Are You an Entrepreneur?

How useful would it be to identify the problem-solvers within your business? They’re called entrepreneurs, and not all of them are created the same. The ability to identify entrepreneurs empowers organizations to effectively manage their workforce. Through research, we’re beginning to learn more about spotting star performers who would otherwise become disengaged and flee — taking their new ideas with them.

Identifying these individuals is possible long before they enter the workplace. In fact, 42 percent of entrepreneurs have determined they want to own their own business before the age of 12, according to an ongoing study run by our company, Target Training International, of engineering students from 18 major U.S. universities.

Early findings from this research describe two types of entrepreneurs emerging:

Entrepreneurial-Minded People (EMP): They tend to work well in teams, have an organized workplace and enjoy consistency. These individuals are happier within organizations or within a group of people working together to achieve a goal.

Serial Entrepreneurs (SE): The second group is made up of potential serial entrepreneurs who have a desire to own their own business. Serial entrepreneurs tend to be more individualistic, have a greater sense of urgency and a desire to control. They have demonstrated an ability to sustain a business past the first year, into the higher growth job production years of a young firm.

Both entrepreneurial types are identified by a distinct challenge-orientation and improvement-focused mindset. But they differ in their attitudes towards control. EMPs are less concerned with the amount of control they can exert. They are happiest when they work collaboratively on a task, in a team, striving for solutions to complex or recurring problems.

The SE wishes to have ultimate control over her life and business. While happy to set direction for a company or team, serial entrepreneurs need to feel that their employer is not limiting their destiny.

Once you identify certain performers as SE or EMP, it’s your job as a manager to retain them.

Make sure they have a forum where their ideas can be heard. When an SE shares his vision and is met with rejection, he will become disengaged and will likely resent the organization. He is also likely to not only plot his exit, but how to redress the rejection he experienced. That can translate into taking their ideas to a competitor or becoming a competitor himself. Similarly if an EMP is not allowed to engage in the problem-solving process or is asked to work independently, the same is likely to occur.

But how do managers identify entrepreneurial types? It’s often helpful to put these questions to use, especially during the hiring process or a performance review.

  1. Describe your career goals. The EMP answer would more likely indicate he could care less about being in management and is happy where he is or where he is applying for. The SE will tend to say she is looking for advancement.
  2. Describe your professional strengths. An EMP will focus on strengths directly related to the job in question. An SE will talk more about leadership and personal identity.
  3. Describe things you’re not good at. Honesty is important for both. Listen closely: If she claims to not have any weaknesses, she is likely more SE-driven. The more weaknesses he confesses to having, the more EM-driven he is.
  4. What activities do you do to keep current in your profession? The EMP is interested in keeping up within his profession and industry. The SE is more focused on keeping up on broader scope, going beyond just her career and may discuss things she is reading, experiencing or sharing.

Entrepreneurs — whether EMP or SE — already possess the behaviors, attitudes, and values to build successful businesses. Finding out whom within the workforce possesses the traits of an entrepreneur — and which type they are — will allow business leaders to work with their unique approach to business. Recruiting and retaining entrepreneurs pays big dividends not just for individual companies, but also for the economy as a whole.


  • Terry – The Quantum Leap Catalyst. “Creating Quantum Leap Results”
  • Conducted an Organizational Culture Change Project for the GTS group at ABN AMRO Bank.
  • Coached the Management Team at Symmetry – a Healthcare provider for people who suffer from pain.
  • Appointed special advisor to the International Federation of Professional Coaches and Mentors – A South African based organization focused on developing and certifying Professional Coaches.
  • Terry, married for over 40 years, has two daughters, three granddaughters and a grandson.
  • He was a First League and tournament tennis player in South Africa for many years and also played league squash. Later when he moved to The Netherlands he also played league squash tennis and was champion of his tennis club.
  • In 1998, when he moved to San Diego he started to play golf and this is now his major past-time.

Performance Appraisals for Executive Leaders

Working with larger organizations, I discovered, most managers dreaded appraisal meetings with their staff. This came about because managers were conditioned into believing appraisals were meant to be a review of past performance, especially mistakes made in the past, as well as a guide for future bonuses and promotions.

