Do you want to make the jump from working for an employer to running your own business? Odds are that if you suck as an employee now, then you won’t make it as an entrepreneur. It sounds harsh, but that’s real talk.
As an employee, if you don’t build the skills you need to thrive as an entrepreneur, especially in terms of having a strong work ethic, then it’s incredibly difficult to flip a switch and all of a sudden thrive as an entrepreneur.
Barely a week goes by without another major, global brand being hauled onto the front page of the paper and ripped apart for various misdemeanors. From losing customer data to treating employees terribly, brands suffer huge setbacks; sometimes ones that prove fatal to their success. Luckily for those of you who run start-ups or SMEs, these businesses are making mistakes on a huge scale, and showing you how not to do business. You can use their mistakes to ensure that your company runs like clockwork – and you’ve got extra incentive to do so, and to avoid the awful consequences that come with doing the wrong thing.
This week, we’ll show you how to empower your employees to promote constructive workplace debate, how to organize your team to play to each worker’s strengths, and much more. Let’s get to it!
1. Create safe conversations by showing people that you respect them and their interests.
From Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler: We’ve all seen how an otherwise rational conversation can quickly go off the rails when people feel threatened. So what steps can we take to keep the atmosphere in a conversation safe?
A safe atmosphere hinges on two key conditions: a feeling of mutual respect, and a common purpose.
Research has found that the skills and traits found in people with a successful military employment track record make for particularly good civilian employees. A compilation of studies assembled by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University suggest that veterans generally:
Are entrepreneurial. They have a high need for achievement, are comfortable with autonomy and uncertainty, and make effective decisions in dynamic environments.
Assume high levels of trust. Often a military career gives rise to a strong propensity to trust coworkers as well as a tendency to exhibit confidence in the organizational leadership.
Are adept at transferring their skills across contexts and tasks. Research has attributed this to the fact that military teaching strategies include contingency and scenario-based training.
2. Nobody With A Job Can Help You Become An Entrepreneur
If you spend two seconds thinking about that statement, the truth of it becomes evident. Unfortunately, if you want to become an entrepreneur, the most visible sources of help are the least helpful.
It doesn’t matter how much information you have about how businesses are launched, the missing element is the courage to actually take risks. The entrepreneur, while reducing risk, must embrace it to make their goal a reality. If you need a steady paycheck, you are not an entrepreneur. So why would you get direction from someone who does?
California’s labor commissioner said an Uber Technologies Inc. driver who connects with customers through the company’s app must be considered an employee, a decision that strikes at the heart of its business model.
San Francisco-based Uber, like other “sharing economy” startups, has built a business around a flexible car fleet piloted by people it contends are independent contractors. If Uber’s drivers were treated as employees, the company would be required to guarantee them a minimum wage, compensate them for mileage and pay into social security.
“We see this as a problem that’s growing larger with each year, with employees lacking security and even basic rights when they are treated as independent contractors,” said Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, which has backed tougher regulations on ridesharing companies.
Understanding how to have a productive confrontation begins with a quick self-assessment. Do you:
Shy away from the problem and hope it will solve itself, or, the other extreme,
Take employees to the proverbial “wood shed” and vent your frustration or anger, without thinking it through carefully in advance?
The former requires living in fantasy land and will get you nowhere. The latter will only make matters worse.
Motivating yourself to become skilled at productive confrontation begins by thinking through the nature and impact of the problem(s) you seek to address. Sometimes they run deeper than you might think.
For example, if an employee fails to give you a report you need in time to prepare you for meeting with a big customer or prospect, what is the impact? If it’s that you hold the meeting without the facts and analysis you need to make a successful presentation, and you lose the customer or prospect, that’s a high price. But it’s not all that’s at stake.
The online shoe-seller Zappos has been experimenting with a self-management organizational structure known as Holacracy for nearly two years.
But on April 30 the company plans to be fully manager-free, according to a company-wide memo CEO Tony Hsieh emailed late last month.
“Having one foot in one world while having the other foot in the other world has slowed down our transformation towards self-management and self-organization,” he wrote.
Employees who don’t like the new structure will be offered severance packages if they resign by April 30. To get their severance, however, they must either read the management book “Reinventing Organizations” or just email a statement that they are not reading it.
Do you talk to your employees regularly? Of course you do — you email and instant message them daily, hold meetings and conference calls with them, and if they’re in the office, you stop by their desks to check in. But are you having the types of conversations that really matter?
If you find that you’re only discussing day-to-day projects and job duties with your staff, there’s a good chance they’re not feeling very engaged and connected with their work. Discussions that make employees feel valued, such as their long-term goals and personal strengths, typically happen during formal performance evaluations, but in reality, these issues should be brought up much more frequently than many managers realize.
Dealing a blow to employers, the California Court of Appeal issued a new ruling on August 12, 2014 requiring companies to reimburse employees for work-related uses of personal cell phones. The decision applies to employees cell phone plans with both unlimited minutes and limited minutes, and requires companies to pay a “reasonable percentage” of the employees’ cell phone bills if the phones or mobile devices were required to make work-related calls.
The case in this instance, was brought by a class-action of approximately 1,500 service managers against Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. , a grocery-delivery service. In the case, the California Court of Appeal determined that when an employee makes work-related calls on a personal cell phone, they incur expenses that the California Labor Code requires the employer to reimburse. The court determined that employers may not pass on those expenses to employees, even if the employee uses an unlimited plan, or expensive/high cost plans.
According to earlier Court decisions involving employee reimbursements, Courts have permitted both actual and lump sum reimbursements, as long as the employer provides “some method or formula” to identify what payment is being issued to compensate the employee for the expense reimbursement.
The Court’s new ruling has meaningful ramifications for all kinds of wireless data, text, and other plans that employees use, including wireless services that have data caps or throttled services. The new ruling could potentially eventually spill over into homes wireless services, when work is performed off-site at the direction or convenience of the employer.