Are you a global asset?

August 24th, 2014

Global experience is more important than education when it comes to succeeding in business, according to Anna Tavis, head of talent and development at Brown Brothers Harriman. If she is right, not only will the way global businesses are run change drastically, a different kind of people will be in charge. Devote 4 minutes to watching her explain her ideas to Harvard:

According to Anna Tavis, the requirements of today’s global market place has changed and the traditional success formula of education will no longer open up opportunities. It’s taken for granted that you are educated. But what else do you  have to offer?

Globalisation of talent

People looking for talent for global organisations are on the lookout for a different profile than in the past, she says and adds that they now recruit all over the world as opposed to only in the country their head office is located in. The same holds true for finding the next generation of leaders.

Will headhunters looking for global assets find you?

Will headhunters looking for global assets find you?

Head offices a thing of the past?

Speaking the local language and thoroughly understanding the culture of the market you work with is essential, if you wish to succeed in business around the world. And because of time differences the next generation of leaders will be spread around the world, as opposed to all working out of the head office.

This will initially put a lot of pressure on people in the head office. But there is no longer a need to have the entire top management in one location. We can work from anywhere in the world and provide the same kind of service, expertise and knowledge, with the added benefit of understanding the culture we work in, speak the language and  hence be better able to negotiate and succeed in business.

What do you think? Is she right that education is taken for granted and it’s your global experience that counts nowadays? Or do you believe it’s possible to understand how people on the other side of the world think, what drives and motivates them through education only? To what extent can you understand a culture you haven’t integrated in? Will having one head office gradually become a thing of the past? Is talent globalised? Will top management be spread around the world instead of in a head office? Are you better able to succeed in a country where you understand the culture? Or maybe you disagree with her and believe that the traditional reciepe for success i.e. education still holds? Or do you agree with her ideas and, if you are not already a global asset, will strive to become one?

Video: HarvardBusiness – You Tube

Be yourself – instead of – parroting

August 17th, 2014

Can’t help wondering why so many people on social media are just parroting others? Copying and pasting. And what’s worse that seems to account for part of what’s called creativity today.

A copy is never as good as the original. No parroting in the world will turn you into Marilyn Monroe. So be yourself.

What happened to creativity?

Have a section of humanity stopped being creative? Or is it just that too many people are lazy and hence just copy others? Don’t they realize that they will not impress the people they are trying to impress? Only ignorant people will buy what the parrots are doing. If you don’t have anything new to contribute, to say a discussion, don’t just re-write what someone else has already said. Coping and pasting from say, Harvard Business Review to make you look intellectual is not a great idea either. What’s wrong with saying that you agree or disagree?

Original ideas

If imitating others were just a social media phenomena it would be one thing. But unfortunately you have an abundance of people selling services online that haven’t got any ideas of their own. They just copy what others have done and charge for doing so. And we should not forget the copy and paste that’s becoming a problem in academia. A prominent European policician was caught having copied and pasted into his thesis.

But a copy is never as good as the original. No parroting in the world will change that. It may work short term but long term it will work against you. The European politician is a good example. He had to step down. Doubt that his future is as bright as it would have been if he hadn’t copied and pasted. Am sure he regrets what he did. But sincerely he should have thought through what he was doing before cheateing. Can’t help wondering if parrots, like him, have really stopped thinking for themselves?

One article I wrote was copied and pasted by a US woman who calls herself an expert on corporate communications. She has her own company and can be hired as a consultant. Sad that she has to steal content for her web site isn’t it?

Hard sell on social media

The amount of parroting on social media most likely boils down to people believing they have to sell themselves aggressively online. Can understand that to some degree. But don’t they understand that it’s obvious to others what they are doing? Am active on social media and almost every day someone re-writes what someone has already written to make it appear to be their new idea. One interesting phenomena are the people who are experts on all issues relating to all countries in the world, regardless of the fact that they have never even visited the countries in question. But copying and pasting they certainly know how to do. Nobody, including myself, knows everything so what’s the point in pretending you do? People only lose respect for you.

Current buzz words leader, expert, entrepreneurial & innovative

The fact that many people believe they have to portray themselves in what they consider to be the right way is a major reason for all the parroting. Wouldn’t it be much better to have an honest look at yourself and decide what your strengths are? If you are not say, innovative, describing yourself so will work against you since you will be found out. Read in The New York Times that 70% of high school graduates in the US believe they have more than average leadership skills. Only 2% considered themselves below average. Truly wish their assessments were correct, but unfortunately 70% of them are not leaders and will never be leading anything. If this applied to the United States only, i.e. approximately 5% of the world’s population, it wouldn’t be too bad. But unfortunately it applies to the remaining 95% of mankind as well.

