(610) 463-5492 JOHN@JOHNGRONSKI.COM

The Spirit of the Entrepreneur

The Spirit of the Entrepreneur

By Major General John Gronski (USA, Ret.)

Author of Iron-Sharpened Leadership

The Engine of Our Economy

Recently I provided a leadership presentation to a large industrial group on the east coast. The attendees to this conference were CEOs of manufacturing companies that operated factories throughout the United States. I opened by thanking these entrepreneurs and business owners for the jobs they created to keep the economic engine of our nation running strong.

Entrepreneurs Create Opportunity

I do not think entrepreneurs get enough credit for the good they do for our country by creating jobs. If not for the risk many of these exceptional men and women take, there would be less opportunity for many Americans to make a good life for themselves and support their families.

In the 40 years I spent in the Army at various leadership positions leading teams as small as four and commanding units as large as 15,000, I have been the beneficiary of leadership training from the tactical to the strategic level. One common theme that came up is the notion that successful military leaders have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Attributes of an Entrepreneur

An entrepreneurial spirit includes attributes such as the willingness to accept prudent risk, demonstrating initiative and establishing an environment where the people feel comfortable taking initiative, creativity, imagination, and a service orientation.

Entrepreneurial spirit also includes seeing opportunities that others may not see and seizing those opportunities. It also includes a sense of curiosity in terms of being curious about people and having an intellectual curiosity to learn more. Someone with an entrepreneurial spirit seeks to leave their comfort zone and try new things that may cause discomfort and a certain amount of stress.

Entrepreneurs are skilled at developing and sustaining relationships with others. They have a way of making other people feel important and they treat everyone with dignity and respect from the entry level employee to the head of an organization. Entrepreneurs can communicate well, and they follow the platinum rule which means they treat others the way they wish to be treated. Stated another way, they do not treat everyone equally, they treat everyone individually.

Military Leaders as Entrepreneurs

I believe the military develops an entrepreneurial spirit in its leaders. That is one reason why military Veterans not only make great employees, but they make fantastic business owners and entrepreneurs. Fred Smith, founder of FEDEX, is one of the most noteworthy Veteran entrepreneurs. Alex Gorsky, the longtime CEO of J&J is another Veteran who has made it to the top in the world of business. Aside from these two noteworthy individuals, many other Veterans have started thousands of flourishing companies, providing jobs for tens of thousands of families throughout the United States. They are also excellent leaders who know how to take care of their employees.

Path to Success

Whether you run your own business, work for an enterprise, serve in the military, work in support of a non-profit organization, or engage in some other endeavor, developing an entrepreneurial sprit will help you to be successful in whatever path you choose.

Living One’s Values

“Values are inspiring when read, but most powerful when lived.” Many organizations have values. You can find these values on posters plastered on walls throughout the corporate headquarters or prominently displayed on the organization’s website. These values can...

What Is Servant-Leadership Anyway?

Servant-leadership emphasizes a leader's responsibility to serve the needs of their followers, prioritizing their growth, well-being, and success. Here's a breakdown of key points: Providing Training and Resources: Servant-leaders recognize the importance of equipping...

Consistency is the Cornerstone of Success

I had a friend who was motivated to compete in an IronMan triathlon. He trained hard, watched his diet, stopped drinking alcohol, and slept eight hours every night. His motivation paid off. He ran his first and only IronMan distance triathlon and he was very proud of...

Lead By Asking

I have a question. What is a powerful leadership tool that can enhance team dynamics, promote growth, and drive success? Good leaders are good communicators and good communicators are good listeners. Good leaders must ask their teammates and other stakeholders...

Penn State Great Valley Commencement Speech

On Friday, May 3, 2024, I had the pleasure of delivering the commencement speech for the graduate student graduation at the Penn State Great Valley campus in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  View the speech here   Following is the text of the speech I delivered to the...

Developing Resilient Teams

Photo credit: Smithsonian Magazine Teams do not rise to the occasion; they perform at their level of training. This was demonstrated very clearly in April 1970 when Gene Kranz and his team at NASA mission control successfully brought the astronauts of Apollo 13 back...

Motivating Others – A Guide For Leaders

When I speak to junior leaders someone usually poses the following question: How do I motivate those I lead? When I ask groups of leaders about some of their biggest challenges, motivating others is always on the list. Leaders must have the ability to motivate their...

What Attribute Do You Look For in a Leader?

What attributes do you look for in a leader? I asked this question of a group of aspiring leaders I recently spoke to and here are the top five attributes this group said they look for in their leaders. Call it like it is. Provide direct communication and feedback....

What Good Leaders Do

Millions of Americans watched the women's NCAA Final Four basketball game between UConn and Iowa on Friday, April 5, 2024. With seconds on the clock and UConn behind by one point and making a run at going ahead with a game-winning bucket, a referee stopped the game...

Civilianizing Mission Command

The Army does a great job of training leaders who are both competent and display character. To be effective, leaders must demonstrate both. General Norman Schwarzkopf made this crystal clear when he spoke to the corps of cadets at West Point on May 1, 1991. One of the...
Share This