It’s all too easy for an enterprise that started out full of life and vigour to become stale and unadventurous as it grows and gets older. So, how do you inject that spirit of adventure back into what you do – and keep others just as enthused as they were in the beginning?
Show employees how they’re doing
Lots of companies use social media content created by customers as a way of bringing their brand story to new markets. But you can also use it to bring a sense of adventure and enthusiasm directly to your employees, says Alex Vaidya, founder and CEO of StoryStream.
“As a company grows, it’s all too easy to become disconnected from your colleagues and its original vision and values. By having permanent digital screens around offices displaying the latest inspiring, fun, images, comments and videos, you’ll be able to boost employee engagement, performance and job satisfaction. They’re all key components for keeping employees enthused and to bring back the excitement, motivation and risk taking attitudes of a start-up.”
Look outside your industry
If you’re feeling dissatisfied and bored with the way your business is going, perhaps you’ve fallen into the trap of following the crowd. “It's important to search for ideas outside of your immediate industry,” says Jonathan Birch, creative director at Glass Digital.
“If everybody did the same thing, it would be very boring with no USPs or differentiators to contrast and compare. Identify common frustrations shared within your particular industry and 'buck the trend' to make sure you stand out. In doing so, you'll likely come up with new ways of achieving a goal or working that you otherwise wouldn't have encountered.”
Lose that sense of adventure, and your business will suffer
Do or delegate
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae that running a business involves. Free yourself of that and you’ll keep things fresh, says executive business mentor Adrian Malpass. “Whenever something arrives on your desk, do or delegate. Either take action yourself, or delegate it to someone else who will. Don’t just leave it or put it aside ‘for later’. All this does is mean you have much more to do ‘later’ (whenever that turns out to be). And ‘later’ has a habit of creeping up on you! This will also allow you to achieve more, spend more time on the things that you should be doing, and liberate that highly valuable time that always seem so short.”
Create adventure in your own life
Apprentice winner and founder of ImpraGas Joseph Valente believes that in order to stay courageous in business and do the things your competitors are afraid to do), you’ve got to take risks yourself. “Lose that sense of adventure, and your business will suffer,” he says.
“In my free time, I’ve skydived, white-water rafted, occupied a desert island on my own, gone on a jungle safari… and that sort of adventurous spirit spills over into the way I run my business. It builds a better team: when my employees see how I work through fear, both on my own time and at work, they are more willing to exercise innovation when making decisions. It grows my business: when you run your business with a sense of adventure, employees, customers (and the industry in general) are kept on the edge of their seats, just waiting to see what's next.”
Create a disruptive experience
Force yourself out of your comfort zone, says Jenny Perkins of leadership consultancy Cirrus. “Sometimes, we take corporate clients to work with voluntary organisations. They are set challenges which require them to collaborate with people they don’t know, with few resources, and an initial lack of shared understanding. The corporate leaders have to reinvent their ability to influence and collaborate with others.
“At other times we take leaders from large and long-established businesses to work with digital start-ups or into developing countries to see their products being used in local markets. Whatever sort of disruptive experience you choose, it should take your leaders out of their comfort zones and kick-start a new, more connected way of thinking.”