S1E5: Gino Wickman | Are You A “True Entrepreneur”?

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S1E5: Gino Wickman | Are You A “True Entrepreneur”?
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Leadership is a craft. Gino Wickman, founder of EOS Worldwide and creator of EOS, shares the essential traits of a strong leader and how to know if you should make the entrepreneurial leap… or not. Gino’s story illustrates the difference between a leader and an entrepreneur and why it’s always worth it to address issues directly.

Gino has been an entrepreneur since he was in his 20s. He didn’t do well in high school and never went to college, but he knew that he was going to be successful. After earning his real estate license and a six-figure income by 23 years old, Gino joined his father’s real estate business and turned it around in 3 years, creating what would become EOS in the process. 

He realized that he excelled at helping other entrepreneurs run their businesses, but only got to spend 5% of his work doing that. He needed to start a business that utilized his unique ability. Gino left his father’s company to build EOS Worldwide.

Recognizing A Leader

Leadership, good and bad, leaves an impact on all who come into contact with it. Gino points to his father, Floyd, as the biggest impact on his own leadership style. Floyd taught Gino the importance of having a vision, how to communicate it, and how to inspire others with that vision. He says his father is especially good at broaching pain points that other leaders would tend to shy away from. 

Gino emphasizes that you owe it to your business and employees to address problems and have difficult conversations. Be direct yet humble, and make it clear that communicating these hard truths is in the interest of that person’s well-being.

Outside Experts Have Limitations

From his many years as an EOS Implementer, Gino has learned that there is power in openness, honesty, and vulnerability — and there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all solutions.

Gino has witnessed many leadership teams default to seeking outside solutions for internal problems. He believes that 99% of the time this is a mistake.

[24:59] “I believe the answer [to a business’ problem] is almost always in the room.”

When leadership teams believe that, their confidence and productivity goes through the roof. 

Entrepreneur-In-The-Making…Or Not?

Gino has conducted countless hours of research on what makes a successful entrepreneur. In his book “Entrepreneurial Leap,” he defines a “true entrepreneur” as someone who owns a privately held business containing 10-250 employees.

The true entrepreneur has six essential traits:

  1. Visionary
  2. Passionate
  3. Problem-solver
  4. Driven
  5. Risk-taker
  6. Responsible

Gino believes these traits are the product of nature over nurture, and that anyone with these traits will at some point in life become an entrepreneur. He warns against taking the entrepreneurial leap if you do not have all six of these traits. Individuals who lack them still can be highly successful business owners, but they will be miserable as entrepreneurs.

Find Your Business Type

True entrepreneurs must gain clarity on what kind of business they fit best before making the leap.

[46:14] “Every entrepreneur is incapable of being successful in every business. You’ve got to find your perfect match. It will greatly increase your odds of success.”

Gino has seen entrepreneurs make copious mistakes, himself included. He distills them down into eight entrepreneurial mistakes:

  1. Not having a vision.
  2. Hiring the wrong people.
  3. Not spending time with people.
  4. Not knowing your customer.
  5. Not charging enough.
  6. Not staying true to your core values.
  7. Not knowing your numbers.
  8. Not crystalizing roles and responsibilities.  

When leaders avoid these mistakes, their businesses thrive.

Defining Leadership

Gino delineates that leadership is thinking work and management is doing work. 

[55:49] “Leadership is simply about providing people clear directions.”

Visionaries are excellent at inspiring people and giving the business direction, but they are poor managers. If you’re a visionary, you should hire an integrator to do the management for you.

If leaders want to stay sharp, Gino recommends:

  1. Regular exercise, healthy diet, and meditation. 
  2. Taking time to educate yourself and hone your craft.
  3. Elevating others.
  4. Setting aside time for clarity breaks. This enables clearer planning, confidence and direction.
  5. Embracing the power of 10-year thinking. It slows down time, allowing you to make better decisions, gain a sense of peace and reach your goal faster.

[58:59] “Being a leader is a craft.”

Entrepreneurial Leap: Do You Have What It Takes to Become an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurial Leap is available to Order on Amazon.com

– Visit e-leap.com to Take the Free Entrepreneur-in-the-Making Assessment

– Subscribe to the Entrepreneurial Leap YouTube Channel

Learn More:

Also Mentioned In This Episode:

About the Lead Now Podcast

Before the pandemic hit, 44% of economic activity in the US came from smaller businesses. Since the pandemic, 42% of small business owners have reported shuttered operations. Leadership is more important now than ever before. In the face of massive amounts of information, fear, and stress, inaction is not an option. The good news is entrepreneurs are natural leaders. That’s why EOS Worldwide passionately believes that the world’s entrepreneurs will lead their teams, their organizations, and society into the future. 

Listen to insightful and inspiring discussions from top companies running on EOS about how to be your best as a leader. Hosted by Mike Paton, Certified EOS Implementer® and former EOS visionary.

About Mike Paton

After discovering the power of EOS in 2007, Mike Paton became one of the first Professional EOS Implementers®. Since then, he’s conducted over 1,400 sessions for more than 135 companies, co-authored the book Get a Grip with Gino Wickman, conducted talks and workshops around the world, and spent five years as EOS Worldwide’s visionary. Today, Mike Paton remains a Certified EOS Implementer® and serves as EOS Worldwide’s Global Ambassador.

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