10 Ways to Foster An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Leadership, Mission-Driven Work

The Getting Smart team has spent the last quarter thinking about building an entrepreneurial mindset and what that looks like in schools. We’ve had a chance to talk to deans of nursing schools, K-12 leaders and education start-ups about the skill set needed and what great entrepreneurs have in common. Below is a quick list of 10 ways to foster an entrepreneurial mindset both individually and as an organization.

  1. Clarify Your Mission: Your work and product should provide value to others. Individuals should have a clear personal mission they use to guide their career decisions. As an organization it’s important to be mission-driven and clearly communicate that mission both internally and externally.
  2. Cultivate an Innovation Mindset: Being reflective about how you think and how your organization thinks is the first step to developing an innovation mindset. Reading broadly, visiting innovators, writing to understand your own thinking, and brainstorming with smart people are the best ways to learn.
  3. Create a Shared Vision: Once your organization is clear on it’s purpose and mission, set a vision. Allow the vision to define your work and share it with others. Your team should be able to contribute to and help shape the vision. Allow others to contribute and learn to communicate that vision in every messaging opportunity. Your communication and marketing plans should amplify the vision.
  4. Be Outcome Oriented: Constantly ask what is the end result? How do employees and partners contribute to the outcomes? How are the outcomes communicated? You should always be planning for the future and be crystal clear on the outcomes always starting with the end in mind.
  5. Stay Flexible: The journey to success is not straight and while it’s important to focus on outcomes, be flexible on the process. Staying nimble on the journey will help you adapt and be focused on independent impact. Be flexible in your methods, respond to the market and your customers.
  6. Be Curious: On the journey, it’s important to be curious and continue researching. Search for new opportunities, ask questions, seek feedback, explore new partnerships, learn from others, and create room for employees and partners to learn and be creative as well.
  7. Embrace Lean and Iterative: “In the pursuit of a better way, we must make many, many more smaller, faster bets,” said Matt Candler. “ This requires a bias to action, not a bias to certainty.” One of my greatest lessons of entrepreneurship is to fail fast and learn from failures. Continue to research, test methods, be in a development mindset. Great entrepreneurs are persistent and preserve through tough times, and focus on personal and company growth.
  8. Build a Network: Build a strong network of people around you. Association is key – both inside your organization and outside. Always be around smart and creative people and harness the power of your community.  Form partnerships that are productive both personally and professionally.
  9. Be Resourceful: Know the talents on your team and in your network that can be of benefit to you and your organization. Learning to work smarter and not harder is part of being resourceful. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Research and know the space and all the assets you have available.
  10. Take Ownership: The final step in creating a truly entrepreneurial mindset is taking ownership. Be the leader, own your work and take responsibility.

What else would you add? We’d love to share resources you’ve found on building an entrepreneurial mindset.

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