Be a founder, even if you’re not the one who started the company. Do not be an employee. Why? Being a founder creates a more fulfilled work life for you and turns you into a high performer.
What do I mean by being a founder? It means you take ownership of your role. Do not just do what you’re told, but rather understand why you’re doing your work and why it matters to the organization. How is your impact being measured? Why is that important? What board-level initiative are you advancing? Understand the challenge or opportunity your work is addressing. If you understand this, then you can inform the solution you are delivering.
An employee shows up and does what she’s told. She doesn’t take the time to understand how her work advances the mission. She does her assignment and waits for the next. An employee is a victim of circumstance. An employee owns nothing and optimizes for minimal accountability. “I did what I was told.”
How many times have you witnessed an employee complete a project to the letter requested and completely miss the intent of the mission? A founder would never do this because founders take ownership.
There are two types of people. Those who float at sea and those who swim toward a goal. Obviously, the founder is in the latter group. Swimming toward a goal while always course correcting for the water’s currents.
How to be a founder:
- Choose to be one.
Act like it.
How do you know that you’re acting as a founder?
You know the mission, your “managers intent,” and you’re actively tuning your actions to maximize impact.
You care less about what your work colleagues think about your importance and more about the impact you have on the mission.
You understand how your efforts compliment and fit with others, even those in other departments and teams.
You take risks and fail more than the employees.