With that perspective in mind obviously the old-style, appraisal meeting most often focuses on previous failures of the employee. No wonder both managers and staff, dread these formal confrontations – often leaving the discussion with negative feelings about themselves, about their bosses and about the company. So the very positive expectation of value from the appraisal meeting is trashed and causes lowering of energy, feelings of disloyalty rather than enthusiasm for the future and the feeling of being part of a winning team.

One of my key clients discussed this process with me and decided to approach it from a completely different viewpoint.

To create a more positive environment for these discussions he started to do the following:

Continue reading “Performance Appraisals for Executive Leaders”

The Common Denominator of Success

For many years now, my wife and I have been friends with Earl and Diana Nightingale.

Since he passed away in the late 1980’s, Diana has taken it upon herself to unselfishly dedicate and promote his work to the world.

His unique thinking style, his philosophy and resonant voice captivated millions of followers on radio in countless countries.

Diana has recently been writing a blog to ensure he is never forgotten.

Continue reading “The Common Denominator of Success”

Validation Letter from Robert Hans

Robert wrote…

Had lunch last Tuesday with World-Renowned Personal Business Coach, Terry Ostrowiak. It was one of our best ever, now and then, catch up dialogues.

Terry informed me that he recently released his audio-book ‘The Greatest Book on Coaching for Small Business’ on

I downloaded it immediately and find myself motivated every time I listen to Terry’s melodious voice-recording while driving to clients and back.

His initial paperback version gave me some great insights into human behavior and relationships and the audio version has now strongly reinforced the impact of his insights and powerful messages for business people who want to coach rather than manage and who grasp this essential distinction. Business people who are being coached and are exposed to these simple ideas (not to be confused with easy) will probably start demanding their coaches do the same for them, to enhance their experience.

Continue reading “Validation Letter from Robert Hans”

Turn Consulting or Counseling into Coaching for Results

While talking to our attorney this week, he indicated he was being coached by someone who was not involved in our organization. He mentioned he was sometimes not as happy with the process as he would like to be.

I asked him what was missing and he said: “My coach believes in leaving me to take responsibility for the actions we discuss. I write down all the things we cover and then find I often do not follow through on what I expect of myself and feel disappointed with my progress.”

So I asked again: “What would you like your coach to do that he is not doing at present?”

He said: “I would like him to be more demanding and hold me accountable for specific agreed results.”

I always say: “Coaching is an Adult to Adult Process”, but if we are listening actively some clients would tell us they would prefer their coach to hold their feet to the fire. Other clients, on the other hand, are disciplined enough to follow through on their commitments without sanctions and take responsibility for their actions.

Continue reading “Turn Consulting or Counseling into Coaching for Results”

Listen Actively – Not Passively

Seldom in our lives do we have the experience of ‘being genuinely listened to.’

Most of us are far too busy to be bothered by others and their concerns because we are focused on our own issues and how to resolve them.

Even within families we may have had the experience of wanting to talk openly about an issue, but somehow never felt that the moment was right to talk about it. Or maybe the moment was right, we started to talk and suddenly felt the supposed listener was not listening at all and may even have shown irritation at being hijacked as a victim of the exercise.

Dr. Thomas Gordon in his book, Parent Effectiveness Training, talks about the way psychologists are trained to listen and how those skills could be useful in almost all everyday contacts with people around us. He calls the process ‘Active Listening’ which looks more like ‘Active Questioning’ than listening. The idea is to listen to the underlying issues beneath the words or between the lines rather than the content that is being verbalized. Secondly, listen non-judgmentally without prejudice.

Continue reading “Listen Actively – Not Passively”

Communicate to Never be Misunderstood

My granddaughter told me recently: “I hate math.” I asked; “Why?”

She said her math teacher told her class how to do long-division, but she didn’t get it. Last year she was a top student in math, but suddenly she felt stupid and said:

“Math is boring”.

Fortunately my wife and daughter were able to pick up the issue while doing homework with her and were able to solve the problem. It never struck her that he was not a good teacher. He was supposed to be good.

Because of how poorly he communicated, she thought she was slow and stupid.

How many of us in the workplace have a poor self-image because of the inadequate communication skills of someone who was supposed to clearly teach us something, but did not get the message across effectively.

How many of us write poorly, can’t spell, can’t draw or paint, can’t do math which affects our handling of money and other finances; most importantly cannot express our ideas clearly as a result of ineffective messages from managers or supervisors.

Continue reading “Communicate to Never be Misunderstood”