Successful people like Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates are known to have tremendous passion, determination and a vision far beyond to see opportunities instead of limitations.

What is the secret to successful entrepreneurship? Is it passion? Vision or focus? Is it persistence and hard work?

Harvard Business School (HBS) researched this question and identified behaviors that make entrepreneurs successful in their article here .

“We’ve always had a hard time being able to identify the skills and behaviors of entrepreneurial leaders,” says HBS Professor Lynda Applegate, who has spent 20 years studying leadership approaches and behaviors of successful entrepreneurs. “Part of the problem is that people usually focus on an entrepreneurial ‘personality’ rather than identifying the unique skills and behaviors of entrepreneurs who launch and grow their own firms.”

To uncover the most common skills and attributes, the Harvard research team administered a self-assessment to 1,300 HBS alumni. Further, to prepare for the assessment, the research team combined literary reviews and entrepreneur interviews. Through their analysis, they identified the following:

11 Skills & Attributes Common In Entrepreneurs:
1. Identification of Opportunities.
2. Vision and Influence.
3. Comfort with Uncertainty.
4. Assembling and Motivating a Business Team.
5. Efficient Decision Making.
6. Building Networks.
7. Collaboration and Team Orientation.
8. Management of Operations.
9. Finance and Financial Management.
10. Sales.
11. Preference for Established Structure.

The Future of Entrepreneurship, According to Harvard

Harvard Business School plans for more people to take the assessment in order to have a richer data set that can offer insights to scholars, educators and entrepreneurs.

“The entrepreneurial leaders we know are constantly searching for tools that can help them become more self-aware so they can be more effective,” Janet Kraus, Harvard Business School explains. “This tool is going to be uniquely useful in that it was specifically developed to help entrepreneurs gain a deeper understanding of the skills and behaviors that they need to be successful.”

What’s exciting is that this information will also be useful in identifying skills and behaviors needed to start entrepreneurial leadership in companies and it will help to understand how an entrepreneurial leader can continue to lead innovation from startup through scale-up.

“Today, I often see that the creativity and innovation that was so prevalent in the early days of an entrepreneurial venture gets squeezed out as the company grows and starts to scale,” says Applegate. “But, rather than replace entrepreneurs with professional managers, we need to ensure that we have entrepreneurial leadership and creativity in all organizations and at levels in organizations. We hope that our research will help clarify the behavior and skills needed and, over time, will help us track the entrepreneurial leadership behaviors and skills of companies of all size, in all industries, and around the world.”

This study mentions that given the critical importance of entrepreneurial leaders in driving the economy and improving society, shockingly little is understood about them. I invite you to take a little bit of time and reflect on what makes you or someone you know a successful entrepreneur or a successful entrepreneurial leader?

Think about how you can become a successful entrepreneur or entrepreneurial leader? What skills do you want to develop? Share your feedback with me on my Facebook page .

Author's Bio: 

Ulrike Berzau, Executive Coach & Consultant, works with individuals, teams and organization to achieve exceptional results in life and business. With extensive experience as healthcare executive, she is known for providing highly respected insights and creative solutions to secure continuous advancement and excellence. Ulrike has an unwavering passion for igniting the talent and brilliance in others and her international and multicultural experiences allow her to relate to a diverse audience. Her ambitious, yet well balanced, positive and inspiring mindset is the catalyst of her own success and assures the success of clients, staff and organizations.

Ulrike is the co-author of the International Best-Seller Imagine a Healthy You and an inspirational speaker. She is certified as Thinking into Results Consultant, Passion Test Facilitator, ASAP Engagement Consultant and Achieve Today Coach, and holds a Master’s Degree in Management, a Master’s Degree in Health Science, Physical Therapy, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.