You are on page 1of 19

SOFT SKILLS

Sometimes the hardest aspect of entrepreneurship

Acknowledgements: These teaching notes are derived from materials used on numerous courses of the Centre for entrepreneurial Learning: Enterprisers; Emerging Technology Entrepreneurship and Ignite.

S.Vyakarnam (August 2011)

1

...................................... 14 Pitching.... 15 Who are you pitching to and what stage of the opportunity are you pitching?........ 19 Keeping the Dream Alive .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 3 Being able to demonstrate that you understand Markets and customers .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 6 Team Building. 7 The Entrepreneurial Team.............................................................................. 10 Proving it .......... 12 Reflections...................... 15 The Elevator Pitch ................................................................................................................................................................ 17 Patience and personal credibility.............................................................................. 3 Summary of entrepreneurial management competences:......................................... 10 Team ability to identify resources ........................................................................................................................................ 14 Demonstrating your ability to learn from mistakes and feedback ............................................................................................................................................... 4 The Ansoff Matrix – by Igor Ansoff (1957) ....................................................Contents Introduction............................. 11 Networking Skills ................................................................................................................................................ 16 The Las Vegas factor! .................................................. 7 Ability to Imagine It and Do It ......................... 15 Common Mistakes........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 19 2 .............................................................. 10 Creativity ....................................

Figure what makes the venture “tick”. etc. the dynamics of the sectors you wish to penetrate and naturally the common sense elements that can make the difference between a nice report and a commercial deal. 2. www. your pitch and the way you network in the business community. 3. demonstrating that you truly understand the needs of the customers.. including the ability to plan. The ability to identify clearly the market opportunity. equity. 1 “Tristart” a web-based tool to enhance the assessment of success in start-ups. in summary. valuation.co. The possession. In other words you need a team. take the risks and truly able to inspire and motivate a team of people. manage cash and the book keeping aspects of the business. whereas an “A” quality team can take a “B” quality idea and make a success of it. Often entrepreneurs and their investors and supporters naturally focus on the so-called “hard” issues. You will hear from time to time that a “B” team with an “A” quality opportunity will make a mess. that you are willing to put your resources where they are needed. This means going beyond the formation of a group of friends from College into a functioning. credible team of commercially minded. run the numbers. Often. sell. such as quantifying the value proposition. There are. probably three key areas of competence you need to think about: • • • The ability to identify and articulate the market opportunity Possession of breadth and depth of management skills to execute Risk appetite and spirit to overcome obstacles and keep going when it gets tough Summary of entrepreneurial management competences: Based on Tristart research1. have an understanding of where the money is coming from and going to. forgetting that more than anything else the quality and a well functioning management team is at the heart of success. within the team of the breadth and depth of management skills.Introduction This handout has been provided to support the “soft skills” needed to develop a business. manage people. developing cash flows. 1. market savvy individuals. You will also need to persuade customers and investors in your ability to ethically manage the business – after all you are going to be trusted with their money. Demonstrate you have “fire in the belly”. This comes over from evidence that you have taken feedback. why they buy.uk 3 .transitions.

