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Thinking like an entrepreneur….at work

Last week I shared some thoughts about intrapreneurship. (Being an entrepreneur within a business or organization). Today, I would like to leave you with 5 tips to think like an entrepreneur-within your professional career.

You don’t have to strike out on your own to inject a little entrepreneurial thinking into your professional life. Thinking like a business owner, even in the context of the world of higher education, can pay dividends in your career. Consider these five tips.

  1. Find your passion. Entrepreneurs are passionate about their work, which is the key to success and fulfillment in any field or position. If you feel that you lack passion in what you’re doing, consider how you may play more to what makes you come alive.  By identifying your strengths and those activities that make you come alive, you can slowly demonstrate those areas where you will add most value. This may open new opportunities at work you have not yet considered.
  2. Expand your skillset. Entrepreneurs take advantage of every resource and opportunity to learn something new, brainstorm ideas, and get comfortable with the unfamiliar. They then leverage that collective knowledge into new ideas. In your career, seek out every chance to learn a skill and seek ways to adapt your projects so that you learn something new along the way and move outside your comfort zone. Consider how you may grow in these areas:- Personal characteristics; Interpersonal skills; Critical and creative thinking skills; Practical skills.
  3. Find your differentiators and market them. Entrepreneurs focus on the things that set themselves and their products apart. In your career, you can build your personal brand by highlighting the things that you do differently – and better – than everyone else. Are you an expert at helping others with technology? Then share your experiences in an article or blog post so that you can differentiate yourself among your peers. As a professional, you should be thinking regularly of ways you can market yourself in order to boost your brand. It is my joy to see people develop, and I use writing and speaking to leverage these.
  4. Own Up. At the CFE, selection for entrepreneurial competencies is key. One of the factors we select for is a high inner locus of control. (GET 2 profile)When something goes wrong, there are two ways to look at it: the world is out to get you or you could have done something differently. Only one of those mentalities works in business.’Locus of control‘, as psychologists call it, is the amount of control you believe you have over what happens in your life. An external locus — the kind where the world is against you — is a common fault among unsuccessful business owners. These people are more likely to displace blame onto employees and colleagues, or chalk their failures up to bad luck. They perceive success as outside of their control and fail to acknowledge their role in mistakes. An internal locus, however, is when you take ownership of your failures and learn from them instead. As a result, you learn to adapt and how to avoid mistakes in the future.
  5. Do One Thing a Day That Scares You. Entrepreneurs are those who know business ownership is all about risk. There are no rules and there’s no guarantee for success, so if you want to own a business, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Teach yourself to take risks by doing one thing a day that scares you.  This can apply equally in your career.   And (here’s the key part): don’t worry if you fail. In fact, be willing to fail — the greatest lessons come from our mistakes. As you get used to stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll be able to make the tough calls in career and business.

Here’s to a rising “cohort” of intrapreneurs!

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