The Making of a Leader – A Strategic Checklist
Many of us have begun the road to self-employment and entrepreneurship when faced with a significant challenge: the knowledge that YOU can do it better!
The seed for entrepreneurship was planted when our direct managers become obsolete in relation to our expectations, when we experienced frustration caused by the sense of inadequacy. The identification of inefficacy that surrounded us was the sediment to the process of independence.
It all begins with good intentions, but the reality of entrepreneurship & start-up is ever more challenging: most conversations in which business owners are involved include words like “resilience” “commitment” “patience” “hard work”.
Back when I began my own process for the creation of Symposium Learning I found an extremely useful check-list which propose here today.
There are no correct answers to the exercise below but, obviously, the higher your scores, the more likely you are to be already suited to being an entrepreneur.
Where are you on each of the following, on a score from 1 (weak) to 10 (strong)?
Complete it yourself first and then ask somebody you trust and rely on to complete it too – it is surprising how honest people are when asked to give real feedback on something as important as business ventures and career moves. You will also see how hard we are on ourselves when we self-evaluate: ask for comments and openly discuss the perception that your trusted person has of your skills and ability in this specific regards. Ask as many people you think is useful in order to gain the confidence and information you need to assess your entrepreneurship aptitudes.
Nothing will come as a surprise and having this list completed will help you to identify the areas you want to improve or even decide that it might be wise to invest in expert advice/training/mentoring on the matters highlighted.
I would like now to spend some time discussing 3 “features” which I did not realise completed the mark-up of the entrepreneurs.
- Sense of Social Responsibility: entrepreneurship can be about creating wealth for oneself and for one’s family – but the process of generation does not occur in a silo. Also when the business processes focuses on “online trading” and “social media” – the responsibilities we carry in our interactions are sufficient to ensure that we develop a sense of respect and ideals of those we met and exchange with. The services and products we offer might be for the large corporate world and each one of them is made by employees, staff: people. Furthermore, when being assessed for state founding the creation of employment is often a key element of evaluation. Our desire of independence is in fact directly linked to our ability to compassionately engage with the public.
- Tapping and Using Resources: I could rephrase this feature as “Asking for help.” Identification and location of resources are essential to a start-up and information sharing is what gets most problem solved. Being unaware of one’s lack of confidence to “ask for help” and “tapping in using resources” will bring about a stressful feeling of insecurity: emotion can we would like to avoid during the crucial phases of business start-ups. Entrepreneurs must be open-minded and admit that asking for help is crucial – especially when adopting the now common “Lean Start-up” strategy. We will be surprised how open and helpful fellow entrepreneurs are in sharing what they have learned in their journey and what resources are accessible, where and by whom. (from location of free hot-desking, to how to obtain founding, help with a business plan and connections).
- Calculate risk-taking: it nearly reads as a contradiction in terms: how can a risk be calculated? But this is what entrepreneurship is essentially about – having the ability to make “an accurate guess” about the need, space and willingness to pay for the product/service we will create and deliver. Good marketing research will support ideas and direct investment into areas that appear as more profitable – nevertheless, nobody can predict the future and a golden rule of sale is that “people buy emotionally”. Without entering into gambling, entrepreneurs guess-estimate the success of bright idea and must feel comfortable with uncertainty.
How did it go? Did you score higher than you though? What are the areas you want to read more about in order to increase your self-confidence? Are you ready to ask for help?
Awareness is a key skill to become the person and entrepreneur you want to be: never shy away from self-discovery.
Samantha Di Gesaro Magee
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