Am I too Entrepreneurial For My Own Good?

If you work with transformations, the change of dynamics, and often unpredictable nature requires individuals and organizations to embody the entrepreneurial spirit fully. By embracing entrepreneurship, you enhance adaptability and cultivate a proactive and forward-thinking approach, essential elements for successfully steering and sustaining transformation. 

In expansive and frequently competitive corporate environments, individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit encounter various challenges. While being recognized for standing out and demonstrating initiative is generally applauded, achieving a delicate harmony becomes crucial, particularly within cultures that thrive on competition or are characterized by office politics. Having the speed and tendency of taking ownership has not always played in my favor, so I wanted to explore the intricacies of embodying an entrepreneurial mindset in a large corporation, considering potential pitfalls and the impact of corporate culture, politics, and opportunistic players.

Standing Out in the Crowd 

In a competitive corporate culture, standing out is a double-edged sword. While showcasing entrepreneurial skills is encouraged, it’s essential to be mindful of potential pitfalls. Colleagues and superiors may notice your proactive approach, but there’s a risk of becoming a target for additional responsibilities or political maneuvering. You might make others look bad if you’re too efficient or competent.

The Unintended Expert Dilemma

As you position yourself as an expert in your field, be aware that some corporate cultures may exploit this expertise without appropriate acknowledgment. Becoming the go-to person for various tasks can be rewarding, but it’s crucial to strike a balance between being a valuable contributor and avoiding exploitation. There’s also the other side: some cultures tend to undervalue the expertise you’ve gotten outside the company for fear of looking bad or incompetent. Be confident in your abilities and know your worth. If undervaluation continues to be a persistent issue, exploring opportunities in environments that appreciate and recognize your expertise might be worthwhile.

The Perils of Overcommitment

In competitive environments, the pressure to overcommit is palpable. While enthusiasm and speed are assets, overextending yourself can impact the quality of your work. Striking a balance between being helpful and managing your workload effectively and keeping a speed that is comfortable to you is vital. Your speed won’t be the speed of the corporation. You can still make speed records with your tasks, even if your surroundings would need more time to deliver. And remember! Sweet talking can sound nice for a while, but you should reconsider if it gives you many all-nighters in return.

Recognition without Exploitation

While entrepreneurial efforts may lead to recognition, it’s crucial to ensure that due credit and compensation follow. In competitive cultures, it’s common for individuals to exploit others’ contributions for personal gain. Be vigilant and advocate for yourself to avoid being taken advantage of. Dare to take credit for your work; even if the big crowds would not know the truth, make sure at least your leader does.

Learning to Say No

The competitive nature of some corporate cultures can make saying no a challenge. However, setting boundaries and effectively communicating your capacity is crucial. Recognize that being too accommodating might make you susceptible to political games, where others seek to gain from your entrepreneurial spirit.

Yes, yes, Richard Branson always guides us to say Yes to everything. Yes, but No 😉 Evaluate the take and the gain and then say Yes or No.

It’s also OK not to be corporate-compatible?

In large or small corporations, the entrepreneurial spirit is undeniably valuable. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that some individuals possess a natural inclination for entrepreneurship that may find more fertile ground outside the structured walls of a corporate environment.

For those with a drive to innovate, disrupt, and chart their own course, the confines of a large corporation may be limiting. Natural entrepreneurs, often fueled by a desire to create and shape their destinies, may find their true potential unleashed when building their own companies. The autonomy, risk-taking, and creative freedom inherent in entrepreneurship align more closely with their strengths.

At least get the attitude!

Like in everything you do, evaluate and check that the balance between giving and receiving is appropriate. While not everyone identifies and will or want to become an entrepreneur, each of us can and should adopt the attitude and mindset!