Just over 16 years ago, I began a journey that honestly didn’t have a destination. I certainly knew what direction to head in but had not given much thought to where I might find myself years later.
The impetus for doing this was simple. Having spent equal portions of my career in corporate and agency positions, I wanted to provide a personal level of counsel and service to organizations and brands to ensure they achieved the results needed at the value deserved. I knew there was an unmet need, and I set out to create a firm I myself would hire and stick with.
Through each plateau in the firm’s evolution – growing clients, managing and scaling growth, talent, expanded capabilities, expertise, and recognition – I learned invaluable lessons about entrepreneurship. Not just for me but for the many hundreds of people I’ve met, hired, worked with and coached along the way. I’ve boiled these characteristics into seven distinct traits defining entrepreneurialism.
What has become evident to me in building W2O Group is the characteristics shared here do not comprise one persona. Rather, individuals may exhibit one or more but rarely ever all at once.
As we constantly design W2O Group as a firm of the future, I’ve made it my personal quest to find and nurture these traits across our talent base matching talent and opportunity to form a beautiful mosaic.
One that features: Results without routine. Working environments without walls. Talent without confinement.
Here is my list of the seven characteristics of highly effective entrepreneurial people:
1. Fear is a Motivator You Don’t Fear.
Many people avoid things they don’t know because of fear. For the entrepreneurial person, fear (of being obsolete) is what drives you. To learn. To grow. To shed old ideas, bias. To Go.Ahead.
2. Yes Means Yes.
If you promise to do something it gets done. No excuses. Always do what you say what you will do.
3. You Choose to be in and Always Seize the Moment.
No need for motivation. No need for cajoling. You own the moment and make the best of it every day.
4. You Pick up the Trash . . . and See it as an Opportunity, Not a Burden.
This is personal to me. It’s a metaphor. When I started the firm, I picked up every piece paper I saw on the floor and now, 16 years later with a dozen offices and over 550 employees, I still do. And I notice when people do the same. It speaks of ownership. It speaks of respect. It speaks of attitude.
5. Thrive in Ambiguity.
No rule books. No instructions. You envision the reality you want and then make it happen.
6. No is Never No.
There is never a barrier or wall or reason Not to do something you believe in. Rejection, failure, disrespect, road blocks are your fuel.
7. You’re Never Done.
When everyone else has shut the laptop down or put the phone on mute, you are still running the play and thinking about what might still done or could have been better, quicker, simpler. When you think you’ve arrived, you might as well leave.
And, 16 years later, still going strong, the destination is no more clear than it was when I began. Maybe in the end, that is the ultimate characteristic of an entrepreneur!
Check out my slides from the National Summit on Strategic Communications below.