Discovering what it really takes to “own” your future

Much has been written about entrepreneurs and their indelible mark made on business and history. As someone who created and built a firm, I’ve often thought about – as we’ve scaled the organization – how I can nurture and cultivate the drive and spirit of entrepreneurialism that ignites value creation and growth. The answer hasn’t always been clear or even coherent over the years, but I’ve certainly begun to see a pattern emerge. In effect, what should an entrepreneur look for in talent that signifies an entrepreneurial bent that should be recognized and developed?

Of course, any organization must possess a cacophony of voices and attitudes to succeed. But in today’s incredibly volatile marketplace, which demands a high level of curiosity, quality and analysis, increasing the number of people who think, act and share like owners or entrepreneurs is a priority.

After much observation and years of experience, I’ve discovered that the number one characteristic of an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur rests with one crucial technique: Decision-making. Making decisions decisively and deliberating to produce results.

If there is one thing that entrepreneurs such as myself act on without much debate, it is making decisions. No committees, little debate, strong facts and confidence in making it all work.

Entrepreneurs all share a common mindset. At W2O, that mindset is shaped by the following:

Be the Best – Everything starts with showing up for clients the best we can. Every interaction, deliverable, meeting and idea must deliver results.

Analytics – The core of our firm is based on precision insights off of in-depth analysis. Entrepreneurs capture information to inform decisions.

Agility – Moving with speed, determination and confidence and accelerating decision-make so the firm can move ahead is essential.

Collaboration  Entrepreneurs are often misjudged as being loners in terms of their thoughts. In reality, entrepreneurs relish multiple inputs and ideas to ensure the best approach.

Relentless Optimism  An entrepreneur’s entrepreneur only sees the opportunity and the potential ahead.

Purpose – As with anything worth pursuing, believing in a core purpose or reason to be is essential. At our firm, our mission is to make the world a healthier place through marketing communications.

Picking up Paper  One of the most impressionable experiences in my career was when I found myself picking up paper from the floor at work after a number of colleagues ignored it. This continued through the formative years at W2O and continues today. This became a metaphor for how to act like an owner. There is no task beneath us.

No Walls  Making things happen, which is the mark of a successful entrepreneur, is tantamount to moving seamlessly throughout the organization to deliver results for  clients.

There is something about an entrepreneur that is fundamentally different from anybody else. We play by different rules and never operate in boxes. Our goal is clear: make decisions so the business can move and innovate quickly and with confidence.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve found that this has served me and the firm well as we’ve grown and evolved. Finding that next generation of entrepreneurs working alongside our talented people will determine our forward trajectory.

In summary, we can never forget that performance always counts. Regardless whether you are an entrepreneurial thinker or a highly productive professional, behavior makes it happen.

The entrepreneur’s entrepreneur is actually someone with a heightened sense of responsibility and accountability.


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