I was attending an event where a colleague and friend, Linda Cobb, who also works in the coaching realm, was speaking to the audience about being an internal entrepreneur — someone who works and thinks like an entrepreneur, but works within the “safety” of an organization. She explained that both internal and external entrepreneurs are generally creative, risk-taking, multi-taskers who don’t know how to turn it off. Hmmm…I don’t about you, but that resonates with me. (I’ve always been that way whether I worked for someone or for myself.)
She went on to ask the audience, “What do you stand for?”, “What specific problem can you solve?”, and “What’s stopping you from solving that problem?”, regardless of where or what you do for work. These are great questions for each of us to examine, especially those who have the entrepreneur within that is screaming to escape and make things happen. Status quo is never acceptable for any entrepreneur. Internal and external entrepreneurs are always on the move, looking for ways to make things better.
So I started thinking about her questions in more depth and how they apply to any and everybody — from the small business owner to individuals working in a larger organization. More than anything I wanted to get at the root of why people become entrepreneurs, internally or externally. What drives them? What gets them excited?
After some careful reflection, I concluded that there are four factors that cause entrepreneurs to get excited.
First and foremost, passion! Without passion, you’ve got nothing but a job. On the other hand, passion is the driving force for entrepreneurs. It’s what fuels those who take the lead for a cause or initiative they believe in. As Helen Keller once said, “One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.”
Entrepreneurs love autonomy. In short, entrepreneur-minded people are motivated by autonomy. They are self-directed and accept their wins AND losses within their work, but more importantly, that doesn’t stop them. Autonomy is what drives them. So step aside, and let them get to work.
They own it! Ownership of failures and credit for successes are key to successful internal and external entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs don’t quit. They don’t give up. They look for other options. They take ownership of the good and the bad and keep moving toward accomplishing their goals.
And lastly, an Atta boy (or girl) can go a long way. Did you know that Henry Ford almost gave up on his 4-wheel contraption? If it hadn’t been for Thomas Edison’s support and encouraging words, we may not have the automobile, as we know it today. Just a tiny bit of encouragement extends light years on an entrepreneur’s passion.
And even if these do not resonate with you, be on the lookout! Many employees are looking for inspiration. Grab on to that, leverage that spirit, and inspire them to become more — internal entrepreneurs.
Do you see any of these factors within yourself? Within your employees? What factors would you add?
Leave a comment. Let us know what gets you excited?