Entrepreneurship as a creative process can be expanded to include not-for-profit organizations as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of inventors and adventurers who explore and tinker and may never make “good” on the time spent investigating the new and untested. Yet, they move knowledge forward for others to breakthrough. This was true to all who tinkered with flight to get air born for more than three centuries. The theory of flight was known for hundreds of years, yet it took the invention of the small gasoline engine to actually create our modern airplanes. These winning combinations are what entrepreneurs look for to make changes to the existing status quo. Others may resist the changes that the entrepreneur seeks and see them as unconventional and odd.
Personality and behavioral traits common to entrepreneurs include: confidence, determination, restlessness and boredom with conventional ways due to a need for new challenges. High energy and tolerance for uncertainty coupled with a scanning approach to monitor changes inside and outside of an organization make them good problem solvers. Finally, the desire to “do it my way” optimizes the free spirit of the entrepreneurial personality. Psychologists also point to an inner drive that they call an internal locus of control – someone who believes they are in charge of their own destiny – that keeps this type of personality focused and determined to succeed.
The opposite of an internal locus of control person are the external locus of control people – those who believe that fate or others control their destiny. These are the status quo people who are cautious to not “rock the boat.” They, on the other hand, work to maintain order, even if in discontent.
The free spirit of entrepreneurship is needed in a free society to innovate and make changes as the world changes and opportunities surface. Yet, personalities may clash between those who want to innovate and others who resist change – at all levels of society. Fragmentation and polarizations happens in the home, at for profit or nonprofit organizations and in government entities if differences in thinking and outlook are not understood, discussed and appreciated to resolve the struggle between old and new.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is the American spirit. It is the base of our culture and our success as a nation. Let’s keep it alive and rekindle it as needed by collaborating with our diversely talented people in business, and all areas of our lives.
Lucia Worthington is the faculty advisor to the Entrepreneurship Club at Clark College and teaches a broad range of college level business and management courses. She can be reached at: email@example.com.