Today’s post is by Mark Hopkins, author of Shortcut to Prosperity: 10 Entrepreneurial Habits and a Roadmap for an Exceptional Career (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Here’s Mark…
While I think being an entrepreneur is awesome, I know it’s not for everybody. But being an entrepreneurial actuary is. What do entrepreneurial actuaries do? They learn to be aware of those moments when an opportunity presents itself (the essence of entrepreneurship) and learn how to quickly sort out the risks and rewards of pursuing the opportunity (the function of an actuary). It’s not all about entrepreneurship—you can and should leverage these skills within an established organization.
The problem is, we are not typically trained to do this. Our education system works best when students pay attention and avoid distractions. Focus on the work in front of you and accept the solution you’re offered. How many times were you encouraged to think of a problem in a different light or to develop your own solution in school? Probably not often. The goal of formal education is to give you the tools you need to gain perspective, communicate, reason, and solve problems that you are likely to encounter in life. The problem is that the same “color inside the lines” system is employed in most colleges and virtually every workplace that I have ever experienced.
Static Companies Focus on Productivity
Employers value productivity in the workforce, especially from employees at the entry level. And productivity comes from doing the same activity, the same “right” way every time, getting faster and more proficient each time you do it. The result is to drive quality and productivity up, but the unintended consequence is to deemphasize the use of your brain to figure out better ways to do things. No ad-libbing please. That’s how mistakes are made. And most organizations have gotten very good at cultivating these kind of workers. But efficiently producing today’s products is no longer good enough. They also need to be continually evolving along with their customers.
Leading Companies Continually Innovate