Five years ago, he spoke at the University of Michigan on the theme of entrepreneurship. Whether you’ve founded a company, lead a company, or have dreams of starting your own business one day, you will find his observations thought-provoking and relevant.Entrepreneurs have a sense of urgency. They believe the world they go to sleep in may not be the world they wake up to the next morning. This drives flexibility, action, and continuous change.
They are open, creative, and curious. They are conscientious: discipline, drive, and determination are in their DNA. They live by the adage “do what you love”.
Gladwell also described entrepreneurs as disagreeable. They don’t seek or need the approval of their peers. They have the resilience to see ideas through, even in the face of social disapproval and disbelief from others.
Gladwell’s examples included only male leaders. At the end of his presentation, a female undergraduate student asked if it is possible for a woman to be “disagreeable” and still be viewed positively.
The response was, “Male or female, if the entrepreneur has a passion for an idea, treats her employees with respect, and shows the courageous, confident leadership ability to solve complex problems that arise in making the idea a reality, then the entrepreneur has unleashed the full power of the entire team and raised the odds of success. You don’t need to be disagreeable. Entrepreneurs need to pursue their passion in the face of negativity and not seek peer approval.”
Women entrepreneurs are sometimes viewed as aggressive. It’s taken a long time for bankers to take them seriously and for employees to treat them with the same respect afforded their male counterparts. But today, women are responsible for the majority of small business start-ups. The number of women in MBA programs has risen from 5% in 2013 to 39% in 2019. They are taking their passion and grit and creating their place in the boardroom.
Saturday, August 21st is World Entrepreneurship Day. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, every person has the potential to make a difference.
The road is easier together,