What Corporate Professionals Can Learn From Entrepreneurs!

As a corporate professional for over 25 years, I considered myself to be extremely resourceful, an avid learner, and even, a great networker. However, when I left corporate and ventured out on my own, I had a rude awakening. For example, as a corporate professional I was heads down, focused on the task at hand or consumed by the next career opportunity. It was the same thing when it came to who I associated with, learned from, coached by, and even the ideas, strategies or recommendations I generated and contributed to; they were all about the my job, my boss and my employer.

Entrepreneur shockers I wish I knew as a corporate professional:

    • Though throughout the years, I had engaged with, did business with, and collaborated with thousands of other professionals; at all levels, varied industries, and with various expertise and skills, I had only maintained, nurtured and leveraged about 750 colleagues. And if you ever lost your job, started your own business, or sought out new opportunities, you know you will go through them pretty fast.
    • One of my first entrepreneurial meetings was in a Starbucks. I was shocked to see all of the suited professionals there at all hours of the day, making deals, forging partnerships, and/or coaching and learning from one another. I had never considered getting out of my office; regardless if I wasn’t in sales or business development. Every professional (and their company) grows by expanding their reach.
    • By the time I hit my second year on my own, I was investing 5-figures into my professional and personal development; not only because I was a new business owner, but more so because I wanted to be a great leader. I became quickly dismayed at the lack of investment I (or my employer) put toward my personal and professional growth – and I didn’t always ask for it either.
    • By the end of the second year, I recognized a need to invest in and actively work with a business coach; who would help me to expand my knowledge, skill set, leadership and goal achievement. I certainly had mentors throughout my corporate career, but not with the commitment, expectation and their own accountability to my success.
    • I was definitely someone who thought that ‘going alone was easier, if I wanted success and things done the way I wanted them done – despite having people assigned to me. As an entrepreneur, you don’t succeed going it alone… as it is way to hard to start, let alone grow and manage a business by yourself! The right team is critical.
    • Change for change sake is a common occurrence through the hallways of corporate, i.e. beginning of year organization structure changes, or mission/vision changes. Change for change sake is a killer for entrepreneurs. It has to be purposeful, meaningful, and profitable, or it could put a business out of business… so I learned to not only to adapt to change easily and openly, but to do it with purpose and profit!
    • Many corporate professionals (including myself) are accustomed to creating, masking or mirroring a leadership style they think the team, their boss, or the company culture wants of them. As an entrepreneur, all of your warts and beauty marks are completely transparent… consciously, as success depends on embracing, enhancing and evolving all of them.
    • I thought working hard, being skilled and talented, and an expert at what I did, would make me successful. Just the contrary… I have learned that having a strong, confident, and powerful mindset, belief system and set of values for myself, was the core ingredient for success
      • I don’t live in or with regrets, but I wish I knew that then!!!!

LEADERtips™ you can learn from an Entrepreneur:

    • Define a “Network Expansion” goal – not for quantity, but centered on identifying, building and nurturing quality relationships within your company, your industry, and your community.
      • Don’t collect business cards… collect relationships!
    • Physically get out beyond your office, job, and company. Engage, learn, network and develop both your skill set and your mindset – out amongst other corporate and entrepreneurial professionals in your community, industry and the world!
    • Establish a personal and professional development goal not necessarily tied to your employer (but bonus if they support you with it), that extends or expands you. Don’t wait for your employer to take the lead.
    • Invest in a business, executive, career and/or life coach, who can and will move you beyond your comfort level and position in business and life. We all need someone to guide us.
    • Build a team and network (inside and outside of your work) which can support, contribute and challenge your goals; being open to constructive and development feedback opportunities they provide.
    • Don’t create change for change sake. Define a profitability measurement threshold for change, and bounce every idea, suggestion or potential decision against that measurement. Do it purposeful, not emotional.
    • Spend concentrated time on becoming self-aware of the person, teammate, peer, boss, leader, and employee you are and want to be – by just being YOU.
    • Find and engage resources, tools, and methods for building and maintaining your confidence, strength, courage, determination, perseverance, and ‘hunger’ for your emotional, mental and spiritual success, as much as your financial, physical and or professional success.

Bernadette Boas is a ball of fire Speaker, Leadership Consultant, and Author of her first book, Shedding the Corporate Bitch, Shifting from Bitch to Rich in Life and Business. Her popular LEADERtips™ Weekly provide tips, advice and sometimes tough love on business and life issues impacting women and business today. SUBSCRIBE to begin receiving yours – http://bit.ly/1aazH2I. Check out her various Ignite Your Leader Within training and speaking programs for corporate, small business, and industry associations. http://balloffireconsulting.com/training/

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