Why does no one want to invest money into Arizona? Last year, only 0.7% of all of US’s venture capital deals were made in Arizona. The amount of venture capital dollars invested into Arizona was 0.5% of all money being invested in the US.1Compared to our neighbors, California, which made 41% of deals and took 56% of the venture capital being invested in the US, the numbers seem a bit shy.1We have less money being invested than all of the states that border us, including Texas, Utah, and Colorado. I think at this point, it’s fair to and asks the question, “Why isn’t business booming in Arizona?”
Though there might be many answers to this question, including political decision making, my goal in this article is to focus on one specific aspect: work mentality. How is work mentality in Arizona affecting our business? Before thinking about Arizona, let’s think about work mentality at places where business is surely booming, like Silicon Valley and New York City. Silicon Valley is infamous for its grueling work hours and sharp work mentality. Some people even say that Silicon Valley is not about the location; it’s about the peoples’ work mentality. New York City, especially the financial district, is also infamous for its long hours and dedicated workers.
More and more people are recognizing the true value of how working hard (really hard) is making a big difference in the outcomes of business growth. Work mentality is not just about working longer hours. It’s also about being dedicated to and focused on your work, it’s about the way you view what you are trying to accomplish within your job. Fostering a better work mentality can lead to multi-faceted, exponential growth for your business. Understanding that work mentality is vital for company growth, the question then becomes, how do we achieve this?
To change the work mentality of employees, your employees have to be fully engaged. I have been measuring, studying, and teaching companies how to engage their employees for the past 10 + years. If employees are engaged, they are able to perform at their maximum potential. They understand and share the vision of the company and wish to contribute the company to reach this vision. By being engaged, employees achieve the next level of work mentality, are able to work harder and better, which contributes to the overall growth and successful achievement of the company’s vision.
Engaging your employees takes more than just surface-level encouragement and rewards. You have to constantly communicate the vision of the company to the employees, which leads them to feel inspired and connected as part of the community (that is the company, of course). By understanding the “why”s of your employees, you can own the engagement. Full engagement also takes leadership. Only by having leaders that understand success, what it takes to get there, and knows how to communicate this to her or his employees, can you reach complete engagement.
I have seen companies change and grow. I have also seen companies transform. A change could happen with a couple of employees buckling down. Transformation of a company, on the other hand, takes full engagement. It takes every single employee to dream about fulfilling the vision of the company. When this is the case, people start to work harder. They work harder because they have a purpose, and because they wish to achieve accomplishments for themselves, their teams, and their companies.
In the next ten years, I expect to see positive, real changes in Arizona. This includes more venture capital being invested, the exponential growth of existing companies, and Arizona becoming a central hub for science and technology research. These changes can start today, spurred by one more hard worker in Arizona.
1. National Venture Capital Association/PricewaterhouseCoopers, prepared by SSTI.http://ssti.org/blog/useful-stats-venture-capital-investment-dollars-deals-state-2009-2014. Retrieved 21 June 2015.