Do you have big ideas? Most who are attracted to the life of an art consultant do! That’s hopefully why you are here today, and why everyone at Art Force Academy seeks to provide the structure, resources and tools you need to succeed.
In this module, we explore teachings from Art Force’s President and CEO, Bill Kieger. Welcome to the Ultimate Entrepreneur Series – Course 2, Module 3. In this series, we will follow a path to the Entrepreneurial Learning Process, a roadmap for identifying ideas, managing the flow of information and executing a plan.
Part 1: Fundamental Traits
This section of the module draws from a series of LinkedIn posts shared by Bill in the weeks leading up to this release.
The materials tie directly into the mission and tasks of an art consultant, so it has been folded into the art consultant certification program.
In the first post, Bill recounts 25 years of distilling the work of leaders like Stephen Covey, Jim Collins, Napoleon Hill and his own observations into actionable behaviors. The conclusions? There are three essential traits successful entrepreneurs possess. In the spirit of Occam’s Razer – where the simplest answer is the right answer – Bill admits that these traits appear to be too simple at first glance. This is not by accident!
Three Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
- Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) – Growth Mindset
- Strong Character – Ethics & Discipline
- Large Capacity
When put together, these traits culminate to create the key ingredient to success – growth!
Fundamental Trait #1: Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
There are elementally two modes of thought that can easily be separated from one another. One can possess a scarcity mentality or a growth mindset. Both can be nuanced to include caution, but this can be presented in either the form of cautious optimism or cautious pessimism. Choose your path wisely! It’s the first domino in a long series of cause and effect.
People with a PMA see the world through a lens of growth and opportunity. They are constantly in search of ways to improve both themselves and the world around them. As Bill wrote, “Additionally, those with a PMA have an engaged Reticular Activating System: their brain focuses the senses to be acutely aware of information that would assist in achieving desired outcomes.”
By developing a form of “productive paranoia”, people with a PMA still practice caution, but always with a positive inner dialogue or “self-talk”. By moving toward their goals with positivity as their fuel, people with a PMA can overcome obstacles and ‘bring about what they think about’.
Fundamental Trait #2: Character – Ethics & Discipline
Ethics go beyond philosophical thought. For a person of high character, ethical standards set the board. Once that board is set, those standards guide the pieces as they move into place. People with character practice integrity, by essentially doing the right thing even when no one else is looking.
While this is something that is easier said than done, like any other habit, the more one acts from a center of ethics and discipline, the more principle-based actions become second nature.
Fundamental Trait #3: Large Capacity
By focusing on high impact, low implementation initiatives systematically, one can increase their capacity. “Those with this trait have a high degree of emotional intelligence,” writes Bill, “and are able to re-adjust their thoughts and behaviors when they are off-track.”
It’s far easier to stay on track when you consider the “Lazy Smart” mentality those with a large capacity pursue. Work smarter, not harder, but also work systematically to drive the largest impact with the least amount of energy exerted.
Part II: Entrepreneurial Learning Process
In the second installment of this series, Bill discusses the Entrepreneurial Learning Process, which revolves around R2 A2: Recognize, Relate, Assimilate and Execute.
For hopeful art consultants, this frame of mind is important since consultative selling draws from the same well as the entrepreneurial spirit.
Before we dive into RD A2 deeper, let’s take a look at the success rate for entrepreneurial ventures. As Bill outlined in his article, less than 2 percent of patent ideas successfully create operating revenue. Moreover, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within 18 months of starting a new business.
That means entrepreneurs have a survival rate as low as 20 percent.
This begs the question: what do these rare survivors know and/or do that other entrepreneurs do not? Here, R2 A2 comes into play.
Again, Bill calls upon the importance of the Reticular Activating System:
“It is advantageous to have an engaged Reticular Activating System, meaning that your brain focuses the senses to be acutely aware of information that would assist in achieving desired outcomes. Having an engaged Reticular Activating System will aid in following the 4 steps of R2 A2.”
Step 1: Recognize
Is your thought a technique, idea, or principle (TIP)? For instance:
- Techniques: This is the “how”. For an art consultant, this could include your customer relationship management (CRM) system. It’s the “how” for prospecting and creating a database of potential clients.
- Ideas: This is the point of origin – the very source of your goal. For an art consultant, this could be, “How can I get more involved in working with healthcare organizations through the power of evidence-based design?”
Principles: These are laws, much like gravity. They are things that have lasted the test of time to uncover observable truths – unmovable in nature! For an art consultant, these are many of the principles discussed in great length in the 5 Breakthrough Selling Skills from module 1.
Step 2: Relate
Once you’ve successfully identified whether you are working with a technique, idea or principle, it’s time to judge its value. What is the return on investment? Does it have intrinsic value or tangible, financial value? More importantly, is this value measurable?
Last and perhaps most importantly, does your TIP align with your core business, mission and goals?
Step 3: Assimilate
Here is where the rubber meets the road…almost anyway. Who will “own” this TIP? What needs to happen to make implementing the TIP possible? How will it assimilate with your people, processes and culture?
Examining assimilation carefully and with great consideration can help immensely when it comes time to “go live”.
Step 4: Action/Execution
Now we’re rolling! But remember, it’s important to be ready to re-evaluate and re-assimilate as you encounter problems or obstacles.
Ready, Fire, Aim!
For entrepreneurs and art consultants alike, the ready, fire, aim! approach is extremely effective for making quick adjustments and cheap mistakes. This is the very principle on which Art Force Academy is built, in fact! Caring this example forward, we are constantly adapting and changing our content offerings based on feedback from members like you.
For smaller organizations, it often makes sense to execute and adjust, rather than adjust, adjust, adjust, and then cautiously execute – a luxury and strategy larger organizations often employ with the ready, aim, fire approach.
When you really break down the characteristics and daily practices of each camp, how different are entrepreneurs and art consultants at the end of the day?
We feel these lessons are important to share with our art consultants in training because it’s a profession for the entrepreneurial minded. You’ll need to become acutely aware of your TIPs, the impact-to-implementation ratio of driving high impact initiatives, employing R2 A2 and utilizing your Reticular Activating System to drive meaningful initiatives forward. Once you are on your own, by staying true to this process, you will never have to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” With your TIPs clearly in mind, the road is clear!