cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship

Cultivating A Culture Of Entrepreneurship In Your Middle Market Firm

In Leadership Resources by Brandt A. Handley

You might be asking why your Middle Market organization should care about having entrepreneurial-minded employees. Or, an entrepreneurial culture. You aren’t a startup and you want to keep your great employees, not give them wings to go start their own companies, right?

While the statement is true, it isn’t necessarily accurate. Or, at the very least it isn’t the whole picture. First of all, even the most top-down cultures can benefit from employees with entrepreneurial tendencies.

What Are The Benefits

Most organizations desire employees who are:

⦁ innovative and creative
⦁ forward thinking
⦁ self-confident and self-aware
⦁ ambitious and motivated
⦁ able to demonstrate initiative
⦁ visionary and capable of sharing your vision
⦁ resilient
⦁ able to maximize results with minimal resources (money, time, people, etc.)

Probably, when your organization began, at the heart of it was someone or a few people sharing entrepreneurial traits. So, what worked to get your company off the ground is the same spirit you should be considering hiring for. Furthermore, as you grow into Middle Market territory and hopefully beyond, you’ll require continued innovation, ambition, vision and resiliency.

Thus, whether you hire someone who was/is an entrepreneur or you hire based on these behaviors, your company benefits.

What Are The Pitfalls

The obvious concern is that an entrepreneurial-minded employee will leave to start their own business. While the concern is valid, it is also somewhat unfounded. Because, if your company can keep these employees challenged and satisfied, they’ll tend to stick around.

Many people with these talents and skillset are perfectly happy working for companies if they are paid well, feel valued, have freedom to use their talents and are stimulated enough to stay engaged. Therefore, if your organization can’t provide that environment, you may find your hiring and retention costs rising.

First of all, if your firm isn’t truly invested in having an entrepreneurial environment, employees who are of this mindset will likely feel frustrated, stifled and eventually will burn out or leave. Next, you may experience greater conflict and lack of progress. Finally, if this type of environment isn’t truly where your Middle Market organization is comfortable or headed, keep that in mind when hiring.

Finding And Keeping Entrepreneurial Minded Employees

Attracting employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset starts with your internal culture. So, it needs to be desirable to them, which may mean changing things up.

Open communication, room to take reasonable chances (and fail), a collaborative air and plenty of room to grow and achieve are key factors to work towards. Static positions, routine functions and undefined ways of advancing will repel. If your current culture doesn’t support entrepreneurial-minded employees, go about changing it up before you start hiring.

To find candidates with the right mindset, look for demonstrated innovation or creativity in their past roles. Seek out candidates who are ambitious – maybe they have a side-business – and motivated to improve and grow. Tailor your selection and hiring process to look for these skills and consider paying for pre-employment testing to identify candidates with these traits. You can use pre-hire projects to see how candidates will perform in the role.

Taking it a step further, you can cultivate relationships with organizations or schools that promote entrepreneurship. Attend networking events and small business association gatherings. Talk with organizations that cater to entrepreneurs and see about developing a mutually beneficial referral program.

By focusing on building a culture that entices and supports entrepreneurial-minded team members and actively seeking to hire for those skills and talents, your Middle Market organization will benefit.

So what’s in the Mighty Middle Market for me? — get it right now at