Use social media to portray the real you

What’s wrong with having talents that are currently not in fashion? Whatever talents you have you can create a lucrative niche for yourself. Why does everyone feel they have to portray themselves as business tycoons? Looking at profiles on social media today you easily get the impression that the majority of people in this world are on par with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. It’s normal for children to imitate, but grown ups really should give up that habit.

Social media is a wonderful thing and I have met many fantastic people online, mainly thanks to my blog and Linkedin. If the parrots were just themselves and stopped pretending to be what they are not they would also start reaping positive benefits of social media. To start with they would gain respect. We are all unique and can contribute to society in different ways. That’s the beauty of humanity. Imagine how boring it would be if we were all parroting each other.

Photo: mseckington – Flickr

Crowdsourcing – the way of the future?

August 10th, 2014

Will R&D departments be replaced by crowdsourcing? Or at least partly? A problem solved is a problem halved, the old saying goes. But what happens when you share a problem with an abundance of people instead of just a few colleagues?

Somewhere out there is the person who can find the missing piece for you. Do you dare to use crowdsourcing to find that expert?

Research and development is usually regarded as top secret and fiercely guarded against prying eyes. However that seems to be changing a bit due to the increased use of crowdsourcing, which allows you to tap into a much wider pool of knowledge and specialist skills.

Reach out to experts you don’t know

The idea behind crowdsourcing is to harvest both internal and external knowledge to solve problems by reaching out to capable people outside your company and regular network. And more and more companies post challenges on web sites and offer a reward to anyone who can solve it.

Get some of the brainiest people in the world competing to solve your problem

A good exampel of such a web site is InnoCentive. It has a network of about 200,000 of the brainiest people in the world that will be able to look at your problem from an objective point of view. The rewards are substantial and to get $50,000 for solving a problem is normal.

A tool for industrial espionage?

Needless to say there are voices are raised against crowdsourcing in particular when it comes to security and the dangers of industrial espionage. InnoCentive believes it has solved that by being responsible for the IP process by making both the source that posts the problem and the sources that solve them anonymous to start with.

Money saver as well as new job market

Crowdsourcing is becoming increasingly popular and new sites are appearing on a continuous basis which seem to indicate that companies are increasingly regarding it as an efficient way of handling innovation. R&D is extremely expensive and by out sourcing, at least part of it, to freelancing scientists not only saves a lot of money but also give companies access to some of the best brains in the world. It’s also interesting to note that it is creating a new job market for the intelligentsia of the world where they can pick and chose what they want to work with.

Goldcorp struck gold

One good example is that of the Canadian mining company Goldcorp, which was struggling financially and unable to find gold on its land in northern Ontario.

When a new chief executive arrived he put all its geological data online, asked for help on where the gold was located and put up $500,000 in prize money for accurate suggestions.

“They got submissions from people all over the world, including people using 3D computer modelling techniques. They found $3bn worth of gold on the property and Goldcorp became one of Canada’s largest mining companies.”

Secrecy versus solutions

Where would Goldcorp be today if secrecy had been more important to them than solving the problem? Crowdsourcing actually enables small and medium sized companies, as well as individuals for that matter, to have an R&D department comprising some of the best brains in the world. With worms like Stuxnet around is it actually possible to keep anything secret nowadays? Unless of course you don’t in any way involve computers in R&D (you don’t even have to post it online for Stuxnet to get access to it).

Useful tool for governments?

And governments are starting to use it as well. It can be particularly useful when there are difficult decisions to be made, such as where the axe must fall in terms of cutting public spending. Critics on the other hand, say it has been proved that crowd sourcing for governments gets out of hand and becomes a tool for lobbyists.

Crowdsourcing in your personal life

Are you using crowdsourcing to solve your own problems? You can actually do so even as a private person. Networks such as Globe Forum allows you to post your problems to their global pool of networks and instantly have a team of experts collaborating to solve your challenge.

What are your feelings about crowdsourcing? Do you believe it’s the way of the future? Or is safety more important to you than a solution? Will crowdsourcing enable small and medium sized companies to better compete with the giants? Do you already use, or plan to use, crowdsourcing?

Photo: PhotoXpress Alexandr Shebanov

How many people live in shantytowns?

