This is the fourth in a five-part series discussing skills critical for future success. Other articles cover critical thinking, creativity, and communication.
As digital and AI technologies continue to transform the world of work, the future workforce will need to be nimble, adaptable, and comfortable with continuous change. These attributes and the soft skills we’ve considered in previous articles can be summed up in one word: entrepreneurship.
5 Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Workers
Combining critical thinking, creativity, and excellent communication skills, entrepreneurial workers exhibit these characteristics:
They are high-energy individuals
These are noticeable people because of the energy they exude. They work hard and with passion.
They love creative challenges
Entrepreneurial workers thrive when presented with a challenge, and the more creative the challenge the better.
They proactively offer new ideas
Whether they come up with a process improvement, a tweak to a product design, or a way to expand the business, entrepreneurial workers don’t wait to be asked.
They are action-oriented
While they are certainly thinkers, entrepreneurial workers can be faster to process information mentally. Once they’ve done that processing, they want to get to work rather than continue considering and discussing.
They seek personal and professional improvement
Entrepreneurial people are on a never-ending quest for improvement in all aspects of their lives, both internal and external.
Hiring Entrepreneurial Talent
Here are some questions that can help you gauge the level of entrepreneurship in the independent talent you are considering engaging. When possible, ask follow up question to get more detail and insight.
What roles have you had in your clients’ teams?
Listen for details that go beyond the tasks related to the role. Did they help other team members address new challenges? Did they offer ideas to improve project outcomes? How did they contribute beyond their scope of work to benefit everyone?
Tell me about a business problem you solved when you were time and resource crunched.
Entrepreneurial workers take responsible action. How did they approach the problem? Note how they used their imagination, sought help, or came up with nontraditional solutions that overcame shortfalls.
Have you disagreed with a client or team lead on one of your projects? Tell me how you resolved the disagreement.
Dealing effectively with disagreement is a valuable skill in entrepreneurial workers. Gauge their level of comfort with disagreement and their experience with handling such situations calmly, professionally, and with a satisfactory outcome.
Tell me about a mistake you made in one of your projects, what you learned from it, and how you corrected it.
Smart entrepreneurs know that things sometimes go upside down. Rather than be blamed and upset, they learn from the situation and make corrections.
Independent professionals tend to be entrepreneurial by nature, which can be a big advantage to your enterprise. When your workforce is optimized through a strategic mix of employees and independents, you can tap into the innate entrepreneurial perspectives of your direct sourcing talent network. This can help effect changes in culture to align with the technology-driven future of work.