I was trying to find a word that best describes the mindset of an entrepreneur and the best I could come up with was… HUNGRY.
If you are hungry then you are willing to go a long way to satisfy that hunger.
If you are hungry you will work harder.
If you are hungry you will be willing to take some risks.
If you are hungry you will be very focused on what it takes to reach your goal.
“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Frank Lloyd Wright
As time goes by and entrepreneurs achieve some success there is a subtle change from entrepreneur to “corporate” mindset. This is often a necessary change as a company moves through its stages of growth.
The hunger is reduced.
The risk taking is reduced.
The total focus is reduced.
The work ethic is not quite where it was.
Where companies run into trouble is when that mindset continues to shift, from the focused needs of the company to an entitlement of position. From a mindset that puts the company first to a mindset that puts the executive first.
“The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” Ingvar Kamprad
If I draw a sports comparison, winners are typically those who are the most hungry. The winners are those who are willing to train longer, learn more, continue to grow and who revel in the competition. In sports the difference between winners and losers is tiny! It might be a split second moment of magic, or slip in concentration. It might be a fraction of a second. It might be that last gasp effort because the winner trained just a little harder. In business the difference between winners and losers can be small too. Many of the great businesses of the past lost their way, just Google “What happened to the first Fortune 500 companies?”
Companies need their leaders to be focused on the needs of company above all else. Companies that can maintain that type of single-minded entrepreneurial focus will always succeed, and that mindset needs to come from the top.
“I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.” – Bill Gates,
Here, in my humble opinion, are some questions that leaders need to answer in order to know if they are slipping too far from the entrepreneurial mindset..
Am I focusing my energies in the right places?
Am I spending the majority of my efforts on activities that will further the business?
Am I spending time with the right people?
Am I making decisions based on ego or on what is right for the company?
Am I willing to sacrifice to do the right thing?
Am I still willing to put in the hours of an entrepreneur?
Am I becoming a corporate executive with big expectations for myself … or is my focus on what it takes to drive growth and success in the business?
Am I taking time away from my role to satisfy my ego … or worse, my personal needs and desires?
Am I still HUNGRY for the success of this company?
Am I still the right person to be doing this job?
Great leaders will always have some of that entrepreneurial spirit. They will always have that HUNGER that winners need!