The 6 Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mindset

SEPTEMBER 03, 2015
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA
Doctors have the potential to make great entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, I've observed that only about 1% have an entrepreneurial mindset, which is less than the entrepreneurial attitudes of 4% of the general population. An entrepreneurial mindset describes a state of mind that pursues opportunity with scarce resources with the goal of creating user defined value through the creation, development and deployment of creative ideas or innovation.

These days, almost every week there is an event where companies are pitching their ideas to investors or potential strategic partners. Invariably, there are few white coats in the room. Rather, about slide No. 7 of the pitch deck, a photo of a doctor who is a key opinion leader and chairman of the company's scientific advisory board pops up on the screen like a remote phantom lending credibility to the pitch.

Attitudes and motivation
are what separate someone with an entrepreneurial mindset from another. Some have described the Innovator's DNA.  Others note characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset:

1. Personal growth relates to the size of the challenge, not the size of the kingdom. What motivates real innovators is the more exciting challenge, not the number of people reporting to them. The “size of the difference” they will make is more inspiring than the “size of the business.” They relish getting out of their comfort zone, and into the unknown.

2. The new direction is the challenge, not the destination. The challenge is the transformation vehicle for true innovators, and not a performance goal. They focus on legacy creation, not legacy protection. They ignore failures and are constantly looking at the progress made. They treat innovations reviews like performance reviews.

3. Be an attacker of forces holding people back, not a defender. Real innovators start by questioning the world order rather than conforming to it. They begin by confronting the forces holding everyone back, rather than living with it. The forces include mindset gravity, organization gravity, industry gravity, country gravity, and cultural gravity.

4. New insights come from a quest for questions, not a quest for answers. This discovery mindset searching for new questions drives real innovators away from more of the same. They fundamentally become value seekers; they look for value in every experience, in every conversation. They don’t seek prescriptions, they seek possibilities.

5. Stakeholders must be connected into the new reality, not convinced. True innovators tip stakeholders into adopting and even co-owning the orbit-shifting idea. They go about tipping the heart first, assuming the mind will follow. They seek smart people, who openly express their doubts, and then collaborate to overcome them.

6. Work from the challenge backward, rather than capability forward. Overcoming execution obstacles is combating dilution, not compromising, for these innovators. Their mindset is not “if-then” but “how and how else?” They convert problems to opportunities, and often the original idea grows far bigger than the starting promise

Why don't more doctors have an entrepreneurial mindset?



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