can I have my people think outside the box, to experiment, and take the initiative? And how can I have everyone in the company thinking more like entrepreneurs'?

The ten shifts I propose are my answers to these questions. I am not an innovation expert, with an elaborate system to expound, so there is no complicated methodology to learn. The solutions I have picked up on my journey are, in fact, strikingly common- sense. They are simple shifts in how to approach everyday work with an entrepreneurial mind-set together with day-to-day actions anyone can take to put this more entrepreneurial mind- set to work.

Cultures aren’t created by executive mandate, they accrete as the behaviours of individual employees, from assistants to executives, build up and calcify. Change your individual behaviour and you start to change the culture of your team and organisation

Despite being so simple, these behaviours are often blocked in BBs. Ingrained behaviours, that go back decades, become automatic and push employees to keep mindlessly repeating habits from the past. Companies need to introduce new habits to override these old, out-dated ones, to unblock people, BBs and free them to do things that come quite naturally to human beings when there are no institutional hurdles. These new habits are for everyone - no

matter your role, job title or personal character. Entrepreneurs aren’t a different breed from employees - they are pushed to behave like entrepreneurs by the demands of starting a business. Old ideas of operating in big businesses have pushed employees to behave in other, less dynamic ways. So by changing mindsets and, through that, behaviours, you can push back. Cultures aren’t created by executive mandate, they accrete as the behaviours of individual employees, from assistants on up to executives, build up and calcify. Change your individual behaviour and you start to change the culture of your team and organisation. You also change your experience of going to work every day. Behaving like an entrepreneur is simply more fun and rewarding than being a cog in a corporate machine. These shifts build more innovative and successful businesses, but they also create happier, more engaged employees.

My ten easy to apply commonsense but powerful shifts are: 1. Don’t put customers on a pedestal - Do become them instead

2. Don’t sit at your desk - Do get out 3. Don’t be ‘too busy’ - Do attack bureaucracy

4. Don’t let your knowledge and expertise blind you - Do let go of what you know

5. Don’t suffocate curiosity - Do be a big kid

6. Don’t buy into the fairy tale romance of the ‘big idea’ - Do act on the small every day ideas

7. Don’t let perfectionism slow you down - Do force the discipline of bootstrapping

8. Don’t be scared of failure - Do encourage it

9. Don’t think of a ‘no’ as a stop sign - Do think of it as a badge of honour

10. Don’t put a work face on - Do be 100 percent yourself

In the words of Henry Ford: “A man who does not get a certain satisfaction out of his day’s work is losing the best part of his pay.” Life is far too short not to be true to ourselves in what we do most of our waking hours for the best years of our lives. All the shifts I outline above, from leaning into empathy to

encouraging experimentation and curiosity are all, at base, about embracing Ford’s essential wisdom. Business success and happiness at work are not at cross- purposes to each other. Employees do their best work when they feel trusted and empowered to use their full selves to make a real difference. Human-friendly workplaces make people happy, but they also make businesses successful. That’s why I truly believe that hidden in the massive challenges facing organisations lies a golden opportunity. You could think of the sunset of old ways of doing business as a scary and uncomfortable disruption, or you can see this change as an opportunity to transform work into a place employees actually want to come to every day, a place that brings out their best and uses their talents to the maximum. You could use this moment to make your organisation not just far more successful, but far more human. Talk about a silver lining.

Sahar Hashemi, OBE, is the author of Start Up Forever: How to Build a Start Up Culture in a Big Company. Published by Matador.


14 | thehrdirector | MAY 2019


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