Over the years I have met many entrepreneurs. Successful ones, ones that are just starting out, those that have retired, and every kind of entrepreneur you can think of in between. Even though they were all unique (and special in their own ways) they all did have something in common: They were all different in vaguely the same ways. It was always hard to put my finger on what, exactly, those distinguishing factors were but after attending Ryan Gottfredson’s talk on the mindsets necessary for entrepreneurial success I got my answer.
Ryan Gottfredson, Assistant Professor of Leadership at Cal State Fullerton and a leadership mindset consultant, gave a talk about the four mindsets necessary for entrepreneurial success at the CSUF Startup Incubator earlier this week. It was an extremely interesting and educational talk (you can view the PowerPoint here). Ryan’s work has led him to develop a detailed framework of the kinds of mindsets that all succesful entrepreneurs, more or less, have in common.
There’s much to Ryan’s talk, too much for a simple blog post, but the synopsis is that entrepreneurs tend to have these four mindsets:
- Growth (not fixed)
- Open (not closed)
- Promotion (not prevention)
- Outward (not inward)
Before unpacking each of those mindsets necessary for entrepreneurial success, here’s a video from Ryan’s site and, if you are interested in learning about your own mindsets, Ryan has a free personal mindset assessment on his website that you can take (you can click on the link earlier on in this sentence or you can text “MYMINDSETS” to 44222 to take the assessment).
This mindset is all about the capacity to change and, well, grow. If you are the kind of person who is always looking for ways to learn new things or have different kinds of experiences then you would fall into this category. People with a growth mindset are more likely to embrace challenges, work through failures, be willing to exert extra effort in order to accomplish something that they think is worth accomplishing. In other words, people with this kind of mindset don’t put limits on themselves and that tends to describe the entrepreneurs that I interact with.
Does learning something new or seeking out the opinions of others appeal to you? If you are that kind of person then you have an open mindset. People with this kind of mindset are more likely to seek feedback, see disagreements as a way to learn, ask questions, and are focused on finding the truth instead of being right. And it does make sense why this kind of mindset is important for any entrepreneur’s success; if you do not consider multiple perspectives or are not perceptive enough to understand changing situations then your business will be left in the dust.
While someone with a promotion mindset is focused on winning and gains the opposite mindset, prevention, is about a focus on not losing. People with a promotion mindset are focused on the destination and making progress towards it, embracing risks, focusing on what is important at a strategic level, and are generally goal-oriented types of people. Definitionally, entrepreneurs set the goals and work towards bringing them to fruition.
Outward mindset people “view others as people and value them as such”. Put another way, Ryan compared people with this kind of mindset to people who practice servant leadership, which is the kind of leadership where the person in charge sees their job as helping their “subordinates” do the work that they need to do. These people are supportive and, even more than that, champion the people who work for them.
There’s definitely more to learn here and if you would like to work with Ryan he does have a growing consulting business where he works with clients on strategies for implementing these positive mindsets into their everyday lives and their businesses; more info on how to get in touch with him can be found on his website at ryangottfredson.com.
For a full list of events at the CSUF Startup Incubator offices in Irvine and Placentia please go to bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents to see our full list of seminars and office hours available to the community for free.