August 3rd, 2014

Even in the West, inequality and poverty are on the rise. Poverty has, in fact, reached the levels of 1933. Devote 4 minutes to watching Thomas Pogge, professor of Yale University, talking about the current international system that allows a large part of the world’s population to live in abject poverty:  

The great recession pushed millions of people into poverty, or worse, extreme poverty. Add to that the fact that people all over the world are moving into urban areas to seek their fortune and we have a danger of slums increasing tremendously. 

How do we keep them safe in urban areas?

There hence is a huge need to reduce vulnerability in urban settings. Half the world’s people now live in cities, a share that will rise to 70 percent by 2050.  

So what are we going to do to give more people in the world a decent life? If we don’t do anything the amount of people living in shantytowns will rise, everywhere. Or call them homeless, if you wish. 

Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz believes we are paying a high prize for inequality

Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz believes we are paying a high prize for inequality

Extreme poverty leads to crime – or worse

Countries with a lot of poverty easily gets trapped in crime or worse, become failed states. And I don’t need to tell you how easily failed states can follow in the steps of Afghanistan and Somalia, do I? Iraq and Syria are in the pipeline. So it’s in the interest of all of us to start eradicating poverty in the world. 

And let’s not forget poverty in the developed world

Frankly find it unbelievable that child poverty is on the increase even in a country like Sweden. And so is poverty in all age groups, for that matter. And the same applies to Europe as a whole and the United States Isn’t it, like Thomas Pogge put it, a crime against humanity? 

Do we really want a world where poverty is increasing and the middle classes are in decline? Just look at what has happened the last few decades in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Russia.

Negative for much of the world’s population

One hundred faculty members at University of Chicago wrote a letter of protest when university president Robert ZImmer announced the creation of a $200m Milton Friedman Institute stating that “The effects of the neoliberal global order … strongly buttressed by the Chicago School of Economics, have by no means been unequivocally positive. Many would argue that they have been negative for much of the world’s population.” Since the time when Reagan was president the Chicago boys have dominated not only Washington but the world, not least through the IMF. So isn’t it time to stop implementing policies that favour multinational companies at the expense of the majority of people?

Do you agree with Pogge that many of the people who support the current international system are like passive Germans during the Nazi era? Do we really want the world’s middle classes and poor to be worse off? Is it really a good idea to have more people across the globe living in shantytowns? Or being homeless? What’s your opinion? Is it time to put market fundamentalism aside and start stimulating economies in order to grow again and give more people a decent life? Or are you of the opinion that Friedman’s version of corporate capitalism is the way forward?

(Video: carnegiecouncil – You Tube, Picture: GovernmentZA )

Are successful leaders lucky?

July 27th, 2014

The Warren Buffetts and Bill Gates of this world are often described as just lucky. But is that really the secret behind their success?Watch Morten Hansen, management professor at UC Berkeley and Insead, describe the charachteristics of leaders that make their organisations thrive in times of chaos and uncertainty:

Hansen studied high performing leaders and what he found goes against what we commonly believe about successful leadership.

Bold & visionary leaders a thing of the past?

That’s the case according to Hansen. He brings up people like Bill Gates as prime examples of great leaders. Apparently Gates had no vision at all, in fact he was often wrong in his predictions.

Outstanding leaders instead create a future for their empirical trials. If the trials work out according to plan, they invest in the new idea. In other words, leadership is not about big bets but safe bets. Buffett is a prime example of such a leader which has led to an abundance of investors making fun of him and saying he had lost it.

We all have good & bad luck

Good and bad events happen to all people and in all organisations. They are out of your control and not expected. Good or bad luck is another way of describing it.

When comparing companies that are successful with companies that are not, Hansen’s study found that they had more or less the same amount of good and bad luck happening to them. So he concluded that success had nothing to do with luck.

Did luck make Warren Buffett a billionaire?

Did luck really make Warren Buffett a billionaire?

If not luck, then what?

What the study found was that the well performing leaders and companies had a higher return on the good luck they got because they seized the moment.

So how do you get higher return?

Successful leaders are prepared for bad luck, i.e. make sure that if worst comes to worst they know what to do.

They are prepared to seize the moment when good luck strikes. Bill Gates is a good example of that when he was still at Harvard but realised he couldn’t finish his studies because he had to seize the moment when it came to personal computers.

And the third point is to execute brilliantly when you have good luck. That’s how you get a higher return on luck.

