Who Are Your Organizations Entrepreneurs?

For nearly 15 years, we’ve worked with the nation’s top personality assessment company. The tools that this company, Target Training International, provide are wonderful resources for small business owners who want to build strong teams but need additional expertise to do it.  In addition to the personality assessments, the employee surveys, coaching and mentoring tools, and their Candidate Matching hiring program, they publish reams of great articles and other information. Here’s an article that really spoke to me, found on the Harvard Business Review blog.  I’ve reprinted it below.

How useful would it be to identify the problem-solvers within your business?

They’re called entrepreneurs, and not all of them are created the same. The ability to identify entrepreneurs empowers organizations to effectively manage their workforce. Through research, we’re beginning to learn more about spotting star performers who would otherwise become disengaged and flee — taking their new ideas with them.

Identifying these individuals is possible long before they enter the workplace. In fact, 42 percent of entrepreneurs have determined they want to own their own business before the age of 12, according to an ongoing study run by our company, Target Training International, of engineering students from 18 major U.S. universities.

Early findings from this research describe two types of entrepreneurs emerging:

  • Entrepreneurial-Minded People (EMPs): They tend to work well in teams, have an organized workplace and enjoy consistency. These individuals are happier within organizations or within a group of people working together to achieve a goal.
  • Serial Entrepreneurs (SEs): The second group is made up of potential serial entrepreneurs who have a desire to own their own business. Serial entrepreneurs tend to be more individualistic, have a greater sense of urgency and a desire to control. They have demonstrated an ability to sustain a business past the first year, into the higher growth job production years of a young firm.

Both entrepreneurial types are identified by a distinct challenge-orientation and improvement-focused mindset. But they differ in their attitudes towards control. EMPs are less concerned with the amount of control they can exert. They are happiest when they work collaboratively on a task, in a team, striving for solutions to complex or recurring problems.

The SE wishes to have ultimate control over her life and business. While happy to set direction for a company or team, serial entrepreneurs need to feel that their employer is not limiting their destiny.

Once you identify certain performers as SEs or EMPs, it’s your job as a manager to retain them.

Make sure they have a forum where their ideas can be heard. When an SE shares his vision and is met with rejection, he will become disengaged and will likely resent the organization. He is also likely to not only plot his exit, but how to redress the rejection he experienced. That can translate into taking their ideas to a competitor or becoming a competitor himself. Similarly if an EMP is not allowed to engage in the problem-solving process or is asked to work independently, the same is likely to occur.

But how do managers identify entrepreneurial types? It’s often helpful to put these questions to use, especially during the hiring process or a performance review.

  1. Describe your career goals. The EMP’s answer would more likely indicate he could care less about being in management and is happy where he is or where he is applying for. The SE will tend to say she is looking for advancement.
  2. Describe your professional strengths. An EMP will focus on strengths directly related to the job in question. An SE will talk more about leadership and personal identity.
  3. Describe things you’re not good at. Honesty is important for both. Listen closely: If she claims to not have any weaknesses, she is likely more SE-driven. The more weaknesses he confesses to having, the more EM-driven he is.
  4. What activities do you do to keep current in your profession? The EMP is interested in keeping up within his profession and industry. The SE is more focused on keeping up on broader scope, going beyond just her career and may discuss things she is reading, experiencing or sharing.

Entrepreneurs — whether EMPs or serial — already possess the behaviors, attitudes, and values to build successful businesses. Finding out whom within the workforce possesses the traits of an entrepreneur — and which type they are — will allow business leaders to work with their unique approach to business. Recruiting and retaining entrepreneurs will pay big dividends not just for individual companies, but also for the economy as a whole.

For more information on how we can help you hire and build strong teams, packed with problem solvers, click here or give us a call today. We’ll show you how the TTI Tools have enabled our clients to save hours of time and thousands of dollars by hiring right in the first place, and allowing superstars to develop and grow within the company. Call today 301-490-5620.

