Serial entrepreneur and committed philanthropist Roman Semiokhin knows what it takes to build, operate and grow a successful business. In order to drive any enterprise to success entrepreneurs need a variety of skills. One of the most important traits of any successful business leader is mindset. This article will explore how curiosity and open-mindedness are critical to business success.
For better or worse, disruptive ventures disavow aspects of the old world that are deemed to be broken or dysfunctional, replacing them with new norms – and often new leadership – to carve out a new path for the market.
Most entrepreneurs develop what is essentially a form of tunnel vision in terms of pressing ahead with their disruptive business ventures. To some extent this is unavoidable, as launching a disruptive venture is an arduous and highly stressful process that calls for a significant commitment in terms of both time and money. However, when an entrepreneur becomes so blinkered that they are blinded beyond the confines of their own business or sector, they potentially do themselves and their businesses a huge disservice.
Businesses do not exist in a vacuum. Indeed, neither do industries. Both are part of a wider community and ecosystem that sustains them. Entrepreneurs seeking to ‘disrupt’ their market must first invest sufficient time into building an understanding of the broader dynamics that shape their industry, thinking critically about the status quo and why things are the way they are.
As Roman Semiokhin points out, open mindedness is a key trait of all successful entrepreneurs, the vocation calling for both a critical eye and intellectual flexibility. Although a project may feel all-consuming, demanding the full attention of leadership, it is imperative that entrepreneurs do not allow their frame of reference, perception and focus to become so narrow that it impedes their ability to spot potential challenges and opportunities on the horizon. Rather, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to maintain a fine balance between meeting the diverse needs of their business and keeping a fresh perspective.
Disruptive entrepreneurs are keenly aware of this cycle. They observe the markets, systems and processes, constantly watching out for aspects that are ripe for innovation – and identifying systems that no longer work that need to be reappraised or scrapped completely. They identify opportunities to make things work more efficiently, bringing a fresh perspective to the market. They question the status quo, bucking outdated practices and informal rules, particularly those that unfairly favour a particular set of people based on reasons other than merit.
The disruptive entrepreneur prioritises effectiveness and efficiency. Rather than doggedly doing things the way they have always been done, they scrutinise practices and norms. If, upon closer inspection, they discover elements that do not reasonably advance the industry and cannot be justified, they take steps to change or replace them.
Just as individual businesses rise and fall, so too do entire industries. This concept is an inevitable part of capitalism. Creative destruction is the process through which dynamic and innovative organisations disrupt the free market, causing competitors that fail to adapt to become obsolete and enabling forward-thinking companies to usurp their antiquated contemporaries.