Stefan Wissenbach, entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of Engagement Multiplier, talks about his ambition to make a hundred million people worldwide happier and seeing his entrepreneurial coach every three months
What do you currently do at your company day-to-day?
My overriding role is to see to it that our primary purpose – “unlocking hidden potential and improving the lives of owners, leaders and employees” – is consistently delivered. We enable progressive, imaginative businesses to measurably improve morale, productivity and retention and innovate, thrive and grow. This is done through our digital platform, which allows any organisation to understand the truth about what’s going on there – typically in ten minutes every 90 days – via anonymous employee feedback.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
At the Abundance 360 event, in Los Angeles, a few years ago, inspirational business thinker, Peter Diamandis, asked me to come up with “a massive transformational purpose.” I thought about it and decided I would help a hundred million people become demonstrably more engaged and happier at work.
Having spent more than 20 years working with fantastic businesspeople and their teams on engagement techniques, I realised that this would be best done via the ever-accelerating use of tech in the workplace. As such, we devised the online Engagement Multiplier platform as the communications conduit that also measures staff engagement levels.
I found it very strange that most business owners tended to measureeverything else– financial performance, marketing spend, an array of ROIs – yet they didn’tquiz what is usually their most important asset, their people, to gauge how happy theyare. Since then, of course, the huge importance of employee engagement has been recognised; when businesses get it right, they are transformed for the better but when they don’t, enterprises’ very existence can be threatened.
What defines your way of doing business?
Ours is a business with strong values. We have an internal phrase, “I face each day with our values in mind” – and ‘I face’ is an acronym for Impact, Fun, Authenticity, Caring and Enthusiasm. These are the watchwords that we hire by – and fire by if they are not met – and that we display in all our interactions with customers and suppliers
Who do you admire?
Entrepreneurs. I’ve spent the last 20 years as one and working closely with others and love the inspiration and value that they bring to the world. It all became clear to me many years ago, when my entrepreneurial coach, Dan Sullivan (who I visit every 90 days in Chicago), quoted Jean-Baptiste Say, the economist who coined the word, ‘entrepreneur.’
He defined it as someone who, “Shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield” – and Iconstantly champion this philosophy as I work with entrepreneurs who are transforming the way we live.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Hindsight is a cruel mistress, but I believe that everything we do in the past sets us up for what we do in the future. There is a lot of learning to be gained not only from your past but those of others.
I would have taken bigger risks at a younger age and certainly focused more on the power of collaboration and teamwork, rather than rugged individualism. Now I’m blessed with the knowledge that an engaged group of people – individuals with unique abilities, but a shared purpose – can create so much more than even the most inspired, driven ‘go-it-aloner’ can.
I would also have kept a stake in every business I have established, grown and sold, as they have all gone on to be sustainable and thrive.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Focus on the ‘who’. Too much time is spent by future business leaders starting up on the ‘how’.
They have clarity on what they want to achieve and the impact they want to make, but rather than worrying about howthey should achieve these goals, they should concentrate on finding like-minded, suitably skilled players who can help them do so.
We live in a very connected world now, where collaboration thrives. A passionate person with a purpose and a goal can find it easier than ever to link with others who have either already trodden that path or have the insight, wisdom and skills to ensure a successful outcome.
Stefan Wissenbach is founder of Engagementmultiplier.com and a finalist for Innovation Entrepreneur of the year at The Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2018.
He is a global speaker and published author. His most recent book, The Engaged Organisation: The simple, proven way to create the engaged company you dream about, is available on amazon.