You may have heard this story.
Animator John Lasseter was fired from Disney after suggesting the company get into computer animations. After all, he was just an artist.
He later worked for the division that became Pixar, where his interest in CGI was not only appreciated, but drove hits including Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. And then, Pixar was sold to Disney. Lasseter became chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Entrepreneurial employees don’t always make it at legacy companies. But, as the ability to innovate becomes a competitive advantage — even a requirement for survival — legacy companies need ways to retain the types of people who can pull off big ideas. These employees recognize opportunities, and have the willpower to make them happen.
Here are seven habits and qualities of entrepreneurial employees — maybe you’ll recognize one in your midst.
1. Expect Praise
An entrepreneurial employee is constantly putting ideas out there and executing on creative projects. These things move the whole company forward. It takes more out of a person to present their ideas and execute on them, versus just following guidelines — and they expect appreciation from leadership and their team.
2. Look for Opportunities to Learn
You might find an employee asking about initiatives above their pay grade. They’re interested in the strategies driving other departments. It doesn’t matter if it’s none of their business, they see an opportunity to add to their knowledge, which will benefit themselves and their organization in the long run.
3. Have an Unstable Career Path
It used to be that spending less than two years at one company was a red flag. For entrepreneurial employees, if they aren’t being given opportunities to grow and develop, they’ll move companies to find a new challenge. They might have taken a chance on a small, unproven startup that fizzled out. They might have tried a new role that was a terrible fit for them, or a couple, so their resume looks more like a rock climbing wall than a ladder.If they aren't being given opportunities to develop, they'll find a new challenge Click To Tweet
4. Don’t See Failure as a Setback
This employee will pursue an idea, and fail. But where many people would walk away and stick to projects that will be successful, an entrepreneurial employee will keep hacking away at the failed idea. It was Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
5. Try to Reinvent the Wheel
Things are going smoothly. Why change the process? Entrepreneurial types are always looking for ways to remove barriers. They’ll also have a sense of how things might work in the future, and staying ahead of the curve is key in any industry.
6. Allergic to Meetings
Entrepreneurs are doers. In Paul Graham’s Maker’s Schedule vs. Manager’s Schedule, he points out how creators need uninterrupted time to make things. They don’t want to deal with red tape or finding a consensus — they want to make something from scratch.
7. Always Take Initiative
When your team has a need come up that doesn’t totally fit anyones’ job description — which happens often in a fast-changing business environment — your entrepreneurial employee will be the one to take on extra work, even if she’s never done it before.
Learn more about how to make your organization a talent starting point, not a parking lot, in our webinar with author of “The Alliance,” Chris Yeh.