who will buy from you and why they might do so. Questions relating to the specific needs include the following: • Who are the customers? What problems do they have? • How serious is the need and why? Is it a need or just a “nice to have”? Will it endure or could it fade away? What is the urgency? • If there are several aspects to the need. social or legislative means? To what extent is a “soft solution” or whole life support needed alongside any technology solution? Questions relating to the general needs include the following: • To what extent are the specific needs a subset of wider and longer-term problems. It is sometimes true that customers do not know they need a product until they see it. can we position ourselves to address the more general needs? How might the technology. general needs to which the business relates and which set the context . products.these may affect how the specific needs evolve and may also lead to follow-on opportunities. The analysis must be well informed by information from customers and those who know the market and customers well. practices. Therefore care must be taken that the analysis of specific needs is done objectively. and culture? What is needed to achieve easy adoption and use? • Is a technology solution needed? For example. that you can think of as customers. What is the basic unmet need you are trying to fill? Is this unmet need sufficiently large to provide for a big enough and growing market to make it worthwhile starting an enterprise/ business or launching your product? Think through from a generic definition of the market to identify segments. infrastructure. All projects must be driven from a thorough understanding of the needs. assumptions. concerns or opportunities? How far. what is most important? Where could the greatest value be created by a good solution? • What constrains how any solution will be accepted and used? What is needed in order to fit with existing standards. but we need to clearly recognise if we are making a leap of faith about the needs. without being distorted by personal enthusiasms or what you want to sell or develop. by addressing the specific needs.Being able to demonstrate that you understand Markets and customers This section is an extract from the MARKETS approach document and is unashamedly repeated as it is perhaps one of the most important tasks for you to perform in time to meet investors. could the problem be solved by legal. namely: • • specific need that the enterprise is addressing. It may be that we have a leading position in some radically new technology for which it is not possible to foresee all of the 4 . product or service be re-used for other offerings? • Can we foresee how these general needs will develop? How might this increase or decrease the specific needs? • What assumptions underpin our analysis of the specific needs? What events or changes could substantially alter these needs? How likely are they to happen? What do we need to watch? • Where are the needs most acute and/or growing rapidly? How important are they in the UK? There is always a danger of “pushing” an existing ideas or technology solution instead of focusing on what is really needed.

so that you will know how to frame your proposition. But it is essential to identify what can provide the initial market and the revenue for exploiting other opportunities as they become clearer. there are further internal criteria that are required. In large organizations. waste of time or resources. beyond those demanded by investors (shareholders) to persuade senior managers that the innovation will fit with the nature of the Organization. Access to this funding can also become somewhat political. This may either dilute or skew the nature of the innovation that the originator has in mind. its existing resources and position in the market place. In other words understand the context. subject to connections. so if you want to push ahead with something radical you will really need to deeply understand the context of business models and ask yourself – are you asking the turkey to vote for Christmas? Does your innovation fit with any particular programme or vision statement? 5 . This may make innovation incremental and stifle radical innovation. The long careers of innovators within an Organisation might also suggest that one has to be around for long enough to build credibility and trust before suggestions are taken seriously. You will need to start with assessing the climate of innovation within the Organisation. “fathers” and meanings to it – such as process innovation.applications. access to funding/budgets is subject to much negotiation and perhaps even compromise. financial loss. Making a Business Case (particularly within Organizations) This part of the note is particularly relevant to those who expect to work for a larger organization at some stage. In a free market context. (Although there was a push back stating preference for “data over decibels”). You may find that there are several locations. In many large companies there is – at least – at the Board room level (known as the “C” level) positive statement about innovation. Try and assess whether there is a free market – laissez faire mechanism or whether it is driven from the Centre. loss of output. market innovation or product innovation. When or how do ideas either die or get killed off? In essence if the ideas are deeply rooted in customer need/demand with clear evidence it has a much better chance of success. poor decisions…? In putting together the information and assumptions about customers’ needs and the size and dynamics of the market place you can then begin to think about the approach you will take to enter the market – the business model you need to maximise your opportunity. The analysis of needs should include a preliminary quantification of the value proposition in financial terms: • How much is the output worth to customers and what are they likely to pay? • What is the benefit through preventing loss of life. rather than say starting their own company.

