We love to study the characteristics and competencies of entrepreneurs. Especially the great ones. So, we were excited to read Richard Branson’s thoughts on why entrepreneurs often struggle with formal education. Certainly, we’ve seen this struggle play out among entrepreneurial-minded folks working in a more corporate cultures, and for many of the same reasons. Branson says: “…the qualities that make for a great entrepreneur — such as boundless energy, a curious nature and, sometimes, an obstinate streak — are not often attributes demonstrated by top students in the classroom.” And, as we know, these are also not often attributes that are rewarded or encouraged in corporate environments.
Branson’s perspective on entrepreneurial leadership is also significant as trends like the rise of “small batch” and “craft” brands and products; and the aggressive speed of change driven by technology, demographic shifts and volatile economics disrupts the certainty and stability of the big brands that so many corporate teams manage and lead. He brilliantly states that, ”In the end, solutions to big problems won’t come from doing school reports, but by getting out there, asking questions, seeing things differently and finding the answers ourselves.” Going forward, we must all adopt a “learning by doing” mindset, one that truly engages us, enables us to ask questions we haven’t asked before and ultimately drives us to seeing things differently. And, embraces the failure and uncertainty that comes with it. When we can do that, we’ll build our entrepreneurial abilities and keep our companies and brands relevant in the process.
Image Credit: Virgin Records
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