What Makes An Entrepreneur ?

The burning question today when businesses are faced with the need for change and innovation is how they can get in touch with their entrepreneurial instinct. The rewards for doing so can be enormous. It can transform a business if it can be identified and harnessed. 

A recent study consisting of in depth interviews with 30 entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes found six primary characteristics of the entrepreneurial instinct. So what are they? 


The first is a burning desire for independence. The need to be special and unique is a driving force of the entrepreneurial instinct. Any company wanting to get more entrepreneurial has to be prepared to accentuate its differences and peculiarities. In other words it has to accentuate its individuality. 


The second characteristic concerns the passion that emerges from the personal vulnerability of the entrepreneur. Some entrepreneurs have an inner voice that tells them they will never amount to anything. But regardless of who put this idea into their minds, these people are not the retiring types who take rebuke passively; they are the defiant ones who deal with it creatively through action. 

The few companies that survive adolescence with their original creative spirit intact are those who succeed in positively channelling their entrepreneurial passion rather than suppressing it. 


Dogged determination and irrepressible energy is the third characteristic. It’s something within a person that compels them to find better ways of doing things. The fat lady never sings for the entrepreneurial company. 


The fourth characteristic is creativity. Entrepreneurs are creative people who bring something into being out of nothing. It’s not so much the idea that matters to the entrepreneur; the important thing is to bring it into existence. Whereas bureaucratic companies tend to be old, slow and reactive, entrepreneurial companies are young, energetic and creative. 


The adrenaline of entrepreneurial companies establishes a rhythm of perpetual motion. This is the fifth characteristic. Usually you have to have a crisis to refocus a business. The belief, energy, enthusiasm and persistence to find new solutions and follow through to get the required result are key attributes of the entrepreneur. 

Entrepreneurial companies live on adrenaline; mature companies crave certainty and want to control their environment. Entrepreneurial companies not only go with the flow; they thrive on the excitement of it all. 


The sixth characteristic concerns femininity. There’s a trend led in part by female entrepreneurs towards a more collaborative and feminine model of business that places emphasise on relationships and “soft” values. The personal nature of relationships between all individuals is evident in entrepreneurial companies. Mutual respect, the mutual caring, genuine caring is all around. This doesn’t imply that everyone is best friends, of course not. It is a commercial relationship, but there is a blurring that goes on that is very real and very mutual. 

These companies don’t do anything intentionally to annoy, irritate or upset the person over there because they have respect for them and that’s all about personal relationships. Those companies that are in touch with their entrepreneurial instinct are often in touch with their feminine side. Those that aren’t will find that they need to develop it. 

Uniqueness, passion, energy, creativity, rhythm and femininity: these are the distinguishing qualities of the entrepreneurial instinct. These are the dimensions that companies need to address if they want to get more entrepreneurial. 

At LMI  in the UK we develop and encourage these entrepreneurial instincts through the whole range of our programmes at the heart of which is goal setting, self motivation and self confidence, sustained by curiosity, flexibility, adaptability, optimism and a winning attitude.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning

Succession Planning

 A Very Long View

A. G. Lafley, the respected past Chairman and CEO of Proctor and Gamble, after taking over in 2000 made a strategic decision to focus on building an internal leadership pipeline that  produced numerous CEO candidates. He elevated leadership development to the same level of importance as business strategy.

On the other hand there are numerous examples of businesses – whether for profit or not for profit – which have unravelled dramatically when the CEO goes and succession has not been thoroughly planned. For example Hewlett-Packard in just over ten years to 2010 made three appointments of CEOs. The failure of their CEOs and Board to put in place a process to address succession cost them dearly.

What is true in business is also true for the wider economy and national well-being. The stronger the focus on bringing on the next generation in such a way that they have the skills and ability to generate prosperity in their time is vital for us all.

Since this subject of forming the next generation for success has so many angles, I will look at some specific skills we can give our young people in their teenage and early adulthood years that will mean they will succeed.

Love the Drive

When we drive ourselves to perform better than we ever thought we could, when our focus is on achieving and increasing personal excellence, we manage pressure better. We need to foster a drive for high performance in our young people and teach the life skill of concentrating on what they can control; that is, their own performance .Once these skills are practiced and become habit we can prepare young people to persevere in high stress situations.  Learning to love the pressure is a tremendously valuable lesson to learn.

Develop a Pre-occupation with the Long Term

The demands , deadlines and pressures which we have to meet tend to force us to get so pre-occupied with the present that we go through life doing the next thing and filling out our day without much sense of real achievement, our lists and goals become purely short term. How many times have you heard of a university graduate who doesn’t know what they will do once they finish or those who gain a place at university only to ‘find out’ as early as two weeks into the course that the subject is not for them? They have only thought short term – onto the next thing.

There is real benefit therefore in developing a focus on long-term goals and becoming increasingly preoccupied with long-range aspirations. Jonny Wilkinson, the famous English professional rugby union player at the age of seven had a goal, “I want to play for England, that’s all I want” Short term goals are important but only against the backdrop of long term goals. The trick is for the next generation to learn that long term success is the result of many small shorter term achievements. Short term goals are important in that they map out specific areas which can affect performance and make possible the achievement of the ultimate goal. The value of imparting the skill of goal setting and integrating long, medium and short term goals is an enormously valuable life skill. If the succeeding generation can use the power which comes through goal setting they will go on to achieve significantly more in life than they could achieve without goals. This has been proved by a number of academic studies.

Making Champions

The LMI Making of a Champion programme for high performance living is geared to students and adults from 14 years old and upwards.

It provides an inspirational and motivational structure that will allow young people to think through what they really want to do, be and have in the future. It provides a consistent message of the power of goal setting and imparts that very powerful life skill – goal setting.