fit with other products etc. a well presented case in the language of the company with a compelling proposition is what is needed to round off the pitch to your internal senior managers. This matrix can be used to make sense of the way that an innovation fits into the overall strategy of the company. a team that can deliver and a clear line of sight to customer orders. The Ansoff Matrix – by Igor Ansoff (1957) In generic terms. It is somewhat dependent on the imagination of the team using the matrix. New Customer/Market Existing Technology /Product New The use of the matrix allows us to pose a number of questions: • Are we innovating within a comfort zone of existing customers/products? In other words is the innovation incremental? This has implications for market entry. it is probably most helpful to use the Ansoff Matrix. through to a fine grained fit within product categories and customer needs.You will also need to demonstrate that you have internal support. described below. Common sense understanding of the financial implications. It can be viewed from a high level. One of the best worked models for making sense of how to present the fit of the new market/product innovation with the company’s strategy is illustrated by the Ansoff model. • Are we taking new technologies/innovations to existing markets/customers? These new innovations might also open up new markets. with axes of markets and technologies/products. risks. The greater the fine grained use of the matrix the more the distance from competitors and thus the more compelling the proposition. thus diversifying our portfolio? But the essence of it is that the innovation is in markets we understand? Are the innovations more about market entry? Taking an existing product/service innovation and growing the market place? And to achieve these new market entries do we need to adapt the product/service? And finally is it completely new to us/the marketplace and to customers? • • Further generic questions might include: • Are we innovating with products or with processes? Are they radical to us or to the market? • What is the minimum market size that will make it attractive to us? Is there a global unmet need for this innovation? • What are the implementation costs? 6 .. for managers to make a business case internally.

It needs to have tolerance of risk. such as personal skills. work rate. S Vyakarnam and J. The leader needs to learn and teach. In the first instance. exhibit integrity. that a team role is simply “a tendency to behave. Belbin found that human behavior in decision making groups is not random. selection of team members is accomplished through examining track records. references. Thomas International are just three more such examples. commitment determination and persistence. “ As a result of his research he identified 8 distinct roles. communication. Once a team starts to form and shape – other dynamics take over such as compatibility. and build entrepreneurial culture.• • Are there regulatory issues we need to consider? Or industry standards? What are the risks – to brand. vol 23:pp236-256 2 2. social dynamics. motivation to excel. team focus of control. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. deal with adversity. (Timmons. coaching tools and models for opening up discussions on team formation and development. There are many psychometric instruments. The cautionary note is that in a typical entrepreneurial team there may not be 8 people. There are of course many psychometric instruments to assist in team building. preferred work styles. Scholars on the one hand and people in organizations on the other develop their own preferred approaches. but it is to acknowledge that individuals within a smaller team may well have to adopt many of these roles. 1999) There are typically two stages to the evolution of a team – the formation and the continued development. motivations. 7 . honesty. ambiguity and uncertainty. On Enterprisers we have used the term role inventory developed by Meredith Belbin as an example of one such instrument. adaptability. ability to deliver on promises and the day to day experience of working together in good and hard times. 1. skills needed in the team and the potential for the chemistry to work between team members. International Small Business Journal. contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way. to the team to the business? Team Building The Entrepreneurial Team The entrepreneurial team is a key ingredient for success.2 Underlying much of what happens in team formation and development may be described as the softer aspects of team building. Belbin’s theory of team roles was developed after many years of observation and research using personality tests and behavior analysis. be resilient. An effective team will be made up of a range of people who can perform a variety of roles and majority of the time most people have 2 or 3 preferred roles within a team and most people can be flexible about the roles they adopt. personalities. The team needs to have relevant experience and track record. Handelberg: (2005) Four Themes of the Impact of Management Teams on Organizational Performance: Implications for Future Research of Entrepreneurial Teams. creativity. dependability. Special Issue 6. values and ethics. opportunity obsession. 16 PF. He acknowledged. leadership.

creative Resource Investigator Role: To explore outside resources and develop contacts that may be helpful to the team As a person: Enthusiastic. intellectual.Plant Role: To act as a prime source of ideas and innovation for the team As a person: Individualistic. quietly charismatic Coordinator 8 . unorthodox. self-confident. fair minded. extrovert. serious minded. communicative. good under pressure Role: To control and organize the activities of the team. making best use of the resources available As a person: Mature. calm.

