Keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive

You’ve probably drafted the typical mission, vision and values statements for your company. If not, there are a billion blogs, books, and consultants that can help you do it. What is often overlooked is tying your company’s vision to YOUR personal vision, and those of your employees. When this link is established, you will tap into your entrepreneurial spirit and your employees will be much more engaged.

The essential question is “What will my role be in helping to achieve the company’s vision?” As an entrepreneur, you probably started out as IT support, janitor, accountant, CEO, founder, and everything else. Maybe you enjoy wearing a lot of hats, but I can guarantee there are some tasks that light you on fire, that pull you entirely into the “doing” of them. And there are others that you detest. Write down your most favorite 5 tasks.

Delegation is often a very tough subject for entrepreneurs. How will you know when it’s time to hire a CEO? And how will you feel about handing the reins over to someone else? A good CEO will have a very frank discussion with you about autonomy and decision-making power. If you’d like to read more, check out The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman.

Maybe you want to stay in the hot seat yourself. That’s fine as long as you’re brutally honest with yourself and willing to rechannel some of that entrepreneurial spirit. You’re probably going to need to build up some skills. Write down what role you see yourself playing over the next 5 years, and what skills you’ll need to develop to be successful.

Look at the other areas of your life, and how they will fit into your business plan over the next 5 years. How much do you want to work? What hours? How much time off? What’s your plan for staying healthy, both emotionally and physically? What’s your family situation going to look like over the next 5 years? House and car? Write down the answers to these questions.

By now you should have the framework for a personal vision statement. Schedule some time to yourself and really get into visualizing what your life will be like in 5 years. Paint as detailed a picture as you can. Then, tie all of that into how you can best help the company achieve its vision. Be as specific as you can about your skills and desires. The idea is to connect your personal vision so closely to the company’s vision that one cannot be achieved without the other.

If you really want to get creative, you can create a vision board. This could be a montage of pictures from magazines that you glue onto a large piece of cardboard or a digital compilation of images that you use as a desktop background. Display it where you will see it every day.

Going forward, use your personal vision daily to remind yourself of where you want to go, and of your part to play in getting there collectively. Once you’ve done this for yourself, repeat this exercise with your employees.

This is an incredibly powerful way to increase employee engagement, professional development, and focus. You’ll also be building a strong team that understands each other a lot better.