“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” ~ Ancient Proverb.
“Begin with the end in mind. Then put first things first.” Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*.
In business school, we’re taught to define our goals, given our available resources, and then find the critical path to reach them. This is called causal or predictive reasoning, according to Saras Sarasvathy.
She teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia and is the author of Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise and recently released an updated version of this book in paperback.
She says that successful entrepreneurs don’t think like MBAs. In fact, they do the opposite. They use effectual reasoning. Entrepreneurs who reach bigg success use the resources available to them. They let goals manifest themselves over time given their creativity, direction and connections.
Entrepreneurs think differently than MBAs
There’s a great article on Harvard Business site about Dr. Sarasvathy’s research. It asks if MBAs or entrepreneurs are better suited for today’s business realities. Bill Taylor, the author, says it simply:
- MBAs focus on the upside; entrepreneurs focus on the downside.
- MBAs assume it’s a zero-sum game; entrepreneurs think win – win.
- MBAs thrive on certainty; entrepreneurs thrive on uncertainty.
I’m even more confused than usual. I just don’t know what to think since I sort of fit into both categories!
Do you feel like you’re getting pulled in both directions at once, George?
I feel like I’m getting stretched like Stretch Armstrong!
Well, there is an answer. You just have to know when to use causal reasoning and when to think effectually.
We define bigg success as life on your own terms. You are the entrepreneur of an incredible enterprise – your life – whether or not you’re an entrepreneur in the traditional definition of the word.
That’s why we think this research is so fitting not just for business owners, but for everyone:
When things are uncertain, think like an entrepreneur.
It appears that, in the years ahead, we need to expect more of the unexpected. Entrepreneurs don’t bother trying to predict the future; they create it.
How do they do that?
They act and adapt.
They use the resources they have to try something. If it doesn’t work, they take the knowledge they gained and try something else.
If it does work, they keep pushing it. As their enterprise grows, when there is more at stake, they may switch to more causal reasoning. Or they may jump ship and start the whole thing over!
Because to many entrepreneurs, the journey is the reward. That mindset often leads to bigg success.
Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time as we discuss when the dream becomes a nightmare. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
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