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Entrepreneur vs Employee thinking

As part of the research for the succession planning book that I am writing, I have been reading a lot of blogs, books and websites. For the section about helping employees step up to leadership and management positions, and how to get them to think more entrepreneurially, I revisited a book (Entrepreneur by Q Learning) which I read several years ago and found the following table comparing how an entrepreneur and an employee typically (stereotypically perhaps?) think about various aspects of their working lives.

I have also just had my first experience of playing the Ca$hflow board game, which is based on the Rich Dad,  Poor Dad book and is all about escaping from the rat race by building up passive income, eg from businesses, property, shares etc. This is a good way to get the message across as well, and a much more realistic (if very Americanized) way to learn about money than, say, the Monopoly boardgame.

Entrepreneur thinking

Employee thinking

I need to make a profit I need a good monthly salary
I need a capital gain to retire on I need a good pension scheme
If you want to get to the top, start there I want a promotion
God, is it Friday already? Thank God it’s Friday
If I set up my own business I can employ well qualified people If I qualify I can get a good job
I have a dream I want a better job
What needs doing? What do you want me to do?
Here is my new product I have a great Idea
I want to be financially free I need a secure job
I never want to retire but I will be able to soon I look forward to retiring at 65
I want to control my own destiny I want high status
I want independence I want to stay on the boss’s good side
I need creativity and variety I like to keep my strength area
I have incredible job satisfaction I feel great frustration
I’m expecting unlimited income I need a fixed income
I want a capital gain I want a higher salary
Never give up I have done my best


Interesting that the word “risk” doesn’t appear anywhere in this table, even though to many people a willingness to take risks is seen as the main trait of entrepreneurs.

Which column reflects best how you see your worklife?

Please post a comment or contact me with your thoughts.

2 Responses to “Entrepreneur vs Employee thinking”

  1. Andy Hunt says:

    It is not their appetite for risk that sets many entrepreneurs apart from the average professional it’s the entrepreneurial zeal that immense passion about their work which in the long-term, this is the key to success.

  2. James Butler says:

    I think the attitude to risk is encapsulated in the first line. Employees are unwilling/unable to risk loss of income.

    I also think successful entrepreneurs are doers not dreamers – they get on with making dreams a reality. Employees will have ides, but don’t execute them.

    Great blog Andrew!

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