orderly. predictable Team Worker Implementer Completer Finisher Role: To ensure that the team’s efforts are as near perfect as possible and that nothing gets overlooked As a person: Conscientious.Shaper Role: To give shape and form to the team’s activities As a person: Outgoing. skeptical Role: To help individual members to achieve and maintain team effectiveness. reliable. anxious painstaking Belbin Team Roles 9 . As a person: Disciplined. likeable. critical. sober. dynamic. sensitive. As a person: Socially oriented. perceptive Role: To translate general concepts and plans into a practical working brief and carry out that brief in a systematic fashion. strategic. mild. has drive and courage Monitor-Evaluator Role: To analyse ideas and suggestions both from within and outside the team and to evaluate their feasibility and practical value in terms of team’s objectives As a person: Highly intelligent. conservative. hard-working. challenging.

But remember.” Dorye Roettger The main enemies of creativity are tunnel vision and lack of inspiration. Although groups can stifle the creative process. to get a different viewpoint. from the early inventive stage to the more commercial stages. because the more passionate you become over the idea and the more you face customer feedback and perhaps even skepticism . advocates at clients’ organizations Intellectual capital – What IP would you need in addition to what you have. but it is the best way to make something new happen3. Yes. London. offices. McGraw-Hill.? Social capital – Who do you need to get to know to enable you to open doors? These might be senior internal colleagues. this can be uncomfortable. channel partners..you will need to be flexible and open to thinking of new ways of solving problems. Your idea may embody something that can be protected by copyrights/patents etc. creativity techniques aren’t creative – YOU are. technology infrastructure etc. (1999) Instant Creativity. R. These resources can be classified as: • Human capital – in other words who do you need in your team with the right level of skills.Ability to Imagine It and Do It Creativity Entrepreneurs and successful managers are and need to be creative in the way they see opportunities and harness energies to solve problems. (2000) The Big Book of Creativity Games. “There are no problems…only opportunities to be creative. shifting in and out of a group can maximise the creative output of that group4. Financial capital – how much money will you need to convert the idea into a business? Where will you find that money and how will you “pay it back”? Fixed assets – what facilities do you need in terms of laboratory. 10 .. NY. B. but is it sufficient to protect it from competing solutions or will you need additional surrounding/augmenting IP? • • • • 3 4 Clegg. Kogan Page Limited. Epstein. and Birch. to offer you the opportunity to do something you wouldn’t normally do. This is a crucial skill set to develop. P. The idea of a creativity technique is to push you away from the well-trodden path. Either we know too much about something to do anything but continue trudging down the same path or we haven’t got the vision to see a new destination. Team ability to identify resources Specifying the resources needed to enable your opportunity to go to market is usually one of the early steps you need to take.

In all cases and not least for your own satisfaction as a team – especially if you are going to devote your energy into the venture is to “prove it”. customers and hoping to arrange delayed payments to suppliers etc. government grants. Does the technology work.. Early adoption by prospective customers Raising “internal” budgets – from family. friends. from investors. Branding – getting the essence of who you are so you can communicate the vision and value to the customers Presence on website And a 101 other crucial tasks! 11 . you may even approach your friends and family.Proving it No doubt you will be seeking funding. and others Finding a senior colleague (or mentor) who can provide access to budgets. is it novel. the business model and the overall service/product package Effective beta tests with demonstration clients. can it be protected and if so why? But more than anything else – do customers want it and will they pay for it? Beyond resources what are the key activities that will determine the success or otherwise of your proposed opportunity? For example: • • • • • • • • • Conducting market research/client research? Proof of concept – the technology. This may be central to your prospects.

