Entrepreneurs have a lot of power in the modern economy. They can use their work to drive change in the world, provided they approach entrepreneurship with the right attitude and motivation.
Great entrepreneurs model the change they wish to see in the world and inspire their employees to follow that example. In this way, entrepreneurship can push for a better future and create new generations of socially engaged entrepreneurs. All of this starts with leaders’ actions and approaches exemplifying the change they want to see.
Exemplifying the Change You Wish to Create
Mahatma Gandhi challenged us to be the change we want to see in the world, and entrepreneurs should take this challenge to heart. Entrepreneurs can easily inspire their employees when they lead by example. As they say, actions speak louder than words.
Employees model their work ethic on what they see the managers and executives doing. Employers have a responsibility to push employees to reach peak performance, and they can do this by modeling the way they want workers to perform.
Ultimately, entrepreneurs need to understand that they are always being watched, so they must conduct themselves accordingly. Sometimes, this means something as simple as stopping office gossip before it becomes a distraction for workers and harms the corporate culture. Other times, it means donating time on weekends to organizations whose missions align with those of the company. Entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to teach accountability and model ways of making real change in local communities.
Aligning Work with the Mission of the Company
Productivity depends on the harmony of thoughts, actions, and words. This harmony starts at the company’s top, through the example set by executives. If the actions of executives do not seem to align with company goals, this dissonance will detract from employee performance, and leaders can eventually lose their ability to influence and encourage the workforce.
A company’s goals should align with the work that it does for money, as well as its connections to the larger community. When these aspects are in alignment, employees get a better sense of what the company is all about while being inspired to align their own goals with those of the company. In the end, this can lead to new suggestions about how the company can get involved with the community to further its mission.
Involving Employees in the Company’s Mission Directly
In general, leaders share a willingness to help others in need—and this quality is especially important for entrepreneurs. After all, a desire to help others is typically what inspires entrepreneurs to launch their companies. While making money is frequently a goal, so is addressing a serious need within the community, especially with the advent of social entrepreneurship. More than ever before, entrepreneurs are viewing their work as a way of effecting lasting change within the world. To accomplish this, many startups engage in philanthropy related to the company mission.
Getting employees involved is a great way to inspire them to give back to the community. However, companies should not thrust philanthropy onto their employees but instead engage them in the process of choosing organizations and creating initiatives. Engaged employees feel a greater responsibility to the cause because they helped identify and shape it. Furthermore, this drive to give back becomes infectious and is something that employees may carry into their personal lives or to other office settings. Philanthropic engagement is a great way for entrepreneurs to model change and push for a different tomorrow, one where corporate philanthropy and community engagement are expected.
Creating an Environment That Recognizes Achievement
When it comes to creating change in the entrepreneurial world, there are two paths that entrepreneurs can take. One path is based on love and engagement, and the other on fear and punishment. The path we have been discussing so far is the one based on engagement. Entrepreneurs need to recognize that their interactions with employees set the tone for corporate culture. When entrepreneurs are engaging and supportive, they inspire a conversation that can lead to lasting change. On the other hand, when employees act out of fear of retribution, productivity dwindles, and any good the entrepreneur may be doing within the community gets colored by this type of interaction.
Happy and loyal employees are those who feel appreciated and valued. Entrepreneurs need to recognize employees for their wins and celebrate milestones. This applies not just to work-related achievements, but also to people who go out of their way to engage the community or further the company’s mission. An environment that rewards this sort of behavior achieves lasting change, as the motivation to do good lives on in the employees.