When you’re an ambitious, determined entrepreneur, it’s easy to fall into the trap of running full speed ahead toward your vision and simply hoping that others will get on board. The problem with this approach is that you can’t succeed alone; you need a powerful team to stand behind your vision as confidently as you do. In my experience, the best way to build that team is to adopt an educator’s mindset.
In the context of entrepreneurship, having an educator’s mindset means constantly striving to educate and reeducate the people around you about your vision. Why does it matter? What makes it new and different from competitors? How is it going to work?
Here are my best tips for entrepreneurs on embracing an educator’s mindset and rallying key stakeholders to your cause.
Stay In Educational Mode 24/7/365
Any entrepreneur with an innovative vision and disruptive ideas can safely assume that at any given moment there will likely be detractors in the room. This doesn’t mean anyone is out to get you, but rather that skepticism of new ideas is natural and to be expected. (In fact, it’s often a sign that you’re doing something original and exciting!) This is why it’s critical to stay in educational mode at all times, frequently teaching others about your vision and why you believe it’s going to work. Even those who have bought in fully can use a reminder sometimes. Educating and reeducating your stakeholders shouldn’t be reserved for times of crisis; it should be an ongoing process in times good and bad.
Tackle Questions And Concerns Head-On
In working to educate others about your vision, you’re bound to run into difficult questions and, sometimes, major concerns. My advice to you is to address these comments head-on with courage and grace. Great teachers never shy away from answering tough questions, nor do great entrepreneurs and business leaders. Rather than avoiding, dismissing or tiptoeing around serious questions and concerns, welcome these moments as a learning opportunity. Take the time to stop and educate skeptics so that you can turn them into supporters. It’s amazing what a little patience and empathetic listening can do to rally support for your vision.
Steer Clear Of Tunnel Vision
As someone who handles multiple professional and community responsibilities on top of being a mother to young children, I know how easy it is to get “tunnel vision” as an entrepreneur. You know the feeling: head down, blinders up, working as fast as you can to reach your goals. Entrepreneurs tend to have very busy schedules, and even if you understand the importance of educating your stakeholders, it’s easy to let that fall by the wayside in favor of what you see as more pressing tasks.
However, one thing I’ve learned through years of trial and error is that nothing is more important than bringing people along with your vision. You may have the best idea in the world, but if you’re the only one who believes in it, it’s not going to happen. Don’t be fooled into thinking that tunnel vision will get you to reach your goals faster—in reality, it will only slow you down. Investing time and energy into educating others is a much more effective strategy for success. Over time, having an educator’s mindset will enable you to create powerful teams that can turn your vision into reality.