The ability to start new businesses, especially start-ups based on innovative elements, requires the continuous learning and development of these skills (EU principle of life long learning). This is a necessary approach to be able to continuously build and develop our projects. Just as it is not enough that the business plan prepared at the beginning does not hold up to the constant changes and challenges, so in self-development and self-learning, the entrepreneur needs something more if he wants to be successful.
Every day we add new knowledge to our “baggage”, but it is important to have the best soft skills from the starting point that will help us develop our project, make us a credible and effective leader in our team. We need a synthesis of the classic leadership skills – such as autonomy, accountability, critical vision – and the integration of the soft-skills that are more prominent in the startup ecosystem – credibility, accountability, resilience.
Training exercise: Individual completion of the Belbin group dynamics test and analysis of the results. After a presentation of the test and the use of the method, the group discusses why it is important to consider the combination of work styles, competences and values that emerge in group work.
Tools for the exercise: Belbin Group Dynamics Test Printed, Flip-Chart, Post-it – 4 colors, Blue Tech, Markers
As an entrepreneur, businessman or manager, it is not only the concept we want to use, but also the new elements and approaches required by the changes. Developing these skills will allow us to create the right environment to promote our project, to keep our team together, and to represent our business in a strong and convincing way.
“Training and learning are the raw materials of an entrepreneur. Much more than money or ideas” – Mike Cobian, General Partner, The Valley Venture Capital
We need to know what our strengths are and how we can develop them, what our weaknesses are and how to be prepared to properly address or prevent the resulting challenges. We need to recognise what makes us unique, different from our competitors or from the wider market. An entrepreneurial mindset is another way of learning, both a tool and a motivator, and we definitely need to develop this skill, not only in the hard elements but also in the soft areas.
An entrepreneurial mindset implies that the leader takes a proactive approach to the challenges that arise or are expected in the organization. He or she must be able to help employees manage stress of all kinds, as countless research and personal experiences show how stress, whether individual or team-related, can lead to serious performance degradation. Social, business and generational changes in mindset are also increasingly highlighting the importance of a pleasant working environment, a reliable leader, inspiring tasks and a predictable future. To create this positive atmosphere, a leader must not only be good at the skills – hard or soft – needed to achieve this, but also exude it through his or her whole personality. Today, it is no longer enough for a leader to have a local presence and a positive attitude during meetings at work, as communication at work and in the community extends to all periods and areas of life, through constant and anytime access. The leader’s online footprint, presence and opinions are also accessible and influential for his/her colleagues and the teams working together on the project. There are countless examples every day that show how a badly worded or ill-timed post can cause serious damage to a project, to an organization, but also to team cohesion and staff commitment.