But at a high level there are some fundamental principles as follows: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Building social capital is a two way process. . takes time and is a lifetime asset. The manifestation of social capital is through networking. noisy or just not their “thing”. energy. Get the host to introduce you to people you would like to meet. Many people also know about you That you can reach key decision makers within about 3.so make sure you get about. Building your social capital is a subtle process. Networking Tips • • • If you go with a friend (a colleague). Shake your contact’s hand firmly.4. There are two main forms of this – structural social capital – which forms as a result of formal interactions and relational – which forms through friendships. experience.phone calls/emails That people are happy to introduce you to their senior contacts You have to become known for something special You are also someone that gets known to be helpful. connections that people have in the wider environment. • • • Make use of these tips during any networking event. open and sharing Other key tips • • Find the network brokers – the people who know the most number of people Ensure you “feed” the broker with information.. socializing together etc. Broadly this would be defined as social capital. This is to miss the point that among the resources needed to implement ideas/opportunities is the knowledge. It is highly dependent on reciprocity You need to be sensitive when to approach people – depending on where they fit in the social pecking order It requires trust It requires follow through – keeping your word Being sensitive and ensuring confidentiality (so there is no room for negative gossip) You never embarrass the person that made the introduction An indicator of success would be that you begin to form a network where you know many people. ensure they know about you. expertise.Networking Skills Networking can sometimes be seen in a rather negative light by people who think it may be exploitative. Sometimes relational social capital can lead to friendships and sometimes relationships can lead to opportunities for formal interactions (business or otherwise). 12 . Plaxo etc. shallow.. separate or you will stand talking with him or her. get to know people. LinkedIn. knowledge. insights – beign helpful gives you much more than you give Becoming the norm See Facebook.

Questions you might want to ask guest entrepreneurs at the networking event • • • How did you get the idea to start the business? Why did you start the business? What are your personal values/goals in driving the business forward? • What are the sources of finance in the early stage of your business? • What are the routes to market for your products and services? • What is your business model (e. Make rough notes straight after the event and then write them up as soon as you can. play with your hair. joint venture. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Give honest and sincere appreciation. -------?” Watch your body language – Do not fidget. consulting.. Ask questions. Get business cards and ask “can I contact you. Be a good listener. avoid statements. Show respect of the other person’ opinions. or chew gum. 13 . be enthusiastic. license. Never say “you are wrong”.g.• • • • • • • • • Make comfortable eye contact. and smile.) and why do you employ this particular model? “Networking is part of the process of developing your social capital and constantly building relationships”. Get referral(s). etc. manufacturing.

Naturally being able to listen is key. To get you started – here are a few prompts. So one of the skills you need it to be able to reflect on what you are learning.Reflections Demonstrating your ability to learn from mistakes and feedback It is said that entrepreneurs learn from making mistakes! Actually they also learn by not repeating mistakes. and creating strategies for how you will behave next time round. what you observe. Here are a few prompts for your thought for the day! • • Write down your definition of entrepreneurship: What did I learn about the resources needed to start up a new venture? (Also discuss what you learnt about the process of starting a new venture) What characteristics do you have that most closely resemble those of an entrepreneur? What have you done that most resembles an entrepreneurial process? What inspired or put you off entrepreneurship as a result of listening to the guest speakers? Have you changed your perceptions of entrepreneurship as a result of today and if so in what way? • • • • 14 . but in addition you should develop an ability to reflect on what is going on around you.

This might be about how much money or what other resource you need and how your supporter will benefit. 15 . The following is a checklist of what you should try to include in your pitch. In our experience. Or you may be asking for some other form of support for your project and within this statement you need to reassure the person to whom you are pitching that there are no/low risks in taking the next steps. A good elevator pitch also enhances your personal credibility in promoting your project. Always start with a bold statement of the problem and market opportunity (attention grabber) Our product is (simple. without the need for any visual aids or props.(your main source of competitive advantage) We need to raise £…. making new contacts at networking events or in opening up a conversation with a senior colleague whose support you seek.Pitching Whether you are trying to raise money from investors for a commercial project or trying to persuade a grant making agency. non-technical description) That provides (key benefit that solves a problem) Your solution should be different and compelling For (target customers) Who have/are (their compelling reason to buy) Unlike (objective analysis of competitor shortcomings) Our unique selling point is…. Failure to grab the audience’s attention with their opening statement. The key is to have ready a well rehearsed and well delivered pitch that covers the key areas of your proposition. The opening statement must demonstrate a compelling unmet need and have a ‘wow’ factor. entrepreneurs and students frequently make the following mistakes when pitching: • • Going on about the technology – way beyond the interest of the audience. your company or institution to sponsor your idea – you will need to make an “elevator pitch”. • • • • • • • • • • Common Mistakes Anyone who has watched the ‘Dragon’s Den’ on television will be painfully aware that delivering a professional and compelling pitch can be fraught with difficulty.in order to…. The following section is worded for raising money from investors – but the principles apply to all situations where you are trying to gain the support and resources you need for implementing your project/idea. In these tight situations you need to be able to come over in a compelling way so as to grab the attention of people who can either support you directly or give you connections/introductions to people who can. The Elevator Pitch The ‘Elevator Pitch’ is a very short (one or two minutes) introduction to your project/business and is something you will use regularly when introducing yourself.(why you need the money) Call to action (a way to engineer feedback and a follow up meeting) .

