Business Doctor

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Gaining a better understanding of your employees can help you achieve business success.

Think back to the day you decided to run your own business, be your own boss, control your own destiny. Recall the emotions that filled your body, your heart, your soul.

There are countless reasons why people become business owners rather than working for someone else. Some inherit a business from a parent. Some build a company around their passion. Others may be motivated by the desire to work fewer hours with greater returns on their investments. Whatever the reason, business owners have a unique behavioral makeup, resulting from a combination of their innate qualities, intrinsic values and life experiences.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, business owners comprise only two percent of the U.S. population. Thus, only the top two percent of the U.S. population has this entrepreneurial profile. As a result, business owners tend to experience and interact with the world differently from employees and managers. These differences in behavior severely impact businesses and the interactions of those working within these businesses. For example, a business owner may look at a challenge and see a clear solution. Like a man driving down an empty road in the middle of the day, a business owner can often see the potholes in time to easily avoid them. However, his manager could look at the same situation and see very little, like driving at night. An employee may see even less, like driving at night in the middle of a torrential downpour.

The results of these differences in perception are often miscommunication, animosity and frustration for all parties involved. Think of a time when you gave one of the managers who reports to you an assignment, being careful to thoroughly explain it, and you were surprised when the end result was something completely different than what you wanted. These all too- frequent breakdowns in communication typically stem from deeper behavioral issues —patterns of behavior that limit productivity and quality of life. Unfortunately, most business owners do not realize or consider the possibility of changing their behavior, so they continue in developed patterns that hinder their business growth and personal well-being.

Business owners tend to supervise and participate in a wide variety of operations and projects within their companies. They may have the necessary skills needed to successfully tackle those operations and projects, so they spend the majority of their time utilizing such skills. However, there are inevitably a few aspects of the company in which the owner’s skill is off the charts. These aspects would benefit most from the owner’s involvement; however, excessive focus on short-term challenges prevents the owner from changing focus. As a result, the owner becomes frustrated and does not feel a strong sense of self-fulfillment from the results of his or her work.

With so many problems rooted in a business owner’s behavioral pattern, the big questions you should ask yourself are: “What needs to change?” and “How can I change it?” The answer may not be simple or easy, but asking the question is the first step. Keep in mind that you have the power to instill change, but you must also understand yourself, your managers and your employees. Recognizing your subordinates’ weaknesses enables you to better use their strengths, and realizing this behavioral disconnect will also help you enhance their productivity and quality of life.

A successful company does not necessarily mean it contains a successful owner. Oftentimes, owners get so bogged down in unproductive, useless or unnecessary patterns of behavior that they lose sight of their core motivations and quality business sense. Inherent in the two percent of the population that maintains an entrepreneurial behavior type is a desire to make decisions quickly and act on those decisions. This is a vital quality of many business owners; however, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a moment to question your own perspective.

About Peter Sanok 1 Article
Peter Sanok is a senior executive and behavior specialist with Entrenomics. With his background and education in psychology and management, he uses behavioral psychology concepts to increase business owners’ success and quality of life.

1 Comment

  1. The characteristics of an entrepreneurial orientation relate more to a strategic mindset than an operational one. An owner’s involvement in short-term operating activities is partly responsible for losing strategic focus and control. A business owner is better off “working on his business rather than in it”. No matter how great his own knowledge of the product, process or service, he/she should hire people smarter than themselves or cede control of strategic initiatives to competent strategic management.

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