Entrepreneurial Spirit – How To Know If You Have It (Hint: You Do)

CoachHub · 14 December 2022 · 4 min read

Andreas von Bechtolsheim isn’t a household name, but in tech circles he’s legendary for founding, building and selling companies that have netted him billions. Serial entrepreneurs such as von Bechtolsheim and others you probably have heard of—Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs—have a knack for turning ideas into successful ventures. But the entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited to those itching to start new enterprises or launch paradigm-shifting products. It’s on display inside organisations every day.

What is entrepreneurial spirit?

In its simplest sense, entrepreneurial spirit is the desire for the new. It is the realm of the unsung hero. It is the ethos of innovators and the “work smarter, not harder” crew. Forbes calls it a mindset—a way of thinking about the world that leans toward making change happen rather than adapting to it after the fact. Entrepreneurial spirit may show up as the ability to dream big, inspire others and take risks. It may be less flamboyant, making itself known as resourcefulness, analytical thinking and a penchant for doing, not just talking. It may even be as simple as optimism and excitement about learning new things. However it shows up, companies are well-advised to harness it in their employees.

entrepreneurial spirit

How to hone one’s entrepreneurial spirit

Cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit not only improves one’s personal capital in the company—a jargon-y way of saying “get noticed for good reasons”—it can make work more intriguing by recasting day-to-day challenges as puzzles worth solving. Here are five ways to sharpen one’s entrepreneurial innovation chops:

  • Think like an owner – Change is inevitable. Companies that don’t adapt quickly enough risk going out of business. Smart owners know that good ideas don’t care where they come from. If this was your business, what would you do to make it successful beyond what is being done today?
  • Empower yourself – Don’t wait around for others to give you permission to try new things. This has to be tempered, of course, with common sense. Diving in and implementing a change without proper vetting can have unintended consequences. Empower yourself to question the status quo, put forth new ideas, get others on board and fight for what you believe in.
  • Develop stick-to-itiveness – Rare is the idea that reaches its full potential on the first try. Entrepreneurs are comfortable with the “fail fast” attitude prevalent in innovative cultures—or, as your parents may have put it, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Entrepreneurs are serial refiners. They put something out there and tinker with it until it’s successful (or sold to the highest bidder).
  • Be okay with small – Fresh ideas come in all sizes. The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited to the next grand thing. If an innovation seems daunting, break it down. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Even the smallest of changes can have a significant and meaningful impact.
  • Move beyond – Problems are easy to find if one goes looking for them. A “move beyond it” attitude brings curiosity into the mix, not simple observation. Why is there a problem? What is the solution? Does the problem lend itself to an opportunity? Entrepreneurial spirit, meaning entrepreneurial innovation, gets its start here.

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How companies can encourage entrepreneurship

The most successful companies know that they can’t thrive, much less survive, on the ideas of a handful of leaders. Thinking what has always been thought and doing what has always been done and is a going-out-of-business strategy. Building a culture that encourages new ideas—and more importantly, acts on them—is one way to nurture employees’ entrepreneurial spirit for the benefit of everyone. Rather than dwell on difficulties, coach employees to recognize and solve them. Rather than waiting for someone else to take the lead on an opportunity, give employees a mechanism for identifying and championing what intrigues them. And above all, follow through.

To encourage entrepreneurship, take employees on an EPICC adventure: Empower people. Promote growth. Implement ideas. Coach employees. Coach managers and leaders.

  • Empower people to take ownership – Encouraging people is one thing. Empowering them with tools, resources, processes, education and mentorship is another. Put rewards and recognition in the toolkit, tool. Make it easy to contribute and celebrate loudly when people do.
  • Promote a growth mindset – At the core of a growth mindset is the belief that skills and intelligence can be developed—they are not fixed. People’s capabilities aren’t endless, but they’re not wholly determined by genetic predisposition, either. Companies can foster a growth mindset through training programs, educational reimbursement, lateral opportunities, teaming, mentorships and coaching.
  • Implement innovation – The world isn’t lacking in good ideas. But seeing them through can be incredibly difficult. From the “we’ve always done it this way” tribe to the “don’t break it” fearmongers to the “get along to get along” laissez-faires, the path to implementation is fraught with roadblocks. And we haven’t even mentioned the lawyers and accountants yet. Implementation requires desire, determination and diligence in equal measure.
  • Coach employees to develop their entrepreneurial skillsDigital coaching enables companies to offer everyone access to professionals who know how to encourage the development of an entrepreneurial spirit and show people how to put their ideas into play effectively.
  • Coach managers to solicit and act on ideas – People can have all the entrepreneurial spirit they want, but if managers and leaders don’t know how to surface ideas, grab onto them and put them in motion then it’s all for naught. Professional coaches are adept at training leaders to champion entrepreneurship in the way that best benefits the company.

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In Conclusion

Nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit is one of life’s pleasures. On a personal level, it makes the days more intriguing and the possibilities more exciting. At the organisational level, it enables companies to take advantage of the best of all their employees and foster a sense of meaning and importance.

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CoachHub is a leading global talent development platform that enables organisations to create personalised, measurable and scalable coaching programmes for the entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organisations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 80 languages. Serving more than 1,000 clients worldwide, CoachHub’s innovative coaching programs are based on proprietary scientific research and development from its Innovation Lab. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB CapitalCoachHub is committed to creating a greener future.

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