As we all should, I continue educating myself whether through online classes, reading and writing, mastermind sessions, conversations with mentors, and more…
Recently I “attended” an online course on the subject of Entrepreneurism and Idea Development. The course was offered by the University of Maryland, and delivered by way of Coursera.org. I talked about the “Opportunity Issues” entrepreneurs and inventors are faced with in THIS earlier post. These online courses are amazing an I encourage everyone to take a look at what are called MOOC’s. Massive Open Online Courses.
We were given an assignment and the exercise required students to address and answer five (5) points. Below are the headings and my answer to them. What would your answers, or comments, be?
1) How would you define the “Entrepreneurial Mindset?” Be sure to discuss each of the five factors.
The mindset of an entrepreneur is akin to the pioneering mindset. Whether innovating in an existing arena or creating a new market, there is a drive toward achievement and the attendant pride associated with accomplishment of a stated goal or pursuit. And by definition this depends on personal drive, even if acting in concert with others or serving in a support role.
There is nothing more stifling than nay-sayers.
Though the team needed to develop a new innovation or technology is important, the individual has to be free from distraction (not depending on the approval of others) in order that ideas and thoughts can flow freely and fully develop. This individualism can be infectious, thereby attracting like minded people forming a core group.
Gut feelings are a personal thing and sometimes hard to communicate. The level of control one has over their thoughts and development process may determine the outcome. And while an external influence can be helpful, it’s the drive and passion or the internal that drives the vision. They have developed a keen sense of observation and point of control. This control allows for focus. Where attention and purpose are focused a higher sense of certainty develops, which may serve as a hedge against failure. Given the low success statistics with entrepreneurial enterprises it helps to have an optimistic outlook, and in this case subjectivity can be healthy – perhaps a guarded optimism – to overcome expected, and unexpected obstacles.
Again, a keen sense of observation of markets, trends, and consumer demands leads to data analysis and a more justified position of objectivity.
2) We are interested in your personal perspectives on “Entrepreneurial Motivation.” discuss the three factors through which goal-directed behavior is initiated, energized and maintained as related to entrepreneurial strategic decision-making.
Estimation of effort and resources and need for data/market analysis is paramount. Though we are discussing one’s beliefs in their ability to accomplish a specific task, one’s abilities are tested as an entrepreneur, and the more spot-on one can be about their abilities, need for improvement and confidence to correctly identify and recruit needed human capital couldn’t be more important (self-efficacy). The attendant approaches to improving this point of self-efficacy include the acceptance of incremental success to potentially extraordinary results. Observational skills are important as it relates to modeling others and their successful actions/practices. Staying optimistic, having a positive outlook and mood are key to keeping one’s self motivated and to inspire others as to one’s mission.
Whether you identify yourself as a low-cognitive or a high-cognitive the point is to understand the need to constantly improve, develop, and fine-tune the thought process. I think it’s important to identify the statistical data as it relates to each “cognitive” nature to steer in the direction of a more likely positive outcome. Fortunately for entrepreneurs, we are able to make snap decisions and turn-on-a-dime if situations demand that. This eases the possible threat from a given situation or set of circumstances. A tolerance for ambiguity serves as an acceptance of change, whether over time or immediate internal or market forces.
3) In considering the role of “Risk” in entrepreneurial decision-making, why do entrepreneurs accept risks that traditional managers may avoid?
While an entrepreneur is no more likely to take a risk than non-entrepreneurs, the skills that mitigate risk seem to be present in the entrepreneur – the confidence that overcomes self-doubt is present, the interpersonal relationship skills required to extend one’s circle of friends and influence are high, and when the social network expands we are better informed, and potentially more creative. As a result there is an environment of collaboration that saves time and perhaps money, all leading to a reduction of risk through well informed decision making and more objective viewpoints.
4) How can you improve your confidence level and risk tolerance?
Accurate risk assessment is key here. Once data and market analysis is considered, and providing it is favorable, the confidence to move forward is present. However, because there is no way to determine all of the possible outcomes the entrepreneur has to rely on cognitive facilities. With a framework of support of the social network the entrepreneur is able to apply multiple perspectives to a given situation and make more strategic decisions. With input from collaborators there is a better chance that the layers of complexity of a decision are considered, thereby increasing one’s confidence in making a particular decision.
5) How can you increase your comfort level with making strategic decisions quickly, with limited information and high consequences?
Ultimately an entrepreneur is developing to the stakeholders’ interests. (A stakeholder is basically anyone who has a “stake” in the thing or business being developed). Whether they affect or are affected by the proposition, the comfort level builds in making quick decisions because a more objective viewpoint is adopted. Of course through experience a higher level of tolerance for ambiguity develops, and the percentage of risk is fine-tuned. Through survey and focus groups the entrepreneur is constantly considering all aspects of a decision and the comfort level naturally grows with more and more objective data – taking the decision out of the less reliable subjective mindset. The consequences of a decision, then, are more accurately assessed allowing for a course correction when needed.
There you have it. Let me know if there is anything you need or want help with… Looking forward to helping you launch your next million dollar idea!
Get a copy of my book at the link below and get started developing!! 🙂
Featured Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net