How entrepreneurial are you?

A poll of entrepreneurs found that top CEOs are different because they take risks, are determined, are focused, and ask for and use the help of quality people

Dr. Hossein Kazemian is not an entrepreneur but has an entrepreneurial drive.

I met Hossein a couple years ago when he invited me to tour his chemistry lab at the University of Northern British Columbia. UNBC is ranked Canada’s No. 1 small university.

Hossein informed me that his lab, which he had recently taken over, was hardly used. In fact, in the past, while the lab is extremely well equipped, many of the tests and much of the research done by others at the university was sent to outside companies at a much higher cost. Hossein made up his mind to change all that.

As he and I spoke, it became apparent that this man had the drive, ambition and devotion common to many of the entrepreneurs who I was working with who were running their own businesses. He was playing to win.

So what sets people like Hossein who have entrepreneurial drive apart from others?

A 2014 Gallup poll of entrepreneurs found that the top 500 chief executive officers were different from others in society because:

They take risks. How often do you take on challenges, embrace opportunities, are optimistic about your ability to face a trial and come out a winner?

How often do you have an entrepreneurial drive, taking calculated risks with an opportunity to further your chances of easy success?

They have a business focus. It’s great to get into business, but unless you have some goals, are measuring those goals and track your success, you might find that your ability to hit the heights of other entrepreneurs is limited.

In business, we need to track our financial success, our sales and other tangible targets that are measurable. If you want to be more successful, start tracking your achievements.

They have determination. How determined are you? Whether you’re running a business or a department within a big organization, having the determination to see that things get done can make a huge difference.

It doesn’t matter what you do, you’re always going to run into some difficulties. Having the resolve to push through the tough times, to find solutions, to pivot when you hit an impasse ensures that your project will get finished.

They ask for help. The best entrepreneurs in the world don’t do it all themselves. In fact, the very best entrepreneurs delegate work to others. They build a team around them who can do the work they can’t. They have advisers and they seek great advice. They build relationships that can further their cause.

Like Hossein, we don’t all need to own a business to be entrepreneurial. In fact, if we had more people working in government, medicine, within companies, in universities and even in our families who had the ability to learn the traits of top entrepreneurs, our society would be better off.

Just imagine what would happen if more people set and measured their goals and had a plan for their lives, if we worked together to achieve tasks, and if we pushed through with determination to make relationships work when things got tough, or even took more risks with recipes in making dinner. My guess is we would all enjoy richer communities.

Hossein Kazemian doesn’t own a business. He runs a lab. He works in a bureaucracy but he’s entrepreneurial. Perhaps you could be more entrepreneurial in your day-to-day life and live the thrill of an entrepreneur in your calling.

Entrepreneurship within a business, a family or a bureaucracy can be very fulfilling if you’re willing to step out and try it. Hossein is entrepreneurial and you can be too!

David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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