Securing a graduate job is a battle royale. Success in this battle can feel like the end of the journey, when in reality, it is only the beginning. After securing your first job upon graduation, you should take a deep breath and prepare for your ascent up the career ladder. Use your summer for this long inhale as the next few years will be the start of your success or mediocrity.
There are two main mindsets people can adopt upon employment, and these mindsets are a fairly good indicator as to your future success. These are the employee mindset and the entrepreneurial mindset. There seems to be an obvious distinction between the two, in that as an employee you must surely have the employee mindset, but I hope to illustrate that this is the sure fire way to reach mediocrity and bobble along in a career as opposed to flourishing within your organisation.
The employee mindset is characterised by reactivity. You may be diligent, hard working and a good member of your team. The employee mindset is always characterised by doing only as much as is expected, and noting beyond.
You are happy taking instruction from other people and will strive to do the best you can by these instructions. You turn up on time, do your 8 hours and then go home, safe in the knowledge that you are doing all that is required from your contract of employment and nothing more.
Responsibility is something taken by your superiors – that is what they get paid more than you do. Any negative outcome in your job is a result of somebody else – they are in charge and they should be blamed for failure. Success on the other hand is purely down to your hard work.
You will do as much as is required to keep the heat off your back, as much as your superior has asked of you and enough to avoid difficult conversations as to why you haven’t done what you have been told.
All in all, you tick all the boxes, no more, and no less. Your existence is one of comfort and avoidance of trouble, but ultimately, one of mediocrity.
The entrepreneurial mindset is a different animal altogether.
As an employee with an entrepreneurial mindset, you are acutely aware of the concept of value. You are aware that success is for people who add the most value to an organisation, and you strive to make sure you add as much value as you possibly can.
You are aware that by merely having you as an employee, the company incurs costs over and above your salary. You know that a profit is derived from how much value you can add over and above your basic costs. You keep this value in the back of your mind and always strive to add more than this cost.
If an entrepreneur doesn’t produce the goods, the whole company fails. As a result, the entrepreneur has to take responsibility for all of the outcomes that result from his actions. Failure cannot be blamed on someone else. In fact, entrepreneurs WANT to take responsibility. They know that responsibility is empowering. Blaming someone else is merely reducing your own power and empowering other people. Entrepreneurs know they need to empower themselves to be successful and as a result, always take responsibility. The employee with an entrepreneurial mindset strives for responsibility and relishes it. They accept responsibility for failure, but more importantly, they attribute success to the efforts of others,
Entrepreneurship is all about problem solving. The successful entrepreneur-mindset employee seeks out problems and takes responsibility to solve these problems on their own. They know that problem solving is the ultimate skill within an organisation. Taking the burden of problem solving away from your manager will instantly earmark you as someone of high quality and a force to be reckoned with.
Entrepreneurs avoid looking busy like the plague. They realise that doing something for doing something’s sake is a form of laziness. Looking like you are busy by shuffling paper, checking email and concentrating on activities of little value is helpful to no-one. They know the value of Pareto’s principle (that 20% of activities produce 80% of the value) and strive to seek out these value producing activities. They know what they are trying to achieve as a company, recognise the activities that will move the company towards these results, and they will execute ruthlessly.
The whole concept of adding value is something I have struggled with. There are always days where I could have done more, been more proactive and added more value. Success is not a continual notion, it is defined by what you do most often. If you have this mindset and fail on certain days, that is fine. If you aim for value every day, you become the sum of what you do consistently. It is consistent effort and application that defines success – intermittent failure does not detract from success, in fact, it is the herbs and spices that add all the flavour to your eventual success.
All in all, you can show up, do what is expected and most probably keep your job. You will bobble along in mediocrity for your career, and blame other people for your lack of progression. Or you may just decide to be an entrepreneur. The definition of entrepreneurship is taking resources of low value and moving them to an area of increased value.
Are you increasing value?
To demonstrate your value, sign up to Kloodle.