define it, you must live it and breathe it every day. You can’t reinforce it enough. Every person in the organization must believe it is their responsibility to maintain and police it. They must also have the freedom to call out when that culture is fading or steering off track. Personally, I believe in a culture of empowerment. I think, as a CEO, my primary focus should be generating results through others. I need to facilitate team success and cultivate individual talents. To be successful, your culture cannot center around one person. I like to think of this as servant leadership. Culture is not only the job, but the responsibility of the CEO, and it must be created from the top down.
We all understand why we don't want incompetent employees. But, how many organizations are comfortable letting someone be competent in just one role? That is what I have been creating at Mariner. Associates who have a passion for what they do should be empowered because they can accomplish so much more than someone who is just lukewarm. Passionate associates truly are unstoppable,and who doesn’t want that? The difference between being excellent at a job and having a unique ability for it, is simply your passion for what you do day in and day out. Think about embracing not just your, but your associates’, unique abilities and then achieving the improbable does not seem so improbable anymore.
Define What's Important And Measure It
This sounds like it would be simple…maybe it is. It's important to remember…what gets measured also gets done. Make sure to think through your desired outcomes and measure what’s important in creating those outcomes. I don’t necessarily believe in measuring outcomes, but instead I like to measure “the little things.” If you do “the little things” consistently every day, then you won’t need to worry about the big picture outcomes.
Never Stop Communicating
Again, this one seems simple. I believe innovation comes from communication. It's the job of the leader, or entrepreneur, to find opportunities where 1 + 1 = 3. We refer to this as the 113 Rule. Communicating with associates, clients, vendors and competitors has always led to our innovation. Communication helps spur new ideas. If we aren’t constantly sharing what we’re thinking, working on, or struggling with, we are losing opportunities to grow the business. When you have the opportunity, always err on the side of sharing information with your colleagues, rather than holding back. You’ll lose opportunities for professional and personal development if that communication does not happen.
Don’t be Afraid to Innovate
If culture is created from the top down, then I firmly believe innovation is generated from the bottom up. Start at the client experience and work backwards. If what you do daily is not about the client, then it really doesn't matter. We like to make small bets and incubate them. They don't all turn out to be home runs, but the two or three that are can be game changers and set your company on a completely different trajectory. Innovation also keeps your good talent invested in the outcomes of your firm.
My Last Thought
Entrepreneurship is about the people you surround yourself with. All companies try to keep, and continually motivate, good people. I think over-achievers get satisfaction out of completing difficult tasks with people who care.
About the author: Marty Bucknell is the CEO of Mariner Holdings based in Kansas City. He is an experienced business man and entrepreneur. This post first appeared on "Pulse"
Don’t forget our elders can suffer in silence too: suicide prevention
Many people think that mental health and suicide are not topics that impact our elders but they could not be more wrong. The data tells us there continues to be an emerging trend when it comes to peop...
Wherever you look these days, not matter the developed country, whole population groups and peoples struggle with the daily grind of life. From children in state care to mental health, from affordable housing to the primary health system and from education to employmen...
For the last few years I have been fortunate to have been involved in the aged care sector and have seen both the lows and highs. Today we live in a world where most of us are living longer thank to more awareness around healthy living, the advancement of better medica...
You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of...
The New Zealand Maori Council has called on the Government to step in and ensure the recommendations made by the Children’s Commissioner in respect of youth detention facilities be implemented without delay. The Report released to the previous Government carried a seri...