The Mitochondria in Startups
Sarah Tavel

Hardworking vs Entrepreneurial Mindset

Great post! 🔑

I think the two mindsets or the type of people that you described applies to work environments beyond startups.

The first type is the set of hard working employees that hone in on their work so much that they fail to grasp the bigger picture of how their work ties into the bigger set of objectives and the future of the organization. For instance, my investment banker friends at Goldman Sachs work unbelievably hard for their pay checks and do not even question how their work creates an impact at a macro level on Wall Street and within their organization. Same model applies to startups. You could code all night to get what’s expected of you done. And, once you are done with it, you no longer think much about it or beyond it. Such mindset is an epitome of blind obedience which is both a good and a bad thing depending on the context.

The second set refers to “people with entrepreneurial tendencies”. These are great executioners with a sense of purpose and a grasp of the bigger picture. Their pro-activeness fuels their curiosity to learn beyond their job description. I have noticed this personally in my school group projects, internships and side projects. For instance, I am leading a school-wide marketing project currently. I have enjoyed working the most with students with entrepreneurial tendencies. They would come up with new ideas at night and text me their ideas every morning. Their excitement, vision and execution extends beyond their normal working hours or job descriptions. Also, as a project lead, I have noticed that people with the first mindset can be morphed into those with an entrepreneurial mindset if they are consciously and repeatedly reminded of how their work fits into the bigger picture and by trying to align their interests, goals and values with those of the work or project at hand.

Asking a graphic designer to get some work done for school for free is an inefficient ask. They might not do it. Or, they might not go all in. They might think its not worth their time. But, showing them how doing so for free will help them with growing their portfolio which is a much better way of showing their competence for future gigs than resume fluff is a better ask.

I think entrepreneurs tendency is an innate trait. But, hardworking folks could be made more energized through good incentives to go beyond the normal standards.

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