Monthly Archives: November 2014

Who grows up to be an employee and who an entrepreneur?

At TalentEase we work with children and young adults on leadership skills and values. We recently played a game on decision making where the children had to hit a target from a fixed distance. To give the challenge a twist, I told them that I’d double the points of anybody willing to go to the end of the room and still try to hit the target. Or, they could still choose to stand at the safer distance and get the more certain, but lower points. Only one child in the whole group chose to go to the end of the room and give the riskier distance a try.

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Do our schools snuff out the risk-taking ability that most children naturally have? What could we do to build more entrepreneurs and more entrepreneurial employees? What can companies do to encourage calculated risk-taking that does not ‘bet the farm’ but stretches teams and organizations to ‘possibilities’ instead of just ‘predictable projections’. Here are 5 practical things we encourage schools and parents to try, to keep the entrepreneurial goblin alive and kicking.

  1. Failure isn’t bad. Learn from it and its a stepping stone to success. Too many times children and young adults ( as with us older adults) are conditioned to see failure as bad for them.So they stay within safe but unchallenging choices.My favourite opening line from a book says it best “Life is difficult”. ( Scott M Peck’s – The Road Less Traveled). The sooner today’s children accept the truth of that, the more chance they will grow to be adults who will not shy away from difficult but higher growth choices.
  2. Don’t just focus on the right answers. Learn to ask smart questions.Drones for delivery anyone?
  3. Try a different ending. A problem to solution chain, a story, a case study – what would a different ending have looked like?

4.Often ask “Why not?” ( I know this might not make us favourites with parents and teachers but then how else are we going to get more Flipkarts and Googles)

5.Experiment. The Silicon Valley mantra of “fail fast and fail cheap” should serve as the fuel for rough-and-tumble activity based projects rather than the safe theoretical stuff. I was chatting with an engineering student yesterday who does some freelance coding and he happily admitted that what he learnt in the classroom was years behind what he did in the evenings in terms of real-world work.

What are your 5 tips at work for creating and nurturing an entrepreneurial culture?

 

Leo Fernandez

Co-Founder and CEO, TalentEase