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The entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset

An entrepreneurial spirit is an attitude and an approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It is a mindset that embraces innovation, creativity, critical questioning, service and continuous improvement. 

Most people think of entrepreneurs as business owners, but a person can have the entrepreneurial spirit as an employee in a company owned by someone else. Employers value employees who are engaged and proactive members of their staff and they desire to hire and surround themselves with individuals who are passionate about their jobs.

Some of the characteristics displayed by entrepreneurs follow.

1. They are in-tune with their passions. The conviction and enthusiasm they have about their jobs will motivate them to dive deep into a subject and not give up. They are problem solvers and self-starters. They are energized by challenges.

2. They question the status quo and come up with new ideas. They are always looking for better ways to do things in improving products and services. They think “out of the box.”

3. They are optimistic rather than pessimistic. Instead of looking at why it can’t be done they have a “can do” attitude. They are aggressive when attacking challenges and set big goals. They push the envelope.

4. They are risk takers. They have a pre-disposition for taking risks and have a high risk tolerance. They are able to work autonomously and in teams.

5. They can make decisions. Being decisive and not procrastinating makes the difference in people who accomplish much on the job and in life. They do not get “paralysis of analysis”.

6. They think like an owner. They set out to simplify practices and policies on decision-making, adapting to changes in the competition and the industry. Employees are empowered to take risks and continuously learn new ways of doing things.

7. In addition to ideas and visions, they know how to take action and execute a plan. Ideas can be prolific but execution of those ideas makes the difference in success or failure.

Taking ownership and having pride in your organization fosters an approach to situations where the employee is empowered, motivated and capable of bringing about solutions. They see solutions rather than the problem, and opportunities rather than obstacles. Companies encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in their employees who are proactive and innovative in their thinking. It helps companies to grow and expand successfully rather than becoming stagnant and stale.

In order to have a fertile environment for the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish the company needs to hire and promote people who think anything is possible and possess the tenacity and perseverance to accomplish it. Not only being open to change but becoming a “change agent” is critical to success. It is important for small, mid-size and large companies. It involves building a team of people who can lead but also knows how to follow. It is built with collaboration, cooperation and teamwork. The concept of “there are no bad ideas” is part of the company culture.

It is more inherent in start-up organizations that are smaller and action oriented. However, there are many well-established companies who definitely embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. Some of the large companies include Apple, Virgin, Google and Zappos, just to name a few. 

As a company grows and matures it is often more difficult to maintain and the entrepreneurial outlook can wane. Both the employer and employee have responsibilities to retain the entrepreneurial culture within the organization.
By being resourceful and overcoming obstacles a person can keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive.

Some may be born with these traits while others develop them. It inspires a person to be the best they can be. It is also an inspirational gift to others to strive for greatness. You can have a very successful work life balance and be fulfilled in every area of your life.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.