Do you agree with Morten Hansen that luck has nothing to do with success? Are we great by choice? Should we, like Bill Gates, have nightmare memos to be prepared for the worst that can happen? Are you one hundred percent committed and focused on succeeding with what you are doing? Are you creative in an empirical way i.e. don’t make one big investment into a new area but spend years trying out a new concept and only when it shows that it’s a great idea do you take the risk of moving into that area. Do you seize the moment when good luck strikes? If so, according to Morten Hanson you are a great leader and not an average one.

Video: HarvardBusiness – You Tube – Photo: Aaron Friedman

Do you have a language strategy?

July 20th, 2014

Last week some on social media commented that several languages should be used for internal communication regarding my article about a multicultural group spread around the world. My experience however, is that you get far better result if you select one language to communicate in internally. Watch Tsedal Neeley, Harvard Business School assistant professor, explaining why every company needs a language strategy:

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It’s not for nothing the majority of multinational companies, regardless of origin, have selected English as their main language.​Presumably most of us agree that it’s important for a company to have one main language that it communicates in? Naturally employees in different countries don’t have to use it between themselves. But when communicating with other offices or in a project  with team members in different branches all over the world, strategic management is very much facilitated by using one language only. Communicating through interpreters is, in my opinion, a complicated way of working. Have thankfully only needed to do so in a handful of situations.

Do you have a language strategy? If so, which language do you use?

Do you have a language strategy to enable staff to communicate? If so, which language do you use?

Are languages human rights?

Don’t understand what companies communicating internally in one language has to do with human rights? In my opinion businesses should not have to take language endangerment and preservation into account. And certainly not be considered to violate human rights by using one language for internal communication. Language may have a role to play in human rights when it comes to asylum seekers and refugees. But to include businesses is really going to far. That’s not to say that businesses have a right to violate human rights in other ways. 

Native speakers of the company language however, need to use easy language, slow down and help co-workers improve their skills, in say, English. And managers have to make sure that happens. Provided that part is carried out very well, a language strategy will benefit non English speakers by enabling them to learn a new skill.

Should companies have a language strategy? Do you agree with Tsedal Neeley and myself that, at the moment, English is the logical choice but that Mandarin may be selected in the future? Or do you have another suggestion? Are you of the opinion that without a shared or common language efficiency in a company will suffer? Or do you agree with those who are of the opinion that it’s against human rights to make employees communicate in a language that’s not their native one? If so, should we use a multitude of languages and interpreters for internal communication?

(Video: HarvardBusiness – You Tube, Picture: World Economic Forum)

Can you lead multicultural groups spread around the world?

July 13th, 2014

Leadership can be challenging when you team consists of people of numerous nationalities and on top of it are in different locations all over the world. Devote 2 minutes to watching Anne Edmondson, Harvard Business School professor, outline her ideas on how to succeed:  

Geographically dispersed teams offer a lot of benefits – increased efficiency, cost savings, and enables you to choose team members with optimal skills, regardless of where in the world they are. Videoconferencing, intranet and email has already made that way of working an option that’s likely to become even more popular. Actually believe that’s how we will increasingly work in the future. 

To make a success of your global team, chose team players with the right characteristics and ensure that you have the best possible communication. 

Do you  understand what drives and motivates people from different cultures?

Do you understand what drives and motivates people from different cultures?

​What kind of team members should you chose?

They need to be self-motivated, have good communication skills, be result driven, open and honest.

It’s essential to unite all members around a common objective and communicate clearly and frequently.Set up goals and make sure bonding takes place between all of you. Giving assessment and reward performance is even more important when the members of your team are scattered around the world. 

People who need constant encouragement and attention to get the job done is a complication to be avoided. You simply cannot devote the time necessary to make such members perform that you would have been able to do if you were in the same office. For the same reason it’s also essential that all members of the team feel they can to come to you with problems and really unite around a common purpose. Everyone must have a desire to reach the team’s goals and clearly understand and be motivated by their roles and responsibilities.

Give frequent and fair feed-back to everyone and make yourself available to all members of your team. Can be a bit inconvenient sometimes due to time difference. Have many times had to get up extremely early, or stay up late, in order to talk to a team member on the other side of the world. But there is no avoiding it if you want your team to stay on track. 

Since you are not meeting on a daily basis it’s also important to visit them now and then to make sure they feel important. 

Don’t forget different cultures and values

Obviously it’s easier for those of us who have lived and worked all over the world. Provided of course that you integrated, understood the different cultures and what drives people from there. Am frequently surprised at how people, especially in the West, just presume that the way we think in say, the US or Sweden, applies to all of humanity. But you have to motivate all members of your team regardless of nationality so it’s essential to make sure you really understand what drives people from different cultures. 

