This article briefly explores the concept of “the entrepreneurial mindset.” Drawing on the work of Tumi Frazier and Vlatka Hlupic, the article starts off by contextualising the phenomena where after it discusses the importance of, and method of developing, the entrepreneurial mindset.
In her 2015 article “The importance of developing an entrepreneurial mindset”, Tumi Frazier (2015) contextualises an entrepreneurial mindset as a specific state of mind which orientates human conduct towards entrepreneurial activities and outcomes. She furthers her argument by stating that individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets are often drawn to opportunities, innovation and new value creation (2015).
Furthermore, Frazier argues her case, by stating that education is critical in promoting entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours, because ultimately, mindset drives behaviour (2015).
Development of an entrepreneurial mindset
Frazier (2015) believes that individual characteristics such as a sense of inventiveness, the inborn need to succeed, tendency to risk, self-efficacy and flexibility are all necessary attributes for young people. This will allow for pioneering business start-ups, improved employability, and ultimately lead to a heightened role in civilisation.
Frazier (2015) continues that it is more than likely that scholars at universities are currently being trained for specific occupations, that will not exist twenty years from now. The careers that will exist then, have not yet been developed, says Frazier (2015). She is of the opinion that reforming our education system to the needs of the continuously altering global market, is fundamental. This will not only enable young people to cultivate creativity, but will lead to critical thinking, inquisitiveness and the skill to revolutionise (Frazier, 2015).
Vlatka Hlupic (2017) agrees with Frazier’s view on the development of the entrepreneurial mindset, however she build on this argument by stating that the development thereof should also be advanced within the working environment (Hlupic, 2017).
She reasons that the development of an entrepreneurial mindset is an important part of the puzzle, in the future of the work place, that does not only draw to new opportunities and challenges, but assists employees with risk taking, embracing change, taking persistent action, pursuing initiatives, focusing on what matters, and seeing the bigger picture (Hlupic, 2017).
Hlupic (2017) argues that large and small organizations, across the spectrum, need to nurture and develop an entrepreneurial mindset within their employees. This will allow for both the survival of an entrepreneurial culture and allow employees to adapt and thrive in unpredictable business circumstances. But how?
In Hlupic’s book The Management Shift, she argues that there are five (5) stages of mindset development. These levels are also referred to as “the levels of management maturity,” Hlupic (2017).
Level one (entrepreneurial thinking is almost non-existent)
As there is a lot of fear and blame present within this level, level one’s dominant mindset is 'dead', while the parallel organizational culture could be seen as 'uninterested'. Little gets done in the realms of this level, as individuals are too disheartened to do anything (Hlupic, 2017).
Level two (entrepreneurial thinking is accidental)
At the second level, the individual’s mindset is one of ‘reluctance’ while organization culture is 'stagnating'. Individuals do as little as they possibly can, just for financial reward (Hlupic, 2017).
Level three (entrepreneurial thinking is compliant)
Level three sees the individual's mindset to be ‘orderly’ and the organization’s culture to be ‘methodical’. In this level, the leadership style is based on the traditional model of authority and control. Employees are controlled and they do as they are told (Hlupic, 2017).
Levels 1, 2 and 3 correspond to the more traditional management practices (Hlupic, 2017).
Level four (entrepreneurial thinking becomes embedded in organizational culture)
An essential shift in performance, originality and commitment becomes eminent when a group of persons move to Level 4. Here the primary mindset amongst employees becomes 'passionate' and the organizational culture turn to 'cooperative'. Management start to lead by “letting go” as Hlupic puts it (2017). This does not only allow for authority and influence to be distributed, but it also results in strong teamwork while employees feel purposeful and energetic about their work (Hlupic, 2017).
Ultimately, the notion is to safeguard a team’s feeling of empowerment. This will open possibilities to new facilities, new technologies and new ways of working within a collaborative environment, to finally, help the customer (Hlupic, 2017).
Level five (entrepreneurial thinking is subconscious)
Personnel who do reach Level 4, can occasionally reach Level 5. This level lists the individual's mindset to be 'limitless' and the culture becomes ‘unbounded'. At this level anything seems possible to achieve and, as a result, unimaginable innovations start to emerge (Hlupic, 2017).
The importance of an entrepreneurial mindset is eminent. However, having an innovative operation doesn’t assure an entrepreneurial mindset. It is imperative that leadership has the ability to inspire performance through high levels of motivation and social intelligence. Therefore, the quality of leadership and management is the key to success. This can be best improved when the enterprise is understood as a living organism; a community based on relationships.
The success comes from the quality of management, mindset of leaders and employees, in order to create an organizational culture of an entrepreneurial mindset.
Frazier, T. 2015. The importance of developing an entrepreneurial mindset. [Online]. Available from Lionesses of Africa at http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/blog/2015/7/31/the-importance-of-developing-an-entrepreneurship-mindset. [2018, January 25].
Hlupic, V. 2017. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset. [Online]. Available from HR Magazine at http://hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/developing-an-entrepreneurial-mindset. [2018, January 25].