The 5 Unique Challenges for the Entrepreneurial Thinker, (The ET).
by Jennifer Munro
Author: Personality Matters. Maintaining the Fire and Passion of Entrepreneurial Thinking.
We all know that Entrepreneurial people really thrive on challenges. They see them as driving forces to do more, better, faster and bigger. Those challenges are good and healthy for entrepreneurs and the reasons they put in the energy and effort, and risk that they do.
Sometimes, Entrepreneurial Thinkers, ETs, lose their enthusiasm, their zeal and drive. Oftentimes, they do not know what caused the diminishing excitement and joy. Because ETs generally believe they can fix anything in good time, find alternatives and solutions that are new and innovative, they are thrown off balance when they just cannot find those solutions. ETs need to know their very exceptionalism generates challenges others do not face. It is their very being that generates these challenges and usually has absolutely nothing to do with their intentions or actions. These challenges are a product of, well, simple human nature. Identifying the challenges and implementing solutions to them will minimize these “down times” in the ET’s journey to bigger and better.
5 Unique Challenges
1). You are outnumbered.
You have always known that in some sense. Being one who usually focuses on goals and results, it is difficult to understand sometimes why others, most, do not. It isn’t that they don’t understand the importance of goals, but for most, there are things that drive them other than goals, such as security, (avoiding conflict) relationships, (avoiding rejection), and certainty, (avoiding criticism). Oftentimes, they see your drive to bigger and better as a threat to what they desire or work for. As a result, when your ideas and initiatives are met with little or no enthusiasm, and a lot of resistance, ETs may question themselves and wonder if it is worth the effort. ETs need to know while their ideas and goals are clear to them, they need to provide more information and time to bring others on board.
2). You are a visionary.
You find very few people who see what you see, the opportunities, possibilities, necessities. You often say, or think, “why couldn’t you see where this is going?” The specific trait, (gift, really) of the visionary is the ability to connect the dots, look at existing facts and issues and ”see” where these are heading. This vision allows the ET to truly “know” that they are on or off track in their drive toward specific goals and results. This allows them to initiate and embrace change fast. This trait is not common. Probably only about 20% of the population or less have this ability to project present events and information into future outcomes. Because you see things so differently, and so quickly, this can be unnerving to those who can’t, who are generally comparing where they are going to where they have been, to what has been comfortable from the past. Many of those around you are more comfortable with the status quo than you imagine because it is more comfortable to stick with the known than to jump into the unknown. ETs need to go beyond outlining the end results and add in the additional reassurances to counter possible fears that they will be responsible for the results and those who help them get there will gain more security and benefits than maintaining the status quo.
3). Your expectations are too high!!!!
ETs have high expectations for improving, growing, building, starting and making something happen. They get bored with the status quo and seek more challenge and achievement. They are at their best when they are challenged with difficult achievements. Because others do not always see the “need” for more and better, others think ETs are just never satisfied. If you are an ET, someone has said to you or about you that your expectations are too high. ETs lose a lot of energy countering this criticism. ETs ought to ask “how low should they be?” Rather than defending, ETs need to ask what employees fear in setting higher and better expectations and reassure them of the benefits of being in an energetic, dynamic and competitive company with greater opportunities for growth and success. It is also important to reward those who help you get there differently than those who set up the roadblocks.
4). People let you down.
ETs attract a lot of people who want to be on the journey with them to build exceptional organizations and successes. Often, ETs are not good at hiring. More often than not, we hire based upon resume, education, work history, interviews and references. But, people fail or succeed based upon whether or not their personality is compatible with the role, field and/or environment. Very little emphasis is placed on whether the employees have personality traits that generate people skills, abilities to prioritize, organize, make decisions, initiate, solve problems or just be accountable. These are the things that determine success or failure. So, when we hire on credentials alone, performance may be poor or worse. ETs need to include a validated assessment tool, such as PDP, Professional Dynamics Programs (www.pdpglobal.com) in the hiring, development and promoting processes. No one wants to let you or their team down, and when they have the credentials, but not the characteristics required, they do not even know why they are struggling or why their performance is poor. Many people equate performance with effort, rather than results.
5). Success generates hostility
ETs are not afraid to follow their vision, their dreams and take on new and bigger challenges. This is very attractive to those around them. Others genuinely respect and admire them and want to be part of the ride. At the same time, those same people can also feel resentment and hostility toward the ET. There is an appreciation on one hand, for what the ET does, and for including them. On the other, they resent that the ET is able to accomplish things they could not, or would not attempt. This is like the adage about the dog that bites the hand that feeds it. This can blindside the ET, catch them off guard when others seem to relish a setback, or drag their feet on important deadlines. People will sometimes work against their own self interests. ETs do not think that way so it is very disappointing when it happens. ETs need to remember everyone comes from a different place on any given day, and while most have good intentions, their own disappointments and issues color their responses in the work place. Because ETs are more doers than talkers, they do not always communicate the hardship, challenges and risks they endure so others may think there aren’t any, that things just come easy for the ET, that they are “lucky.” ETs need to be vigilant for those who carry these resentments and turn it into an “entitlement” perspective. Nothing kills an Entrepreneurial environment faster than an entitlement culture.