Social Entre 101: how to build a team of change agents…
“Make people feel like they can become part of something greater than themselves, and they’ll love you for it.”
That’s a little quote I dreamed up as I was chatting with social entrepreneurs around the world. If there is one thing that makes a successful social entrepreneur stand out, it’s their ability to bring people into causes that are bigger than any one person. In today’s installment of social entrepreneurship, let’s talk about how you build a team that is dedicated to your mission. If you don’t think you’re at the point of building a team, think again - even if you’re finding volunteers or committed customers, you need to be thinking about building your movement from the earliest of days. (btw, if you’ve missed earlier installments of social entrepreneurship 101, click here for the audio versions)
There has never been a better time to build a team as a cause based entrepreneur. Study after study has shown that the vast majority of employees feel they lack meaning in their work. A full two-thirds of employees are currently dissatisfied at their jobs, and a big reason is lack of purpose. Millennials new to the job market also indicate that they value meaning above high salaries and classy benefits. As a result, job-seekers are hunting for companies offering cause-minded careers. This means that cause-based entrepreneurs like us have opportunities that are tailor-made for today’s best and brightest.
How great is that?! Not only are you going to build a movement around an issue that’s near and dear to your heart, you’re going to be able to use that story to draw in the best talent that the world has to offer. Pretty cool huh? Now, I know that you may not yet be building a team, but I’m still really stoked for you. By getting an understanding of what today’s team-member is looking for, you’ll be able to share your story in a way that will have people biting at the bit to work for you when the time comes.
Let’s check out two examples of how other cause-based companies have used their story to build stellar teams:
- Upworthy.com – If you haven’t heard of these guys, check em’ out now. Upworthy is, bar-none, the best place on the internet for purpose driven content. But what I really love about Upworthy is that their job board is a manifesto for their cause. It’s packed with lines like “be part of a team having real impact” “We’re changing how media is done” and “life’s fun on a rocketship” (check out the full page here). You can feel Upworthy’s crusade mentality from the get-go. Create that same moment on your job board.
- Sword and Plough – Talk about a bunch of change agents, Emily and Betsy are the military veteran founders of this cause minded company. S&P touts a ‘quadruple bottom line’ because they re-employ vets to make the company’s high quality bags, re-purpose military surplus materials in their manufacturing, and their profits help support military families. The company’s manifesto is a prime example of how to draw in a cause minded team (photo credit):
I dunno about you, but I get chills down my spine every time I read that. Live out a manifesto like Sword & Plough’s, share that story with the world, and you’ll build a powerful team.
You now see how you can use your story to help you build a team of dedicated change agents. The story of your team has other advantages as well. Cause minded consumers want to know that you have a happy team who is well taken care of. Upworthy touts its incredible benefit program, unlimited time off, and family centered culture that make it a great place to work. Sword & Plough is an example of a company that takes that even further: its team is part of its purpose. By re-employing veterans in its manufacturing process, S&P is combatting the high levels of unemployment among military veterans and training them with skills needed to succeed in today’s marketplace. Boldly make statements about how you treat your employees and you will draw in a great team, great leaders, and great customers.