Gallup reports that 87% of employees around the world are not engaged in their work, a colossal waste of human capital. Nearly one in four employees are actively disengaged, working against the mission of the organization. Yet, nearly all humans want to be engaged in work that matters. The difference between those who will flourish and those who languish in the workplace is mindset.
So, what is your workplace mindset?
We all have a mindset, yet often we are not consciously aware of it or the profound effect it has on our lives. Our mindset is the underlying mechanism that can expose opportunities and ignite our ambition, engaging our faculties in ways that enable us to flourish and thrive. Yet, our mindset can also blind us to opportunities and hinder our ability to learn and grow, keeping us tethered to familiar, yet unproductive patterns of thought and action.
A mindset can push us towards complacency and apathy, a more comfortable, yet often disengaged, place; or it can push us towards a place of growth and creative tension, a constant balance of challenge meeting the stretching of our skill set. The latter tends to be home to the more engaged and entrepreneurial person.
In the workplace, mindset can manifest in the form of an employee mindset or an entrepreneurial mindset. When we distinguish between the two mindsets, we can identify and encourage entrepreneurial behavior in the workplace in order to empower and engage more employees.
An Employee Mindset
Some employees feel as though they are just cogs in the wheel, unable to succeed in bureaucratic systems. This sense of powerlessness can lead to complaining, making excuses, or blaming others. Often, work is seen merely as a job description, and the preference is to work within the comfort zone of a well-defined job. Initiative to explore and implement new ideas is lacking; often because of a lack of belief in the ability to impact change or that change can really occur. Daily tasks begin to feel mundane, and the job feels like punching a clock, checking in and checking out. There is little meaning in the work they do, and the main goal is to collect a paycheck, retirement, and benefits.
An Entrepreneurial Mindset
Employees with an entrepreneurial mindset are driven by compelling goals and find purpose in their work. Being future-focused, they see daily tasks as the means to achieving a bigger vision. An entrepreneurial employee has a growth mindset and is quick to acquire additional knowledge or master new skills required to achieve goals. Self-directed and solution-oriented, an entrepreneurial employee finds ways to create value by solving problems for others. As such, they tend to work collaboratively and share in the success of the work achieved.
An entrepreneurial employee rarely feels confined by a job description and is quick to move new ideas forward. Even when challenges arise, they tend to have an optimistic interpretation, seeing problems as temporary and fixable as well as potential opportunities to create value and enhance their skill set.
Entrepreneurial employees take ownership of their work and feel empowered to make change. Highly engaged, they often work in flow losing all sense of time. Work is play, and play is work.
An Entrepreneurial Mindset isn’t just for Entrepreneurs
By most studies, entrepreneurs are the happiest, most engaged people in the world, finding purpose in their work, compelled by problems that they are driven to solve. But, an entrepreneurial mindset isn’t just for entrepreneurs. An entrepreneurial mindset can be developed and enhanced through entrepreneurial learning experiences within organizations. By cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, we can empower and engage more employees, chipping away at the Gallup statistics by unleashing human potential.