Look around your workplace. Chances are, more than half of the employees are putting in time, either with a “meh” feeling about work or they’re actively disengaged. This can have an immense impact on an organization, particularly one that is trying to launch an innovation project or build an entrepreneurial culture. It’s important to select entrepreneurial mindsets for an innovation team.
Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace report reveals that of the 100 million full-time employees in the United States, only a third are what Gallup calls engaged at work. At the other end of the spectrum, 16% are actively disengaged. The 51% in between are at work but likely not fully present.
Do they own, rent, or destroy?
I think of these three groups as homeowners, tenants, and arsonists. Fully engaged employees are homeowners. They take initiative, feel a pride of ownership, and if something is amiss they will address the issue immediately. They have mentally bought into your efforts and will actively support your entrepreneurial goals. Their proactive, positive outlook can help you build momentum across your innovation team and your organization.
In contrast, the vast middle are tenants. They adopt a transitional attitude. If that pipe leaks or the microwave breaks, it serves their self-interest to address it. Similarly, if your innovation project can positively affect them, they’re on board. But don’t count on them being strong advocates if it doesn’t serve their own purposes.
Scariest of all are the arsonists. They are intentional, deliberate, and malicious. They will burn your house down or sabotage your project. New research shows one employee can negatively impact an entire team. This contagion can offset all the planning, focus, and resources you’ve allocated to making your efforts succeed.
Innovation team impact
As a consultant and strategic advisor, I’ve witnessed all three of these mindsets in action, in organizations large and small. Some projects soar while others stumble, due in large part to the level and quality of workplace attitudes and entrepreneurial mindsets.
In the weeks ahead I’ll be sharing more insights about building an entrepreneurial team and establishing momentum for your innovation initiative. If your project is languishing, you may need more individuals with a homeowner mindset to support you.
Your challenge this week: Review your current organizational landscape and make a list of the 6-8 individuals who are most important to your innovation initiative. Determine who is a homeowner, tenant, or arsonist, and how individually and collectively they contribute. Armed with this knowledge, make changes to increase your chances of positive results.
Make something happen,
P.S. I was pleased to be Sean Ammirati’s guest on Episode 3 of his Agile Giants podcast recently. We discussed best practices and biggest fails of Innovation Labs, my innovation advising for companies like Bosch and Oracle, who should be on an innovation team, the role of Business History, and more. Know someone who might enjoy listening? Encourage them to sign up for my newsletter.