The Foundation has long been convinced of the merits of the strengths revolution and we ensure that everyone entering the Foundation community identifies their top strengths using Gallup’s Strengthsfinder. It is a helpful tool for assisting each person to increase their engagement and effectiveness. Recently Gallup came out with a second instrument that piqued our interest – it is the Entrepreneurial Profile 10 (EP10).
As Gallup explains, EP10 is a 30-minute assessment completed online, that measures 10 scientifically proven talents of successful entrepreneurs. It allows for early identification of entrepreneurial talent and provides a personalised developmental report that includes a personal intensity ranking for each talent. The assessment can be accessed here and costs $12. Alternatively for the more detailed, a book has been written on the instrument, with each book containing a code to take the assessment.
The 10 suggested talents and their explanations are listed below:
|1. Business Focus||The Business Focus talent couples sharp business instincts and a fascination with making money. They have an uncanny ability to look at data from which they can form unique insights. Ultimately, they evaluate decisions through the prism of profitability.|
|2. Confidence||The Confidence talent is keenly aware of their abilities. They harness this awareness to take quick and decisive action. They seize opportunities knowing they will succeed and use their talents to persist in the face of uncertainty and failure.|
|3. Creative Thinker||The Creative Thinker talent has a curious intellect that helps them constantly imagine new products, services, and solutions. They are quick learners who explore various options and consider novel solutions as they anticipate the future needs of their customers.|
|4. Delegator||The Delegator talent can trust and empower others to help grow their business. They know what their employees do best and position them to take responsibility for tasks at which they are most likely to excel. They can relinquish control and focus on growing the business.|
|5. Determination||The Determination talent pursues their goals with tenacity. They are intensely committed to success and are eager to take quick action. They rely on high motivation to turn adversity into opportunity. They can see beyond roadblocks and visualize a better future.|
|6. Independent||The Independent talent can single-handedly start and operate a business. They rely on high energy and extreme commitment to succeed in the gruelling grind of business creation. They firmly believe their actions decide the fate of their business and are motivated to make things happen.|
|7. Knowledge-Seeker||The Knowledge-Seeker talent understands that information is a valuable asset. They have a deep desire to acquire knowledge about all aspects of their business. They search for new information to solve problems and succeed in complex business environments.|
|8. Promotor||The Promoter talent speaks boldly on behalf of their company. They consistently communicate a clear vision of their business to customers and employees. They are great salespersons with an ability to form deep relationships and convince others to follow their well-defined business growth strategy.|
|9. Relationship-Builder||The Relationship-Builder talent has strong interpersonal skills that allow them to build a robust and diverse personal network. They rely on relationships to access resources and information essential to the success of their business.|
|10. Risk-Taker||The Risk-Taker talent embraces challenges with enthusiasm. They have a strong, charismatic, and confident personality. They naturally focus on the rewards of success instead of potential failure. They emotionally connect with customers and exceed their expectations.|
Source: EP10 Report
While not in complete agreement with all of the dimensions listed, for example Business Focus, where we believe that purpose is a better driver than money, the EP10 is a convenient tool to gain a sense of one’s entrepreneurial aptitude and competence.
But beyond the specifics of the tool itself, what is particularly intriguing is the vision behind the tool. It is a powerful plan for identifying and developing tomorrow’s business-builders because of the disproportionate economic impact that these individuals can have on the future.
The premise, as described by tool’s co-author Jim Clifton, is that “all talents, of any kind, explode with early identification and intentional development.” Knowing this to be true in some fields of human endeavour, we are well accustomed to the identification and development of rare academic, musical and sporting talent. However why do we not do the same with individuals with that rare ability to build a business? Particularly when one considers the now almost undisputed positive societal impact of responsible business builders.
The systematic identification of entrepreneurial talent becomes an even greater imperative when one considers that initial Gallup research suggests that high entrepreneurial talent is rarer than high IQ. It is claimed that only about five in 1,000 people have the aptitude for starting and growing a significant business. On the IQ side, 20 in 1,000 have IQ’s high enough to be accepted into Mensa. Exceptional intellectual talent is therefore four times as common as exceptional entrepreneurial talent.
To bring this thinking back to South Africa, there were just under 600,000 learners writing matric in 2014. Based on the above scarcity of exceptional talent, this would predict that there are approximately 3,000 individuals coming out of the school system each year with rare entrepreneurial talent – are we finding these individuals, are we developing them? The Foundation is committed to bringing around a 100 of these individuals a year into our entrepreneurial development pipeline. What is the pathway for the remaining 2,900?
It would make an important contribution to our entrepreneurial culture if we were able to harness tools such as the EP10 and other selection processes to develop a comprehensive entrepreneurial talent system whereby we had had full visibility of the “blue-chip” potential entrepreneurs coming out of the secondary education system. These individuals would then be subjected to intentional accelerated development, including specialised entrepreneurial curriculum, appropriate internships and mentoring. This relatively achievable intervention would likely have a significant impact on our economic future. It is not beyond our combined capabilities, in a fact on a small scale, it is very much what the Foundation has been doing for the last 10 years.