Norton: Successful employers employ successful entrepreneurs |

Norton: Successful employers employ successful entrepreneurs

An employed entrepreneur? How can that be? I mean, we are either employed or we are an entrepreneur, right? The answer is yes. This is because most successful entrepreneurs will share that even though they are self-employed, they are still employed. They work hard at success and enjoy the spirit, flexibility, and even pressure to perform that comes with owning their own business.

But what about the other successfully employed entrepreneurs, the people who hold a full-time position within a company where they are not the owner, and yet they have also become wildly successful? These are the people who see themselves as more than just an employee — they are the folks who take ownership of their position and who take pride in their work.

Although I have written about this topic before, I have always covered it from the perspective of how we can achieve success by holding ourselves accountable to delivering at a higher standard when it comes to our own personal performance. Many of you have sent in your thoughts, shared your success stories, and have also challenged me a little bit in my thinking. Some of you have pointed out that regardless of how inspired some of the workforce might be and want to operate with a sense of ownership, if the company that they work for doesn’t have an entrepreneurial spirit, or the company doesn’t foster an environment that rewards people who exceed expectations, some of that poor performance is on the company, not only on the individual.

That is an excellent and valid point. However, it is never an excuse to perform at a level that is below our very best.

When looking at the history around individual performance, what I have seen is that when some companies are doing well, leadership and top executives tend to claim the credit. However, when results are down and the company finds itself lagging or missing expectations, they will try and shift the blame for poor performance to middle management and eventually down to the frontlines. This blame-game approach leads to low morale, turnover, and the continued erosion of performance.

Companies that continue to excel and consistently push beyond the boundaries of success are those companies that embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. For these companies, it’s not about pointing fingers when things go wrong, it’s about giving people on the team the opportunity to own the mistake, determine what happened, and make the changes necessary to change failures into wins. And companies who operate with an entrepreneurial spirit understand that this is true for every level of the organization, top to bottom, with no excuses.

One of the big mistakes that business owners, leaders, and managers make is thinking and truly believing that they are the only ones who can do the job. They make it worse when they go ahead and say what they are thinking to the people on the team. You know how that sounds right, “Am I the only one around here who gets it?” or “Am I the only one who knows how to do this?” And unless we take the time to develop the winners on our team, sadly, the answer is always going to be “yes.”

Whether we are a small or medium-sized business or a large corporation, when we get our people involved in the game of work at work, and we give them a chance to play and win in the game, we will begin to realize more success, witness greater achievement, benefit from increased production, and enjoy a winning atmosphere based on personal accountability and top performance.

How about you? Are you giving the people on your team the opportunity to elevate their game at work? Or could you use a little help, and maybe some game-changing ideas? If you would appreciate some entrepreneurial insights, send me an email at And when we can help create more winning opportunities for everyone, it really will be a better than good week.  

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