Whether you work for yourself, manage an organisation or are part of a team, there will be times in your career that you need to think like an entrepreneur. This could mean generating new ideas, spotting opportunities for development or managing your own time and work schedule. While many fall in to the trap of thinking they are either capable of being entrepreneurial or not, there are in fact things you can do to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and ensure that you use your full potential when undertaking such activities.
Here are three tips you can use for fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, whatever your career level.
FIRSTLY, A DEFINITION
If you’re not sure what is meant by an entrepreneurial mindset, the Financial Times (FT) has a helpful definition. FT defines the concept as
‘a specific state of mind which orientates human conduct towards entrepreneurial activities and outcomes. Individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets are often drawn to opportunities, innovation and new value creation.’
Furthermore, FT notes that the characteristics of someone with an entrepreneurial mindset include ‘the ability to take calculated risks and accept the realities of change and uncertainty,’ making them adept at filling managerial and strategic roles.
1. LEARN SOMETHING YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT
A central element of being an entrepreneur is to display a curiosity for new things, to be constantly seeking as-yet-unknown solutions to problems and looking for inspiration in unconventional places.
One way to foster this trait in yourself or your colleagues is to learn something you know nothing about. According to an article for Inc.com by Anne Weiler, CEO and co-founder of Wellpepper, you can do this by attending a conference on a topic or even industry that is not your own. Anne explains
‘if you're a freelancer or looking for new business ideas this can be a great catalyst. If you're committed to your industry or job it can be a way to find ideas to apply to your current situation or to better understand others in your organization.’
Not only can exposing yourself to new industries and ideas widen your knowledge of topics outside your career interests, it can also give you inspiration for altering processes and developing strategies. Given the popularity of co-working and co-collaboration and the benefits these can bring for innovation and creativity, learning something new can be a great way to foster an entrepreneurial mindset.
2. WORK ON THRIVING UNDER PRESSURE
There is always a certain amount of pressure in the workplace, whether that comes in the form of deadlines and high workloads or the need to meet targets and long-term strategy goals. While of course too much pressure can be counter-productive and lead to burn out and disengagement, learning to thrive under pressure is a vital skill to foster if you are going to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset.
According to Huffington Post contributor, Andrea Schroll, one of the key elements of an entrepreneurial mindset is the capacity to thrive under pressure. She explains that individuals with this mindset are always attentive and alert and are able to ‘step up to the plate’ when the demands of the organisation require. By ‘maintain[ing] a cool attitude and a firm intent’ when it comes to implementing solutions and solving problems, an entrepreneurial individual is able to navigate their team or organisation through the challenges it may present.
3. BE ADAPTABLE TO CHANGE
One of the few certainties of being an entrepreneur is the continuity of change. Given the fast-paced and constantly-evolving demands of many industries in the 21st century, the ability to be adaptable to change must now also be applied to those working within an organisation.
When fostering your entrepreneurial mindset, having a positive relationship with and ensuring that you can adapt to change is vital if you are going to succeed. According to a LinkedIn article by Paul Keisch, ‘entrepreneurs are innovative in their approach to change.’
Keisch argues that those with an entrepreneurial mindset ‘subscribe to the definition of insanity that says - insanity is continuing to do the same things you have always done, in the same ways you have always done them and expect different results.’ Demonstrating that being able to adjust to new ways of working and open to the constancy of change is highly important for entrepreneurs going it alone, those wishing to foster an entrepreneurial mindset should adopt the same attitudes.
Whatever your current career position or aspirations, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset will bring great benefits and enable you to enhance your personal development and organisation’s prospects.
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