Leveling The See-Saw Called Life

Each member of the Remodelers Advantage team brings a unique and powerful point of view to our organization and I love it. Having an array of personality types, and people with differing sets of experience on our bench means that we can have a wide set of information at our fingertips, and we deliver that much more value to the members of our learning community. One of our most effective business coaches and  popular facilitators is Paul Winans. Paul’s thoughtful yet exacting input helps our members identify the stumbling blocks that are holding them back from reaching their potential. Here, Paul shares his views on the importance of building a balanced life. 

Remember going to the playground when you were young and riding the see-saw?  Some people call it the teeter-totter.  Little more than a board centered on a fulcrum, you and a friend would get on each end, alternately pushing one another up and down.

After doing that for a while (sometimes trying to move the see-saw so violently that you would knock your partner off!) you might work with the person on the other end to try to get the see-saw balanced, so nobody’s feet were touching the ground.  This took a little more work than simply pushing up and down, and you and your playmate had to work together to make it happen.

I mention the see-saw because the way we played with that is a lot like how we approach trying to create work-life balance in our lives as adults.  It IS possible to create it, though not without investing effort that is often counter-intuitive for motivated people.

Why bother creating such a balance in your life?  My wife, Nina, and I went to a wedding recently.  The bride was the daughter of dear friends we met 33 years ago.  We knew them before their daughter (the bride) was born.  Now we were watching her get married

Sitting in the chapel I couldn’t help but reflect on where did all the time go?  How did she get to be such a beautiful young woman, no longer the young child who once played with our children?

I was grateful for the choices I had made which allowed me to see much of the growing up their children and our children did in all those years.

At the same time, there were times when I was too consumed with work.  So much so that I was not able to appreciate how ephemeral so much of what I took for granted as being permanent truly was.  My see-saw got out of balance pretty regularly.

My experience of being alive for all these years so far is that each year makes it easier to understand how important it is to get the board level.  Yes, there will always be that tension between work and life on either ends of the see-saw.  Those choices about what to pay attention to are your life in the long run.

How to make it happen in your world?  Simply put, take a long term perspective when trying to decide what to do today.

What does that mean in real practical terms?  Consider this: When you are lying in your death bed what will you be reflecting on?  Probably not that you wish you could have worked more hours and days!

Rather, you will likely be thinking about the relationships and memories you helped sustain and create.  Try keeping that in mind when the board is being pushed down by the weight of work and all its attendant obligations.

Put into your planner all those things which will help keep you healthy and keep you connected to family and friends.  THEN fit in the remaining space your work.  This looks like a simple thing to do and I know that it is not.  Remember how you had to work with your friend to get the board balanced and that it took more work than simply pounding your side of the board up and down?

Your life is as balanced as you take responsibility for making it be.  There is no right way or wrong way to live your life.  Do keep in mind what you want to be reflecting on when watching people who used to be your age going through one of life’s wonderful transitions.  That is all up to you.

If creating the life you really want is a challenge for you, let us give you a hand. Everything we do is aimed toward helping you life a better life — and our coaches are ready to work with you.  Contact our friendly staff today at 301-490-5620 or complete this form and we’ll give you all of the details on this very effective service. Learn how we’ve helped our clients — straight from the horse’s mouth!

Book Review: The Knack How Street Smart Entreprenuers Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up

This book is written by two of my favorites from Inc. magazine, Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham, who totally understand the challenges faced by owners of small business.  As we see regularly with our consulting clients, people building a business look for a silver bullet, a step-by-step formula or set of rules to help them grow profitably and successfully. Unfortunately for all of us, that doesn’t exist! Instead, you have to grow a certain mindset that will help you handle the ups and downs of business. Brodsky and Burlingham call it the Knack.

This is a must read for all of us as it uncovers the major challenges, forces us to look at our most critical business information, and tells us how to build a business that fits us. One of the pieces of advice they give is to follow the numbers. Boy, they took the words right out of my mouth! We all agree that this regular review and understanding of our numbers is the best way to spot problems before they become life-threatening.  Some of our clients and members ask why we spend so much time on the numbers and this is exactly the reason. We want you to understand where your company is heading in enough time to take action to change if necessary.

If you aren’t following your numbers the way you should, let us know. We can help.

We are delighted to welcome Bo Burlingham to our 2010 Business Summit as our Keynote Speaker.  You’re invited too! Learn more about the Summit here.