Employees Who Think Like CEOs

“I wish employees would take more initiative and think about the long-term goals and vision of our organization.” If you find yourself making statements like this this one, it could be that your association doesn’t always provide the kind of environment in which employees feel they comfortable making decisions and taking actions that benefit the organization as a whole.

Of course in most organizations, the CEO or executive director is the ultimate decision maker, and for the sake of consistency, there can only be one of those. By the same token, David Royce, founder and CEO of Alterra, makes some valid points in favor of training all employees to “think and act like CEOs.”

“Training employees to think and act like entrepreneurs is unique; it’s something that will set your [organization] apart from the rest,” he writes on Entrepreneur.com. Royce offers four tips for encouraging employees to think and act like CEOs. I’ve summarized them briefly here:

  1. Develop a shared vision. Aside from detailing the specific day-to-day tasks of each employee’s role on the first day, make a point to discuss how an even entry-level jobs directly affect the organization's annual goals.
  2. Design a system for tracking employee progress, and then use that system to reward employees. There are plenty of ways to do this: Set organizational goals or individual department goals, or implement specific monthly incentive programs.
  3. Use your resources. Every employee has an opinion on how a company should run, so instead of ignoring the water cooler gossip, put it to paper and turn the gossip into feedback.
  4. Realize that company culture isn’t just this month’s entrepreneurial buzzword. Every organization should consciously find ways to rally employees. Host monthly breakfasts or offsite events. Promote weekly competitions with prizes to inspire teamwork and fun.

I agree with Royce’s assertion about the positive, productive work environment that implementation of these strategies has the potential to create: “If you make these initiatives a priority, you will start to see mini-CEOs wandering the halls -- encouraging one another, planning group activities and proactively suggesting new ideas that promote [organizational] values.”