The programmes are geared to develop self-confidence as the participants explore a life full of possibilities, a future holding more for them than perhaps they had realised. The outcome we are looking for is for today’s young people to develop the mind-set that will set them apart in the race of life ahead for them. A succeeding generation set up for high levels of personal achievement and success is a worthy and exciting ambition.

What To Look For In A Business Leader At Senior Level

  • Broad perspective and vision of changing business requirements driven by customers needs and competition


  • Able to influence and collaborate with Senior managers and Directors and Client representatives at all levels.


  • Able to communicate a compelling vision that inspires others, generates enthusiasm and commitment. 


  • Provide others with a clear sense of purpose and direction, stimulating a productive team climate where members participate and feel involved. 


  • Changing prevailing processes, values and culture to one where business results orientation is paramount and reward those who model desired behaviours and achieve results, impacting on business success. 


  • Underpin future of organisation by achieving overall strategic intent in light of competition and changing social and business environment. 


  • Puts case across with impact and conviction whilst presenting facts clearly and logically. 


  • Provides feedback and encourages others to contribute ideas and opinions. 


  • Able to maintain a balance between driving people and releasing their own potential. 


  • Maintaining a balance between common sense and logical thinking whilst introducing abstract ideas into the organisation. 


  • Projects strong sense of confidence in ability to handle difficult situations and achieve results.


  • Courage, perseverance and energy in overcoming obstacles.


10 Ways to Build Trust with Employees

TeamBy Michael Levy

Successful leaders develop relationships with their team based on trust. Employees, when they feel trusted, supported and engaged, will give special effort to leaders they trust. Because the opposite is also true: employees rarely excel under the punitive thumb of someone they do not trust and who they feel does not trust them.

A lack of trust affects morale, personal and customer satisfaction, as the employees shift energy and focus from working on real issues that positively impact their company and its customers, to the resentment and dissatisfaction they hold towards management.

Here are 10 ways to build trust:

1) Establish and Maintain Honesty and Integrity

Honesty and integrity are the foundations of trust in any organisation, and they must begin at the top. Leading by example, management must demonstrate and instil honesty and integrity throughout the organisation.

Managers must be consistently truthful, regardless of circumstances. Share good and bad news openly. Eliminate gossip and diffuse inappropriate politics. Great managers know that they are not perfect and they make mistakes. Better to admit them rather than ignore them or cover them up.

Leaders demonstrate moral, strong values, methods, and principles. They do what you say they will do and make their actions visible. Team members quickly pick up on insincerity and broken promises.

2) Establish Strong Business Ethics

Managers need to set the moral tone for the work place. Teams with common ethics are healthier, more productive, adaptable, responsive, and resourceful because they are united under one common value set. High standards will never harm the relationships you have with employees.

3) Communicate Vision and Values

Communication is important, since it provides the artery for information and truth. By communicating the organisation’s vision, management defines where it’s going. By communicating its values, it establishes the methods for getting there.

4) Communicate Effectively

Managers who communicate openly and frequently, build relationship and trust. A lack of interaction erodes trust. Face to face interaction is the best method to build trust.

5) To Get Trust You Need to Give Trust

It is important for a manager to create an environment of trust. This begins by trusting others. It is more effective to assume employees are trustworthy unless they prove otherwise rather than waiting to give trust when they haven’t earned it. As team members come to feel they are trusted by their manager, they will find it easier to trust in return.

6) Keep Interactions Consistent and Predictable from the Beginning

Building trust is a process – which starts with the initial actions of the manager, establishing norms and expectations. Trust results from consistent and predictable interaction over time.

7) Be Accessible and Responsive

Find ways to be regularly available to team members. When interacting, be responsive. Be action rather than talk oriented. Don’t just think about taking action – do it.

8) Maintain Confidences.

Team members need to be able to express concerns, identify problems, share sensitive information, and surface relevant issues. It is important early on to get agreement as to how confidential data will be handled.

9) Watch your Language

It is important that a manager’s language does not imply “us” or “them”. Terminology should be easy to understand. Leaders should stick with business language, rather than strong or vulgar language.

10) Create Social time for the Team

A lot of trust and confidence is built through informal social interaction. Successful managers ensure that social opportunities happen regularly.

Building trust with employees is critical for creating an effective team that works well together. Taking time to build trust will reap benefits for managers that make the effort.

Opposing Leadership Virtues

Leadership is commonly understood in terms of balancing two basic dualities.

Strategic versus operational leadership defines the “what” of a leader’s work.

Are you positioning your company to be competitive down the road and driving to produce results now? Forceful versus enabling leadership has to do with the “how”. Can you take the lead and make room for other people to contribute? 


Strategic                                                      v                      Operational

Positioning the organisation                                          Focusing the organisation on

for the future                                                                         short – term results


Plans ahead                                               v                      Focuses on results

Takes the long view and has                                           Manages day to day details of

a big – picture perspective                                             of implementation


Pursues growth                                       v                   Maximises efficiency

Seeks ways to grow the business                                  Conserves resources by cutting

and expand capabilities.                                                  costs and being selective about  priorities


Promotes innovation                          v                    Maintains order

Questions the status quo and                                         Gets things done using procedures

encourages new thinking                                                  and processes discipline.




Forceful                                                         v                      Enabling

Exercising influence on the basis                                   Creating conditions for other

of one’s own intellect and energy                                   people to contribute


Takes charge                                              v                     Empowers

Takes initiative, gives direction                                      Gives other people latitude to do

                                                                                                      their jobs


Declares /decides                                   v                      Listens /includes

Takes a position and defends it                                       Seeks input, is open to influence


Pushes                                                            v                      Supports

Sets high expectations and holds                                   Shows appreciation and sensitivity

people accountable