you will find that you need to try and identify the same four basic categories of connections – gatekeepers. you may need to figure out who you need to talk to at client organizations. agencies and potential client organizations. diplomacy and the support of people who can open doors for you. working gradually to win over support. This takes careful research. 16 . • • Who are you pitching to and what stage of the opportunity are you pitching? As you develop your opportunity – so your story will get more sophisticated and the pitch will be more refined and compelling – assuming of course you listen and take effective feedback. regulatory Institutions and other organizations in the value chain. give you practical advice and counsel you with wisdom from time to time. influencers and time wasters. You must clearly state how much money you are seeking to raise in this round of investment. imagine you are explaining your concept to a truculent and non-too-bright teenager! (This advice was received from a Venture Capitalist…) Failure to ask for what you need! You aren’t delivering your pitch for your entertainment or that of the audience. You will need to adapt your pitch and the way you reach these people. One of the common failures is to assume you know the people who can help you and not seek out further information and introductions. influencers and the decision makers. In some ways you may need to circle around them. decision makers. Time wasters – who give you the impression that their voice matters but in reality they may well be past their “use by date” or who may block you because they support another project. You must also explain what you will use the money for Not tailoring the pitch to the audience. In all cases you need to find the gatekeepers. For political reasons or other reasons better known to themselves they do not tell you straight and this can waste a huge amount of your time and cause frustration. You never know when you will need a contact. As a guide. These ideas are derived from “buyer behavior” literature in marketing and are well developed models. One of the best ways of doing this is to find yourself a mentor who can advice you on the local terrain. but no matter how well you know your current contacts. Who will you be pitching to? Within an Organization are those might identify as: • • • Gatekeepers to resources and to senior decision makers Decision makers who can say yes or no – you need to research who these might be Influencers – people whose opinions are valued and who may not have a direct say in the decision but whose nod of approval or a quiet dissenting voice in a car park can make or break a project. • Even outside of organsiations as a solo entrepreneur who has to approach large bureaucracies. If you are in a sales role you are probably pretty good at this skill. In addition to the internal lobbying and pitching. to be entrepreneurial means you need to continuously grow your networks of connections.• Failure to explain upfront what the product is or to baffle the audience with jargon.

