Take an entrepreneurial approach

by Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek

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in Best-Practices Leadership,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

When your organization becomes stuck in a rut, it steps back, makes adjustments, looks for opportunities and develops an action plan that takes advantage of its strengths, all while remaining true to its core values.

Now take a look in the mirror: Do you go through this same process and approach your business and your life with an entrepreneurial mindset?

We interviewed entrepreneurial leaders worldwide to discover the power of taking an entrepreneurial approach to every facet of life. It starts with asking yourself these four questions:
  1. Are you where you want to be and heading in the right direction?

  2. Are you creating the future you want to create?

  3. What would you be doing if you had all the resources you needed?

  4. Would it be different than what you’re doing now?
Example: By age 30, Bill George was president of Litton Microwave, growing the business from $10 million to $200 million. By 38, he became president of Honeywell’s European Division.

But, he recalls, “It was the worst promotion I got in my life. I looked at myself in the mirror one day and said ‘I am miserable.’ I thought I was changing Honeywell to make it more dynamic but realized it was changing me.”

So George left the Honeywell CEO track to join Medtronic, a much smaller company that fit his values and his entrepreneurial ambitions. At Medtronic, his leadership blossomed and the company took off.

“It was the place I was meant to be all along, but I was too blind to see it because I was chasing my own ego.”

By the time George stepped down as CEO, the company’s market capitalization had grown from $1 billion to more than $60 billion.

George had rediscovered his core identity and embraced it, both in his leadership role and his life. He went on to become a more involved father and husband, a best-selling author and budding social entrepreneur.

Lesson: Whether a leader is contemplating a new business line, looking to increase current performance, or trying to figure out the next chapter of life, there is much to be learned along the entrepreneurial path.

Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek are the authors of the new book, Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. They are founding partners of New Mountain Ventures, an entrepreneurial leadership development company.

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