In this on-going series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing battle day in and day out. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what is your business?
My name is Arthur Zenian. I am CEO of enBio, which performs preventative maintenance, repairs and manages medical equipment for healthcare facilities.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
To me, an entrepreneur is an individual or small group who start a company from scratch—no clients, no customers, no branding—and give everything they have to make it in this world. I've had this license plate since 1999.
What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Having partners that took advantage of me, embezzled and didn't contribute as much as expected. I decided in 2008 that I didn't need partners and decided that if I took care of my leadership team, I could expect less and get more. I can clearly and with confidence tell you that it worked for me.
What is the most important trait in a new hire and why?
Self-motivation. It doesn’t matter if the boss is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a manager of a McDonald’s: everyone is looking for employees that do not have to be micro-managed. Ideal employees have a “get it done” type of personality—they are not afraid to just jump in and help out with whatever needs doing. For an employee to be motivated, they must feel like they are making a difference for the company or that success will lead to bigger career advances.
What trait do you depend on most when making decisions?
My ability to involve others in the decision-making process. I believe most people will feel better and more accountable about a final decision if they have played an active role in making it. Even those people who do not agree with the final decision will still be more likely to support it because they appreciate the genuine attention and consideration given to their input.
What is your leadership style?
I continually reinvent myself. I feel that if you don’t continue to evolve, you become satisfied with the status quo and become stagnant. You also have to understand that the same style and approach won’t be equally as effective with various employees or organizations. To me, a leader needs to continue to find new ways and approaches to inspire employees to be proactive. Otherwise, they just float along, afraid to rock the boat.
Photo credit: SFBJ