The Las Vegas factor! At various stages you will need to go up the corporate ladder to get the support of the most senior people. Our workstation is a digital film editor that lets you modify film images any way you choose. Think like an entertainer who practices for years in smaller clubs before making it to Las Vegas! These people will want to know: • Who else supports you? – This is crucial for personal and project credibility • • • • What is the hard evidence from the market place? Have you fully understood the way your project will fit within the company strategy? Do you know what the hot buttons are for the senior management and have you “got it”? Is the implementation team you propose credible? Do they have the experience and the expertise? In other words are they people who have earned the rights to take risks for the company? Example: Here is an example of a pitch by Silicon Graphics Silicon Graphics • • • • • • • Over 25% of film budgets are spent on post production editing. Here are some notes for you to help your team members to prepare their pitch. Helping each other. HP or IBM. Only once you are truly ready to get an audience with the most senior people is when you should go there. Empower and enable the ‘target person’ also to convince other appropriate people to become interested in your company Your elevator pitch should require no more than 1-2 minutes. empathy and urgency Convince the ‘target person’ to schedule a longer meeting with and be receptive to doing business with you. You get one shot at this level – so using the metaphor of entertainment – get plenty of practice with people and audiences whose opinions you trust. 17 . Could we arrange a meeting to discuss this investment opportunity? The effective delivery of your elevator pitch will: • • • • Demonstrate sincerity. and in live situations where you can verify the proposition. It’s aimed at post production film engineers who are dissatisfied with the unreliability of traditional editing packages. Unlike workstations such as Sun. including listening Communicate a sense of value. we have assembled all the interfaces needed for post-production film editing into one package. Trials have shown that our workstation can reduce post production budgets by up to 50% We are looking to raise $20m in private equity to take this exciting product to market.

Take ownership for the feedback (“I noticed.”) 5. The environment should be right .. Be sensitive to the context in which you give feedback (one-on-one). Carefully evaluate the accuracy of the feedback and then modify your behaviour if you choose. Receiving Feedback 1..). Which produce emotional reactions (“Here’s a dumb thing you did..”. etc. 4.. the following aspects of nonverbal behavior): Eye Contact/Facial Expression Position and Movement of Body Verbal How would you describe the speaker’s tone? Was the speaker confident? Enthusiastic? Convincing? Passionate? Did the speaker use vocal inflections to stress key points or show enthusiasm for the idea? Structure/Organization Did the speaker provide a brief overview of the idea? Did the speaker offer evidence to support the proposal? Giving Appropriate Feedback 1. Use “I” statements. 5. Be sure your intention is to be helpful.comfortable for the receiver. Try not to let defenses build. 3. Feedback should refer to performance.. “I observed... 6..”.”.. and opinions should be presented as such and not as facts. Be specific. “I saw... Feedback should be given in a manner which communicates acceptance of the receiver as a worthwhile person and of that person’s right to be different. Gather additional information from other sources or by observing your own behaviour and other people’s reaction to it. Remember that perceptions. 2. 3. “I felt.. 2. Summarize your understanding of the feedback you receive. but mentally note questions or disagreements.Observation and Feedback Form Nonverbal Does the speaker’s body language demonstrate true interest in the listener? (Notice especially. Listen carefully. 18 . 4.”. not to the individual. Avoid loaded terms. reactions.. never a surprise. Ask clarifying questions if necessary. behaviour or outcomes.

Keeping the Dream Alive Think about the following questions. Often a new project may not fit with the dominant business model. risk taking and proactive in small projects. • • • • How do I now intend to move forward with my project? In what way will I become more entrepreneurial in all aspects of my life? What are the four most important things I have learnt about myself? What are the main take home messages from the programme? 19 . It is of course much harder to demonstrate “fire in the belly”. the support of senior and well respected people in the sector/community (without “dropping names”). but through softer means where others talk positively about you. Not by being boring and bragging. Gaining a track record of more successes than failures will help as evidence builds of your mindset. You need to be able to demonstrate track record of success and learning from difficulties. the evidence of having been in touch with customers. You need to build a network of advocates of your ability and track record. but this may translate to visible passion for your idea. You might also like to get a reputation for seeking forgiveness rather than permission! To achieve this you need a strong set of social skills where you have developed a wonderful network of people who support you and from time to time can speak up for you! All this takes time and patience too. ability to both spot opportunities and take tough commercial decisions. energy. You have to build your personal credibility for being innovative. Make sure that people know about these through soft personal marketing. may be just too small to have an impact on the bottom line – something that might be more easily solved in the short term by better sales efforts of existing products! So – you will need to demonstrate a common sense understanding of business and the commercial nature of the industry or market sector you will be entering. the camaraderie in the team.Patience and personal credibility It takes time to build ones personal credibility.