Traits of Entrepreneurial Leadership-Perseverance
Entrepreneurial Leadership is comprised of four facets, Confidence, Independence, Perseverance and Focus and we have explored several of these in recent posts. I will examine Perseverance today and give some classic examples of what perseverance is and how it supports the Entrepreneurial Leadership model.
Perseverance is the ability to stay on course in the face of strong, if not overwhelming odds, that might make someone less committed willing to throw in the towel. We all know Perseverance when we see it. I well remember a book from my childhood, “The Little Engine who Could” and I can think of countless other stories. Too often, especially in today’s world, we have the perception that we should make things easier for those around us, especially our children, while what we should be doing is coaching them through their hardships, but not eliminating the challenge. Working through these kinds of hardships creates perseverance.
One of my favorite stories of perseverance involves a personal journey I undertook with a group of committed volunteers from 1990 through 1996. I was part of a small committee with a local chamber of commerce and we were given two goals to investigate for the community. One of these goals was to determine the steps for bringing a YMCA to the area. Three of us on this committee took on the YMCA task and we continued to overcome obstacle after obstacle, while building a critical mass of support with in the community. The leadership of the YMCA fully expected our group to go away as the goals/obstacles/achievements become more challenging, but we continued to overcome the challenges and were finally granted a YMCA charter in 1994. Shortly thereafter we began a campaign to raise $1 million dollars toward the construction of a new facility and we reached $2.5 million before we stopped the first phase of this campaign. This event, while time consuming and challenging, also provided a great boost of confidence for me and for those I worked with as we continually overcame the challenges set before us. There were momentary pauses and short-term failures, but our group persevered and kept the course until we reached and greatly surpassed our goals. I still look back with fondness on this event in my life.
Many other examples of perseverance could be cited, many that exhibit greater achievement than mine. One in particular that I recently read about was Edward “Bear” Grylls and his ability to overcome great injury from a fall to then go on and climb Mount Everest. After he was first injured it was feared he might never walk again, but he quickly got “back on his feet” and used his will and God-given ability to reach new heights.
Entrepreneurial leaders need perseverance to deal with the unique and challenging issues they will face in the change-oriented world we now live in. Those who cannot persevere will surely fail, or not reach the goals they are capable of.
Are you an entrepreneurial leader? Can you persevere?
We will talk about the last facet of Entrepreneurial Leadership in our next post when we discuss Focus. I hope you will be with us.