Do you have experience in leading teams of different nationalities spread around the world? Did you find Anne Edmondson’s advice useful? Were you able to build trust when you were not meeting the team on a daily basis? Are you able to ensure that everyone feels they’re treated fairly, even if you see some team members much more than others? How do you avoid members of your team feeling isolated? What can you do to make all players feel part of the team’s objectives and perform according to plan? Which aspects do you find most challenging when your team is spread around the world? Do you believe diverse groups spread around the world will increasingly be the way we will work in the future? 

(Video: HarvardBusiness – You Tube Picture: World Economic Forum)

Public relations – how to make your business well known

July 6th, 2014

Without a clear strategy you will lose an abundance of opportunities of doing PR that will not come back, you will react too slowly and lessen the impact of what you are doing.

How do you get your business in the papers?

How to succeed with PR

To be able to swiftly react to news you really have to know what you are aiming for with your PR activities. What’s your target group? What’s your message? Who’s your spokesperson? What issues do you want to be associated with?

Whenever headline news is associated with what you do, contact media and make a statement. Journalists are keen to hear from companies involved in the sector.

Contact news agencies

Whenever there is news you would like to comment on call news agencies immediately and make a statement. The earlier you call the higher the likelihood of you being quoted.

Focus on developments in your area

What’s being debated in parliament? What events are taking place? Inform journalists about news in your company that are related to what’s going on and issues being debated. Don’t forget to give them background, facts and comments.

Scoops give opportunities

Whenever a newspaper has a scoop you can give them additional information and your points of view. Journalists will be keen to publish what you say since you prove that their scoop really was remarkable.

Take advantage of lack of headline news

When there is lack of news it’s easy to get an interesting story published. And getting your company in the papers during the weekends is not as difficult as during the week. It’s not for nothing that Wikileaks always release their documents on Fridays. Always be prepared to take advantage of not much happening in the world by having press releases and articles ready to submit. And make sure that spokespersons are available to comment.

Anniversaries and jubilees are good occasions

An easy way to start a press release is by stating something like “with our national day coming up…” and then going on to whatever it is you would like to get published. Volvo for instance got a lot of coverage by taking advantage of International Women’s Day by launching a car developed by and for women in connection with it.

Timing is key

Save your news until you need publicity, for instance because of fundraising or an IPO. A good example of that is how some fundraising organisations try to get as much publicity as they can at the end of the year which is the time when they raise funds.

Lobbying

If you want to impact decisions being taken you need to start lobbying long before the matter will be decided upon. For instance, if you are keen on being voted entrepreneur of the year it’s a good idea to start submitting articles to the opinion section of major newspapers just before the jury will meet to decide who will be the lucky one.

Avoid days when much is happening

The day the budget is released, war breaks out somewhere or someone famous is taken to hospital it’s a waste of time to try to get your press release published. It will not work for the simple reason that other more important events are taking place.

Forget about sending emails

Call the journalists. This is by far the most effective way to connect with media because they receive hundreds of emails every day. While everyone else is scared of getting a big no in their ear, having a bit of courage will get you further in the PR game.

The press release is dead. At least, the old press release where you e-blast news desks, reporters, and news-wires. While online media releases do serve SEO purposes and have track-able metrics, in a world of spam the last thing an editor wants is another generic email about the launch of something.

How are you handling your PR? Still sending press releases by email? Do you usually get your press releases published? Have you developed good relations with journalists in key papers? What strategies have you tried and which ones work for you? What suggestions do you have for companies trying to get more impact from their PR activities?

Photo: PhotoXpress – Christopher Hall

Get back in the saddle again!

June 29th, 2014

You can have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down, Mary Pickford once said and it’s so true. And only you can do it. If you wait for others to lift you up, not only will you be disappointed – you will stay down.

Get back in the saddle again and look at your problem in ways that will allow a solution.

Get back in the saddle again and look at your problem in ways that will allow a solution.

Now it’s time to make an effort and make sure your life and/or business benefits.

Are you brave?

Fear is hard to overcome. And so is taking huge risks. But frequently the choice is between a risky and adventurous life or a safe and boring life. Not sure about you, but I personally thrive on the former. If you would like to get out of a dull life you have to get the courage to move on. And it has to come from within you.

