Apr 29, 2019, 12:15am
The “Startup Mindset” Advantage
- Entrepreneurs see uncertainty as an opportunity, not a disadvantage. For them, uncertainty means more control. Not less.
- “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Career changes are difficult. Especially if you find yourself switching between large and small organizations.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work at very small, very large as well as midsize corporations. And, no matter the size, I’ve found that the skill set that has helped me the most is what I call the “startup mindset.”
I described this in a recent TV interview. Many have reached out to me directly and asked that I expand. So, here it goes!
Photocredit: Getty GETTY
In my opinion, when choosing a new job, four things matter most: your boss, the job, what you think you can make of it, and last but not least: how you and your potential employer align vis-à-vis the below three values.
(If you’re considering a new job, I hope the below will help)
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Are you motivated by solving tough problems? Are you more excited or less excited when you’re presented with problems that many before you have failed to solve?
Ask yourself this question seriously and honestly. If your answer is ‘no’, don’t worry. Maybe it’s just a question of perspective. Let me explain.
Entrepreneurs are known for their unshakeable confidence in themselves and their tomorrow. They tend to think that uncertainty means they have ‘carte blanche’ on creating their future. Entrepreneurs see uncertainty as an opportunity, not a disadvantage. For them, uncertainty means more control. Not less.
Non-entrepreneurs need certainty. And if they don’t have it, they tend to either demand it from their boss, their organization or someone else that is “not them.” They see uncertainty as a lack of control.
Bottom Line: You may find my above descriptions extreme. You might think that the entrepreneurs you think of are delusional or arrogant. How in the world do they think they truly can control the future when the future is the result of coincidences and luck? To this, I would quote George Bernard Shaw, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Regardless the size of your organization, you’ll always be living in uncertainty. Embrace it. And embrace it now, for the only way to know your future is to start creating it.
Risk is Always Better than Regret GETTY
Often, with the fear of uncertainty comes a disturbing second effect: inaction or “non-committed” action. Indeed, if you don’t know what tomorrow is made of, why should you try anything today? It’s true. Depending on your industry, the market might drastically change tomorrow. Your company might need to restructure in order to adapt. The stock market might crash like it has many times in the past.
The startup mindset disregards “what could be.” It cares about “what is” and it acts on it now. It knows that things will most likely change. But it also knows that when they do, the only thing you’ll be able to look back at, is what you did. Not what you didn’t do because you were afraid of what might be .
The third value to assess when taking a new job connects well with the second one. During your interview, ask about the company’s systems and processes that describe your “span of control” (explicit and implicit).
Does your job entail getting approvals from a committee before you can launch a new project? Does the organization embrace innovation and the initiatives taken by its employees? Trust in employees’ intent is at the center of any good company culture.
Here is a quick tip: ask about your budgeting process. This might sound silly but let me give you an extreme and fictitious example. Say you find out that the CEO insists on approving any of your budget items over $50. What type of questions could you ask yourself next?
Let me give you a couple: 1) Why does the CEO have time to worry about such low expenses? Isn’t he focused on running the business, working with customers and the outside world? 2) Doesn’t he have people on his staff that he trusts would provide a system for reasonable expensing?!
Bruno Aziza Contributor
Bruno Aziza is a technology entrepreneur. He has focused on scaling businesses and turning them into global leaders. Bruno has helped lead startups, medium and large-… Read More
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CIO Central is a contributor page dedicated to IT trends and issues that impact business strategy. Areas of coverage include software, hardware, computing and outsourcin… Read More
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