What It Takes
“It’s all about building a team of people who aren’t afraid to be in the driver’s seat and are equally happy to ride in the passenger’s seat when others take the lead. It is truly built around collaboration; the concept that no idea is a bad idea (yes, cliché). Why be afraid to foster that culture within any company, big or small?”
-Marc de Grandpre, Senior Vice President of Marketing, KIND Healthy Snacks
The entrepreneurial spirit can be difficult to define and, without clear context, it can remain ambiguous. Some describe it as an innate trait, while others would argue it’s a learned skill. I tend to believe that it is a combination of an innate trait and a skill that is crafted and sharpened through experience over time. I also believe that, as humans, we have a deep desire to create- either through vision casting or refining the vision by strategically working through the details.
For a perfectionist like me, it seems an impossible task to conceptualize while also clearly articulating my personal perspective on entrepreneurship. However, during my time as a team member at Roam, these are the things I’ve noticed about the entrepreneurial spirit here:
It Takes a Team.
We’ve all seen it. The employee who wants to “muscle up” and make everything happen on his or her own strength. It’s the Superman complex, the desire to be the hero, a race to be first. But the reality is that superheroes only exist in movies, and entrepreneurship is more exemplary of a long-distance relay than a one-man sprint.
Over the past year, I have tried to be that hero for Roam, particularly in Alpharetta. But, I quickly realized that I personally don’t determine the success or outcome of our workplace and I don’t carry the weight alone. I have also learned that failure doesn’t solely reflect my work, but if we fail, we do so as a team and thus grow as a team.
As the oldest Roam location, Alpharetta has one of the smallest spaces and has the least updated technology and furniture in comparison to the other Roam workplaces. But no one on our team views this as a disadvantage. We see it as opportunity, we recognize the potential, and we steward our space and resources to the best of our ability. This outlook isn’t specific to Roam Alpharetta, but it’s a perspective adopted and embraced by each location because it has been instilled in our culture by our leadership team.
One person’s perspective is naturally limited by his or her wiring, strengths, weaknesses and capacity. No one person can do all things, at all times, for everyone, but a team with great dynamics, that is strong when confronted with weakness, can cover much more ground. It takes a team and Roam has developed some of the best.
It Takes Hard Work…
Typically speaking, an entrepreneur isn’t under the assumption that his or her work will be easy, especially in the beginning. Entrepreneurs are ready to get their hands dirty, believing that no vision or idea is too big and no task or detail is too small. They are willing to jump in with their team and work alongside of them. It’s not for the faint of heart and the entrepreneurial spirit requires significant risk, time and energy, but it usually yields some of the sweetest rewards. An entrepreneurial spirit is intrinsically wired for high execution and initiative. It does not sit idly by, but seeks out opportunity.
Vision casting, brain storming and piloting a new venture can be invigorating and exciting. However, routine work has the potential to become mundane once the reality of the vision sets in. With all the detail and tasks, it’s easy to become complacent and even abandon the plan. We live in a culture that demands instant results and progress. That topic is often over communicated, yet we remain dissatisfied when we don’t see business growth, thus the problem remains. Dissatisfaction can often lead to discouragement, causing lower performance results, which in turn affects the success of a business. When this occurs, perseverance must kick in. It’s the spirit of not being overcome by opposition or challenges, but being able to adapt to the changing seasons of life and enduring the ever-evolving business climate.
In order to counteract dissatisfaction and discouragement in the midst of persevering, an entrepreneurial spirit drives a team member (or an entire team) to innovate and learn. When facing a new problem, or revisiting an old one, embracing a “can do” attitude creates room for innovation. When the “can do” attitude shifts to “don’t know how to,” the entrepreneurial spirit stirs up a passion to figure out the “how.” Whether the solution is simple, or requires extensive research, an entrepreneur dedicates himself or herself to finding a proven, successful method, or a new, creative tactic. It takes hard work, perseverance, and innovation and Roam cultivates and develops all three.
It Takes Humility.
I believe this is the most overlooked aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit. Humility, in and of itself, sets aside glory. The greatest enemy of the entrepreneurial spirit is pride. When an entrepreneur begins to believe he or she is too great to listen to a team, too important for a task, too impatient to wait out the storms of life and business or too confident in his or her own way to try something different (that may work better), they forsake the spirit that initiated the journey in the first place. Humility, however, reminds the entrepreneur that additional perspectives are healthy, willingness to engage in seemingly menial tasks are encouraging and motivating to team members, patience is necessary (the storm will pass), and deaf ears may drown out the answer needed to turn things around when business gets tough. The essence of an entrepreneurial spirit is humility.
Roam is not only a business for entrepreneurs, it’s a business of entrepreneurs. What I have seen through the culture and atmosphere of Roam is when you hire individuals with entrepreneurial spirits, the result is infectious. Entrepreneurial spirits thrive around one another. They are motivated by each other. And Roam has created a space just for that.