How critical is an entrepreneurial mindset to career evolution?

Our senior art director, James Cahill muses following a recent MAAG event…

Rule number one: you won’t get ahead by being a couch potato.

“Business needs ambitious, inquisitive people prepared for change”, observed Michelle Whelan Geometry CEO, leading the conversation. “Individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets are naturally drawn to opportunities, innovation and new value creation, often leading to career-defining projects."

So, what is this big deal with business innovation? 

Michelle responded with alacrity: “Business innovation matters for one simple reason: value”. She went on to say that successful innovation demands finding new revenue opportunities, optimising existing channels and, ultimately, generating higher profits. It also gives companies competitive-edge.

Entrepreneurs are needed no matter how big the business.

Uber, AirBnB, Mailchimp, Twitter, Snapchat and many more famously started as sole icons of entrepreneurial mindsets.

But all companies achieving scale are powered by a set of values and workforce entrepreneurial by nature. That’s why Domino’s and Amazon are listed by Entrepreneur as the most innovative companies of 2018. 

Domino’s, with its cool digital makeover, is creating an eCommerce experience far exceeding what you’d expect from a pizza company. Its latest: partnership with Ford on pilot programmes to test self-driving cars for pizza delivery. 

Amazon: The $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods. Amazon Studios. Two-hour delivery services. Drones. Alexa. 100 million paying Prime members. Amazon has woven itself into every corner of the world - all while posting a profit for 12 straight quarters. 

So, what exactly should we be doing to cultivate this entrepreneurial road to career success?

A few tips from our panelists:

"It's not good enough to have a good idea, it has to have an upside for our clients’ business. It can't be a solution looking for a problem.”  Career ambitious people are firmly focused on commercial success, not just blue-sky thinking. 

"I've never hired anyone who said, 'I want to be an entrepreneur'. Do something you love, and tell me about it. It's about delivering.” I think this is the modern-day version of the adage “don’t tell me you’re funny, tell me a joke!” Be innovative. Take risks. Put yourself out there.

 “One of the main things young people today are looking for is recognition. It's what fuels the entrepreneurial mindset.” Ask yourself, what are you looking for in a role and how will that role allow you to be more entrepreneurial and gain the recognition you’re after? Consider roles that firmly put you outside your comfort zone yet have potential to achieve more satisfaction and recognition than the traditional or expected.

“Embrace failure.” Often said and often laughed off as cliché. But it’s true - working in a place where it’s safe for people to fail, and happy to discuss the benefits of learning from failing is critical to nurturing that entrepreneurial mindset. Failure really does become an opportunity to learn and “helps demonstrate to others that this is a safe space to fail”, as one of our panelists noted.

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