When we say “Entrepreneurship isn’t just for startups,” we know that some folks walk away thinking that the focus of our work is to help established organizations launch new “stuff.” We do that. But, applying the principles, frameworks and behaviors of entrepreneurship within the established organization is really about much more than just launching a new product or service. It’s about behaving differently. Entrepreneurs just do things differently. In fact, Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson has captured one of our favorite definitions of entrepreneurship:
Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.
So, in order to inspire a broader definition of how entrepreneurship can benefit an established company, here’s a quick list of things that entrepreneurial thinkers do differently:
1. Break a few rules — not just for the sake of it, but when they don’t make sense and they’re impeding progress
2. Never stop learning.
3. Connect with someone new every day (or at least every week).
4. Develop customer empathy and then work to solve real customer needs.
5. Connect dots between seemingly unrelated things.
6. Stand up for an idea, even when it’s unpopular.
7. Share ideas freely.
8. Listen more than talk.
9. Understand the industry and where it’s headed.
10. Give honest feedback.
11. Encourage others.
12. Celebrate experiments and failures because of the learning they yield.
13. Ask for feedback, and then quickly adapt based on it.
14. Champion good ideas. Abandon bad ones.
15. Leverage strengths and ask for help to manage weaknesses.
16. Don’t be afraid to be wrong.
17. Create a new path when one doesn’t exist.
18. Seek out challenges that don’t have easy answers.
19. Keep moving forward even when things aren’t clear.
20. Refuse to be defined by a functional title.
The point here is that there is quite a bit of “room” for entrepreneurship to impact established organizations. We hope you’re inspired to think differently in your role.
Photo licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 via Flickr user: stevendepolo