director's blog

September 2017 - 5 tips for taking action

What do you really need to get done in your life and at work? Can you hear the alarm ringing? Don’t press the snooze button. What’s the opportunity you spotted to do something new? What’s the idea you had to improve something that really bugs you? Why have you still not taken any action? 

One of the central ideas of the entrepreneurial mindset that I really like is this: it’s not only a way of thinking, it demands that you take action! Instead of wondering who else is going to sort things out, you ask yourself “what am I personally going to do about it, today?”

Here are 5 ideas to help you avoid hitting your snooze button. The alarm is ringing so it’s time to take action!

1 Don’t get trapped in the daily routine. No matter how many hours you work, there will always be more to do. So set aside time in your day to do stuff that matters.  Don’t let another week or month or year go by.

2 Be a rebel with a cause. What excites you? What drives you mad? Use that sense of passion to motivate you and help you make a difference.  Don’t forget what your dream is.

3 Take a step towards your big goal. Sometimes the size of the goal can seem daunting. Don’t wait until you have planned out all the steps. Make yourself take the first step.  Don’t delay.

4 Get a colleague on board. Who do you need to buy a cup of coffee for this week or offer to buy lunch? Finding a colleague with a common goal will keep you both motivated to take action. Don’t try to do it all by yourself.

5 Get support.  The Entrepreneurial Mindset Network can help you. You can become a member.  You can join us at a meeting - the next ones are in London and Copenhagen. Don’t miss out.

Paul Coyle, Director, Entrepreneurial Mindset Network,

This post attracted 470 views on LinkedIn, including likes from people in Denmark, England, Poland and the USA.

August 2017 - 5 simple suggestions for coping with change

How well do you cope with change in your organisation? Things change and often in ways we could not have anticipated.  A useful analogy that can help us to think about change within an organisation is  music technology. There have been many changes in the ways we buy, own and listen to music. Similarly, people in organisations will have experienced many change initiatives, some short-lived (like the mini disc) and others highly successful (like the iPod). Do we need to accept and anticipate that things will change again?

Are you able to let go or do you need to hold on? In general, when change comes, we are happy that we understand the current ways of doing things and feel uncertain about how things will work in the future. This is the most difficult part of change: - letting go of what we already have so that we can take advantage of new opportunities.  We especially worry about the cost of change e.g. it’s expensive buying music again in a new format. However, in a similar way, should we expect to have to reinvest our energy and talents again and again into the new changes that are introduced by our organisations?

Are you ready for what’s coming next? New employees have a different perspective as they don’t know about the history of the organisation.  They are unaware of the way things used to be (just like they might be utterly bemused by a cassette tape and are happily embracing online streaming). However, even the latest initiatives will have their own life span. Are you ready for what’s coming next?

In summary, here are 5 simples suggestions for coping with change:

1. Accept that things will change; they have in the past and they will in the future

2. Try to identify the new opportunities that each change brings

3. Be prepared to reinvest your energy and talents into supporting new initiatives

4. Keep alert to signals that show that things are about to change again

5. Repeat steps 1 to 4!

Paul Coyle, Director, Entrepreneurial Mindset Network,

This post attracted 933 views on LinkedIn, including likes from people in Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. 

July 2017 - The benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset

In May and June, I had the pleasure of running workshops on the theme of the entrepreneurial mindset in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Participants came from universities in Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Norway, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.

One of the topics we discussed was the benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset.  And this is what the people from the 15 different countries said:

  • An improved work/life balance
  • Job satisfaction 
  • Creation of better solutions
  • A clearer purpose
  • Challenge to the status quo 
  • Being more productive
  • Creativity and new ideas
  • Better ways of working with colleagues
  • Playing a leading role in a powerful network
  • Support for risk taking
  • Societal impacts

That's an inspiring list! What's also interesting is the range of different subject disciplines that participants are working in: accounting, business, chemistry, entrepreneurship, environment, health, health technologies, HR, information systems, international relations, languages and culture, law, management, marketing, mathematics and statistics, medicine, philosophy, politics, project management, psychology, religion and technology transfer.

I conclude that there are many potential benefits of having an entrepreneurial mindset which lead to valuable improvements for individuals and organisations. And these benefits can be achieved in many different subject disciplines and in a wide range of contexts all over the world. I hope this inspires you to take action!

Paul Coyle, Director, Entrepreneurial Mindset Network,

This post attracted 1488 views on LinkedIn. Likes and comments were received from people in Australia, Austria, Denmark, England, India, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Wales. 

June 2017 - Taking a risk in Higher Education

If we accept that risk taking is an essential part of being entrepreneurial, then I find myself asking what on earth does risk taking mean to people who work in Higher Education? I have been investigating this question for a couple of years now and I am often surprised that in a university, of all places, people feel that the pressures to conform far outweigh any encouragement to innovate.

I recently put a post on LinkedIn about risk taking and was delighted by the feedback I received.  The messages I exchanged with people in my network created some fresh perspectives on risk taking from the organisational and individual perspectives.

The organisational perspective

  • Most businesses are risk adverse including higher education
  • Silos between professional groups slows down innovation and therefore risk taking
  • Some universities actively discourage risk-taking
  • Having to deliver KPIs might mitigate the ability to take more risks
  • Some universities do encourage risk but it is unclear how successful they are as a result
  • Encouragement from the ‘top’ leaders is helpful
  • In encouraging risk-taking an organisation needs to understand the potential costs: mission-related, financial and reputational
  • There need to be mechanisms to monitor risk-taking and shut it down if there are unplanned negative consequences

The Individual Perspective

  • Staff can be very reluctant to change their behaviour in a risk-averse organisation
  • Risk taking is often seen as above and beyond the daily routine and tasks
  • Staff will not take risks if they are unclear about the potential rewards and penalties
  • People are unlikely to take risks if that might jeopardise their chances of promotion
  • We need to understand what motivates individuals to take or avoid risks
  • Risk-takers in different organisations could find ways to support each other
  • Taking a risk can lead to meaningful rewards e.g. setting up your own business offers the opportunity to collaborate with other people in mutually supportive ways
  • If your organisation doesn’t support risk-taking, learning and new opportunities, and these things are important to you, then maybe you should consider leaving for a different employer or setting up your own business

I believe that is essential to  develop a better understaning of why people do and don't take risks in an organisation, whether that be a university, a local council or health care provider.  I'd be very happy to discuss this further with people who share this interest. 

Paul Coyle, Director, Entrepreneurial Mindset Network,