Home » The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People

The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People


By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey

38b-0815As the market continues to improve, your organization might (finally!) be plugging some holes in the workforce and even creating new positions. But as you shuffle through résumés, don’t get too hung up on finding the perfect mixture of background and technical skills. According to Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, the most important qualification a job seeker can possess isn’t always evident on paper.

“Be sure your new hires have entrepreneurial DNA,” says Houlihan, coauthor along with Harvey of The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People (Footnotes Press, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-990-79370-0, $9.95, www.TheBarefootSpirit.com) and the New York Times bestseller The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand (Evolve Publishing, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-988-22454-4, $15.95). “Identifying and hiring entrepreneurial candidates is one of the best things you can do for your bottom line, because these individuals will be self-reliant, engaged, empowered, and innovative problem solvers.”

“In today’s ever-changing business world, adaptable and entrepreneurial employees are your most valuable competitive advantage,” Harvey adds. “Remember that you can teach plenty of new skills to a self-starter, but it’s not so easy to teach clock punchers to think like owners.”

Houlihan and Harvey spotlight seven ways to tell if job candidates have the entrepreneurial DNA you want:

Ask them if they’re willing to bet on themselves.

Pay attention to body language.

Talk about their mistakes.

Look for evidence of resourcefulness.

Gauge their preparedness.

Figure out how they work on a team.

Test their attentiveness and organization, and see how they perform under pressure.

“There are other key ‘tells’ that can help you spot entrepreneurial DNA, such as assertiveness, dependability, sociability, humility, practicality, tenacity, empathy, and humor,” notes Houlihan. “If a candidate possesses them, many of these attributes will be evident in their responses to the questions shared above.”

“Finally, remember, it’s not enough to say you are looking for entrepreneurial DNA in your candidates,” concludes Harvey. “You and your company have to walk the talk. You must build a culture of permission, enthusiasm, inclusiveness, recognition, and acknowledgment, and have a performance-based compensation plan. If you want your employees to be more entrepreneurial, create the fertile ground in which they will bloom!” For more information, visit www.TheBarefootSpirit.com and www.TheBrandAuthority.net or email Info@TheBarefootSpirit.com. HBM

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