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Establishing a Bootstrap Mentality

Establishing a Bootstrap Mentality

Can an employee buy into the same bootstrap mentality that the business owner has? And how does a business owner tap into that and bring that out of an employee? 

My name is Isaac. I've been around Paddle North for a little over five years and have been responsible for much of the growth we have seen in Michigan. I can tell you first hand that it is possible for an employee to adopt the same bootstrap mindset that is required of a business owner. It is incredibly rare, but my aim is to dissect how I've done it and how that may be recreated, from the perspective of a current employee. 

What do I mean when I say, adopt the same bootstrap mentality as the owner? 

I mean that employee views this business as their baby in a similar fashion as the business owner does. I mean putting the customer first as the most important thing ~ always. I mean taking ownership over every aspect of their responsibilities without being told. This means constantly seeking out more responsibilities in order to help the business grow. This means making sacrifices with their time and energy when no one is watching because that's what needs to be done. This means operating with integrity and doing the right thing. It means continuing to develop themselves, honing their skills, continuing to get better themselves because ultimately that's better for the business. 

Does that last paragraph sound like an employee you'd like to hire? 

If so, I can tell you what that employee is looking for from you - the business owner.

Is it the benefits? Is it the work / life balance? Is it the money? I believe those are the biggest requirements for a perfectly average employee. But you are looking for an employee that has the potential to treat your business as their own, right?

Here is what they are really looking for in my personal experience.  

  • First and foremost that employee wants to be consistently challenged and constantly growing. A high achiever will crave the challenge and the growth dopamine. Once the work becomes no longer challenging there is no longer a reward to continue to push. 
  • A rockstar employee wants to constantly be learning new things. Chances are if they are the employee and you are the business owner then there is plenty to learn. Whether that be about business, life, podcasts, books, be generous in sharing information and resources.
  • An A-1 employee does not want to be micro managed. They want to be given an end goal and the challenge for them is to figure out the best way to achieve that goal. As a business owner, once you know you have a high achiever of an employee, do not step in to tell them how to achieve that goal. That is for the employee to solve and gain confidence in getting to those solutions and achieving those results. 
  • An exceptional employee wants to be paid in accordance with the value that they provide. They are aware of that value and expect to be compensated for it. 
  • An extraordinary employee wants complete transparency. That employee wants to be a part of the solution in pushing the business forward and providing valuable insights. Be free to share the problems and issues, the wins, the goals, and the expectations.  
  • An excellent employee wants to work with and be surrounded by other excellent workers. People will either rise or fall to the individuals they are surrounded with. Creating a culture of excellent people creates an excellent organization. 

This list is not exhaustive but a good starting point in creating a culture of self starters. 


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