The resilient entrepreneur

August 10, 2011

I’ve recently been doing some research on resilience in the medical profession. In particular looking at how people cope when the going gets tough, the sort of individuals who thrive on continual change, and how it is that some see stress as a ‘healthy’ aspect of work. It turns out that those who are more resilient, or who possess what can be described as ‘hardiness’, have a set of four mental attitudes that makes them more likely to stick to tasks and to thrive. Coincidently these same attitudes are seen in successful entrepreneurs. They are:

Optimism. A view of the world, and of the self, that is unfailingly positive. Entrepreneurs have a powerful positive expectation about how things will turn out, reinforced by complete faith in their own competence.

Control. An unshakeable belief that they are in the driving seat and that they make their own luck. In short that it’s what you do that makes the real difference; and success is not simply a matter of luck or waiting for the right breaks.

Commitment. If you spend any time with entrepreneurs you will realise that what they are doing is feeding a consuming passion. It’s something that fully captures their attention, and energy, and is deeply linked to their sense of identity.

Challenge. And finally entrepreneurs accept that challenge, change, and not-quite-knowing-what-will-happen-next are par for the course. Business is a ‘work in progress’ and the twists and turns are what make it fascinating and energising.

If you’re familiar with the work on the psychology of entrepreneurs none of this will seem revolutionary. However what is new is that perhaps entrepreneurs possess a natural resilience: a package of optimism, sense of control, commitment, and ability to deal with change that specifically equips them to deal with the business creation process. A process that is characterised by personal challenge, risk and ambiguity


August 12, 2010

Another resilience questionnaire, this time from Robertson-Cooper, the experts in well-being psychology. Have a go, it’s free, generates a great report and links to some other useful resources. Also of interest to anyone who is following developments in ‘positive’ psychology or the ‘psychology of flow’ – something I will be writing a post about soon.

Open plan offices make you feel icky (and irritable)

June 8, 2010

It’s just as I suspected, open plan offices increase the likelihood of you getting ill, being stressed and becoming aggressive. They don’t work! As your blood pressure goes up your productivity goes down. And whilst there may be those who like the opportunities for ‘social grazing’ that an open plan provides, it often leads to grazing elsewhere as they are also associated with increased staff turnover. The long and the short of it is that you need to feel safe in your space – it’s all very primitive really – and perhaps (tampering) with space really is the final frontier.

There are a number of reviews of the impact of open plan offices that show negative health and psychological effects. Here’s one of the most comprehensive:

Oommen, V. G., Knowles, M., and Zhao, I. (2008). Should Health Service Managers Embrace Open Plan Work Environments? A Review. Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management, 3(2). pp. 37-43.

Lost your bounce?

May 11, 2010

We’re currently developing a new resilience questionnaire. If you would like to have a go (you get an interesting &  free report!) visit and follow the instructions.


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