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STRONG SUIT: DNA of a high potential entrepreneur

Dennis Strong

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With all the talk espousing the development of entrepreneurs as a “silver bullet” to rescue our stricken economy, I wonder how many of us can objectively identify the characteristics of persons likely to succeed as entrepreneurs?
 If you were interviewing candidates for the hypothetical position of entrepreneur, what criteria would you use to assess and compare them? If you were contemplating whether or not to make a conscious commitment to entrepreneurship, how would you know if that is a realistic pursuit?
For the purpose of this article, I will share insights gleaned from a book called Talent, written by Professor Peter Saville and Tom Hopton.
 Peter is a friend and colleague who is a renowned industrial psychologist and International Chairman of Saville Consulting. I must disclose that my firm, 3Si, is a strategic partner with Saville Consulting and makes extensive use of the tools and concepts referenced in this article.
Professor Saville collaborated with Professor David Hall to link Saville’s Wave Professional Styles psychometric assessments to Hall’s Model of Entrepreneurial Potential; Entrecode® to highlight six major areas considered “integral to the performance of entrepreneurs.”
These are the areas:
1. Getting in the zone: the optimal state of mind to create success. This includes achievement drive expressed as the commitment to succeeding and achieving results; creating a compelling vision of the future; expending the energy necessary to make things happen; and being action-oriented.
2. Seeing possibilities: the unique ways in which entrepreneurs view the world, take in information and create insights. This includes being focused on the big picture and how it is affected; consideration of various approach options; and the confident use of one’s intuition and experience to make decisions and judgements.
3. Creating superior opportunities: identifying client problems that need to be solved and levering solutions to transform business results. This includes actively seeking to understand problems, being skilful at integrating information to come up with new approaches; coming up with commercially viable solutions that lead to new business opportunities and a focus on delivering customer satisfaction.
4. Staying the zone: prioritizing, sequencing and focusing energy on a very specific target. This includes maintaining a focus on clear priorities and minimizing distractions; keeping a positive mindset and being able to adapt when change is necessary; being self-determinant to the extent you can comfortably make decisions that affect your destiny; and having the persistence to see things through while recovering quickly from setbacks.
5. Opening up to the world: building networks, and forming relationships to enable the business to develop. This includes having the passion to explain ideas and opinions in a persuasive and inspiring manner; purposely building and sustaining networks that are good for business; having the skill to negotiate, generate sales and establish strong commercial partnerships.
6. Building capability: focusing efforts on building the capacity of the business. This includes the desire and ability to build and motivate teams; a willingness to learn from experiences; and a commitment to maintaining high performance standards and to continuous improvement.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs have some of these areas that are not suited to their motivation and talent. Where are you in these crucial areas? This simply gives us a tool to assess ourselves and those upon whom we may depend.
• Dennis Strong is founding president at the Caribbean Institute  of Certified Management Consultants.