Many leaders in established organizations describe themselves as entrepreneurial. And yet, many of us don’t recognize some of the paradigms and beliefs that hold us back from discovering and embracing new approaches. Here are 5 signs that you might not be as entrepreneurial as you’d like to think you are. Challenge yourself to ask a few of your colleagues, peers and friends to help you see yourself clearly in each of these areas. Then, make a plan to continue your own growth and development.
1. Big market trends don’t ignite excitement. When the market is shifting, many leaders deny, doubt or procrastinate. Entrepreneurs get excited. Market shifts are moments bursting with opportunity.
2. You haven’t attempted “career suicide” in years. Innovative entrepreneurs who thrive inside established organizations are often on the brink of career suicide on a somewhat regular basis. They consistently challenge the status quo and risk their own job security. (You have a bigger gap if you’ve fired someone for attempting something new!)
3. There are lots of folks around you (your direct reports, vendors, bosses) who aren’t doing their jobs right…in your opinion. Entrepreneurs aren’t finger pointers. They take responsibility, accountability and ownership. When there is a barrier or problem, the work to knock it down. Certainly, they hold others accountable, but they recognize that there are very few situations that they, themselves, can’t impact directly or indirectly for the better.
4. You are always ahead of the curve. This one is counterintuitive, but great entrepreneurs don’t rush into everything. They’ve learned that some technologies have a very short shelf life. They know that getting to market at the right time is sometimes better than being first to market. They know that staying focused on needs and emerging needs is just as important, if not more, than staying on top of new technology.
5. Processes have taken over principles. The most successful, innovative entrepreneurs inside established organizations know that “process” seems to have a gravitational pull on the organization. They regularly work to ensure that principles guide behavior and decisions more than “check the box” process. They value the discipline that process brings, and they use it to help them make smart decisions, but they never rely on process to replace sound judgement based on data, experience and intuition.
So, where do you stand? If you find yourself falling into any of these paradigms or beliefs, the good news is that you can start to embrace a more entrepreneurial mindset and behaviors. Being self aware is the first step.
About The Garage Group
We’re a new kind of strategy firm building entrepreneurial processes and capabilities for innovation.
We work with teams to crystallize their innovation strategy, uncover insights and convert them, along with trends and cross-industry analogs, to generate ideas. We facilitate turning ideas into holistic business model prototypes that can be piloted and scaled. In addition, we create and lead training programs and modules on the skills, behaviors and knowledge that ensure innovation can happen sustainably throughout an organization.
Our clients include Fortune 500 companies and brands like Procter & Gamble, Tide, Always, Nationwide and Jergens; professional-service firms like LPK, Kantar and TNS; as well as health-care organizations like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council.
Photo via Flickr creative commons: jonny2love