Opportunities disguised as problems

Being positive is crucial and to look at your problem in ways that will allow a solution. Maybe you have to look at possibilities you never considered before? But no matter what, it will be a question of persevering until you succeed, and not allow yourself to feel down. And don’t forget that we are often faced with great opportunities disguised as insoluble problems

Are you “problem friendly”?

How creative are you? Ever thought about the fact that creative people are “problem friendly”? Don’t get me wrong, nobody is delighted to deal with problems but now is the time for you to roll up your creative sleeves and find opportunities to improve your life. How? The solutions will be different for each of you. We all have problems that need to be solved every day. Even if it’s just that we got dirty and have to wash. There’s no running away from problems since everybody has them. If someone says they don’t, they are simply not telling the truth. So the important thing is to try to find solutions that will enrich your life.

Don’t discard your ideas

Don’t discard the ideas you have, value them instead and take the challenge of developing them. If you are creative you will be persistent and optimistic until you succeed. If you, or others around you, dismiss your ideas too early you will never get anywhere. Many of the ideas that I have had would in the beginning have appeared crazy to others, but nobody called them crazy after I succeeded. What would have happened if I had talked about them to early? Maybe criticism would have killed off my ideas? Be flexible as well. The fact that you are developing one idea doesn’t prevent you from working on other ones as well. In fact, I think you should work on several possibilities at the moment because so much is changing in our world. Covering your back is always a good idea. Have noticed that when I don’t, things go wrong. Still stuck in the rut? How about re-framing your situation by looking at it from different angles? It has the power to change your entire perception of the problem and finding new solutions.

And always, always remember that the only thing that’s certain in life is that everything is uncertain. That’s a fundamental fact of life and you have to get the strength from within to handle it, because whatever happens to you in life, it’s up to you how you perceive it. Positive or negative? Your choice. Or as Lincoln once put it “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves”. Remember that failure happens on the road to success, which may be just a step away.

(Photo: Photo Xpress)

Entrepreneurship – do genes play a part?

June 22nd, 2014

Why are some of us entrepreneurs and others not? Is it only the environment we grow up in that matters or do our genes have a part to play as well?

Professor Scott Shane of Case Western Reserve University, is one scientist who claims that people with parents with certain genetic components are more likely to become entrepreneurs.

To what extent do genes matter?

In his genetic research on identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, and fraternal twins, who share 50 percent of their genes, professor Shane concluded that identical twins were more likely to share the genetic factors that enable entrepreneurship. His conclusion is that 30-40% of entrepreneurship is inherited.

“But even when a person has the entrepreneurial innate makeup that makes him/her more likely to be an entrepreneur, genes interact with environmental stimuli”, professor Shane says.

Combination of nature & environment

In other words having proved that genes play a part it is still difficult to determine to what extent they shape an individual to become an entrepreneur. Without the right environment the same person may not have become an entrepreneur? Growing up in an atmosphere adverse to risk taking, creativity and innovation the same person would probably never have become an entrepreneur.

Childhood influences

My father was an entrepreneur and I don’t know how many times my mother told me I’m just like him. But if they had raised me to believe new opportunities and developing projects was wrong would I still have had the mind of an entrepreneur? Or even worse if they had discouraged curiosity, vision and persistence.

According to Professor Shane genetic factors raise the odds of a person becoming an entrepreneur but environmental factors are more crucial, and I tend to agree with him. Not least since we are able to impact what and who we surround ourselves with. It is up to us to determine our future, regardless of what genes we have inherited. Entrepreneurial genes facilitate, but unless we really make an effort and are persistent we will never succeed no matter how excellent our genes are.

The difference between having an entrepreneurial mind and carrying out entrepreneurial activity

Anyone can learn how to carry out entrepreneurial activity.  But how do you learn to have an entrepreneurial mind? Is it really possible to learn to risk everything you have in order to achieve something you passionately believe in? Because that’s what having an entrepreneurial mind entails. One headhunter I know once said to me that when someone tells them he is an entrepreneur he asks him if he is prepared to risk losing his house and everything he ownes in order to succeed? If the answer is no, which it is in most cases, he hasn’t got an entrepreneurial mind but is carrying out entrepreneurial activity which is different.

What your opinion? Do our genes have a part to play or can we learn to develop an entrepreneurial mind anyway? Learn to have the strength and courage to take risks which is crucial for an entrepreneur. What role do our genes play in this? Does a person need to be programed genetically to have the strength and courage to risk everything they have?

Photo: Flickr – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory