Entrepreneurship breeds innovation, drives jobs, boosts economies, and offers solutions to a variety of environmental and social challenges. But before those sparks and drivers can be ignited, there must be an entrepreneurial mindset as a catalyst.
An entrepreneurial mindset helps leaders create value by “recognizing and acting on opportunities, making decisions with limited information, and remaining adaptable and resilient in uncertain and complex conditions,” he said. Rowena BarrettVice Chancellor for Entrepreneurship at Queensland University of Technology.
in a webinar presented by MIT Sloan and the QUT School of BusinessBarrett andManaging Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, shared three traits that define an entrepreneurial mindset, no matter the setting.
“Entrepreneurship is much, much bigger than just startups,” Aulet said. “Entrepreneurs need to exist throughout our society, not just in corporate-backed startups. They must exist in government, they must exist in large corporations, they must exist in non-profit organizations, [and] they need to exist in academic institutions. We need entrepreneurs everywhere.”
An entrepreneurial mindset is resilient, resourceful, and solution-oriented, even when conditions say otherwise. People with this mindset are lifelong knowledge seekers who are curious and creative, and are critical thinkers, Barrett said.
“They are self-directed, action-oriented, highly engaged,” Barrett said. “They have optimistic interpretations of adverse events” and see problems as potential opportunities.
“It’s about looking at others and the value you can create for others by solving other people’s problems, and surrounding yourself with an intentional community of positive influence and critical guidance,” Barrett said.
Entrepreneurial mindsets understand that searching for and following something can lead to unforeseen opportunities.
An entrepreneurial mindset embraces change, Aulet said, even though that’s not always taught in business school.
“That doesn’t mean we need entrepreneurs and no management,” Aulet said. “We need ambidextrous leaders. We need managers who are entrepreneurs and who can become managers when necessary, and be entrepreneurs. [when need be].”
When change occurs, an entrepreneurial mindset keeps an eye on the mission, he said.
Despite the prefix, antifragile is a positive condition and quality of an entrepreneurial mindset, Aulet said.
The fight against fragility consists of four parts:
- Heart — The confidence to say when a change occurs that it is not something to survive, but that “this is what we were created to do,” Aulet said.
- Head — The understanding that when a change occurs, it is time to act and have a plan of what you are going to do.
- Hand “It is not enough to know what to do when we go to battle,” said Aulet. “We have to be able to do it.” It is turning the knowledge of the head into the ability to do things.
- Home — Build a community that can help you obtain resources, particularly those that are beyond your control. Know what to do, have the ability to do it, Aulet said, “then you have to be able to muster the resources very quickly to do it.”
The anti-fragility and entrepreneurial mindset should be embedded at all levels of an organization, Aulet said.
“This is a mindset, skill set and way of operating that will be needed universally for the challenges we have, not just in startups around the world,” he said. “If we’re going to address climate change, if we’re going to address healthcare, if we’re going to address education, we can’t just have start-ups do it. We have to have large organizations that have infrastructure, balance sheets, other assets and a global presence to be able to address these big challenges.”