Why Entrepreneurship Is Critical to Success

Creation Entrepreneurship
Since our founding in 1991, Creation people have had Entrepreneurship in our hearts

What do you think of when you hear the word “entrepreneur”?
A genius?
A millionaire?
An inventor?

Who comes to mind when you think of entrepreneurs?
Steve Jobs?
Bill Gates?
Debbie Fields? (Founder of Mrs. Fields cookies, one of my personal favorites. Yum!)

Hearing the word, ‘entrepreneurs’, I think that most of us conjure up images of famous business founders or owners. Or perhaps the images are of our family members or friends who have gone into business for themselves.

I would be willing to bet that, for most of us, the first image that comes to mind is not of ourselves.

Am I right?

 

Yet, at Creation, entrepreneurs are exactly what we’re encouraged be…to think like entrepreneurs, and act like entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is one of Creation’s six Core Values, and for good reason.

In the dictionary, an Entrepreneur is defined as:

“a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”. Entrepreneurship is defined as demonstrating a spirit of “initiative and risk-taking in the way we perform our day-to-day roles and responsibilities“.

So how can we become more entrepreneurial? And why would we want to?

I believe it boils down to three factors:

  • Sense of Ownership
  • Perseverance
  • Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo

 

3 Characteristics of Entrepreneurs

#1 Sense of Ownership

At Creation, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase shares in our own company and literally become owners. You don’t need the shares or stocks, though, if you work for an organization where you don’t have this opportunity or if you aren’t in a position to invest.

Shares or not, we can all act like we’re owners of our company.

Owners take responsibility for results, look for positive ways to solve problems and remove obstacles, and do what needs to be done without being asked or told. Sounds good to me.

#2 Perseverance

One of my favorite definitions of Perseverance is, “picking ourselves up one more time than we fall, or are knocked, down.”

I always think of Rocky Balboa in pretty much every one of the Rocky movies. No matter how much of a beating he took, he always found the strength and courage to get up off the canvas and ultimately prevail over the ‘villain’.

In the workplace, this strength and courage translates into pursuing improvements even in the face of failure, criticism and fear.

The most successful entrepreneurs I know never give up.

#3 Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo

The minute we let satisfaction settle in to our daily outlook, we invite disaster. Try driving down a winding mountain road using only your rearview mirror!

That’s the best metaphor I can think of to describe an individual, team or organization that gets overly caught up in yesterday’s successes.

We all need a healthy dose of dissatisfaction with the way things are, even if we just made significant changes yesterday. Continuous Improvement is rooted in this mindset.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate achievements. We should.

We just need to remind ourselves that successfully navigating the hairpin turns behind us was exciting. And that there’s an endless road full of challenges ahead.

So let’s look through the windshield and identify our next opportunity.

Entrepreneurship in Action: Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain on one of our Customer-Focused Teams in our Milwaukee Business Unit spent a few hours a day for several weeks lending their skills in Manufacturing so that one of our customers could meet an unexpected
Entrepreneurship in Action: Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain on one of our Customer-Focused Teams in our Milwaukee Business Unit spent a few hours a day for several weeks lending their skills in Manufacturing so that one of our customers could meet an unexpected commitment

So what does Entrepreneurship look like at Creation Technologies?

I can think of so many real-life examples, like…

…The person who drove 5 hours to hand-deliver a shipment to a customer because it was produced after the last overnight truck had departed.

…The business unit leadership team that spent the last day of the month working in Manufacturing to ensure our shipping commitments were met.

…The countless regular and daily kaizens that use the best ideas of our people, customers and suppliers to drive improvements in quality, safety, materials, cost and throughput.

…The members of our production teams who proudly lead our customers and prospective customers on tours through their work areas.

There are endless other examples where individuals and teams show this entrepreneurial spirit of initiative and risk-taking. At Creation, Entrepreneurship is about going “the extra mile” for a teammate, customer or supplier.

And it’s always worth it.

How about you? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you see yourself as an owner? Do you have the spirit of “Rocky”? Are you using the windshield or the rear-view mirror?

What are the examples of Entrepreneurship you can share?

Company Core Values: What Makes a Value “Core”?

Fruits of the seeds planted across Creation
Our Core Values: Fruit of the seeds planted across Creation

Familiarity breeds contempt. In the case of vocabulary, this means we might use words freely and regularly without respecting them, or examining or revisiting their underlying meaning.

(Of course, if you looked up the definition of every word you use on a regular basis, you wouldn’t have much time to write or talk).

I find it useful, especially when I’m writing or speaking about a topic, to try and take a “fresh look” at a word to see if there are any insights to be gained.

As I prepared to blog about Creation’s Core Values, the word “core” jumped out at me. Why do we call them “Core” Values?

So I went to first place most of us go when we want to find an answer…Google, of course! (Quick trivia quiz – how many of you remember “Ready Reference”?)

Here’s the first definition that met my eye:

Core: (noun) The tough central part of various fruits, containing the seeds.

Obvious, yet so illuminating.

An apple probably came to mind for many of us when we thought of this definition of “core”. I don’t know about you but I’ve eaten my share of apples and thrown away the cores when finished.

Wait a minute! That can’t be it. “Core” Values aren’t meant to be thrown away.

Are they??

Who wants to be Johnny Appleseed?

I’m quite sure many of us were read or told the story of Johnny when we were still too young to peel our own apples.

Though the real Johnny (Appleseed) Chapman was actually a pioneering nurseryman, the story most of us know is of Mr. Appleseed traveling the world eating apples and planting the cores.

As the cores naturally degraded, the seeds inside were released from “captivity” and took root in the soil. Over the years, nature took its course and we ended up with apple orchards scattered throughout Creation (pun intended!).

Is there a moral to this story (or at least an end)?

Glad you asked.

Consider this… What would have happened to the apple seeds if there had been no core?

That’s right! Johnny would have swallowed them.

And then what?

Well if Johnny had lived in the age of indoor plumbing, the seeds would have ended up at the sewage treatment facility. What a tragic ending for the apple trees and orchards! Talk about things going down the toilet! 

I digress.

All this talk about apples is making me hungry…

Core Values: A Foundation for Growth

I think we’re all hungry – for attention, recognition, guidance, partnership, learning, growth, making a difference, and winning, to name a few examples.

The founders of Creation Technologies, Geoff “Applereed”, Dave “Pettiseed”, Paul “Appleclark” and Barry “Henderseed” understood this hunger.

Like many strong business leaders, they knew that in order for a company to satisfy these needs for its people, it would have to grow into a tree, and then eventually an orchard.

So they drafted a list of values that they thought would preserve and guide Creation through good and bad times.

Then they debated, re-drafted, consulted and debated some more.

And then . . . Creation’s Core Values were born!

Boldness, Entrepreneurship, Integrity, Openness, Preparedness, and Respect have been at the “core” of Creation’s success ever since. Every time we honor and live these values we plant seeds for the next trees.

Think of that the next time you eat an apple!

“Of cores” I’d like to hear from you!

Do you have personal Core Values? Family Core Values? What are they? How do you “connect to them” and live them? When is the last time you reflected on them? Is your “orchard” bearing fruit? What kind?

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