There is a gifted sector of talent that is regularly overlooked in corporate America today. The talent who make up this sector come from a wide range of backgrounds and all possess a real understanding of what it takes to build a business. This talent pool is one I refer to as “entreprerrenials” (trademark pending!) These individuals joined a start-up or started their own business and, for whatever reason, are now looking to rejoin a corporate organization.
Many companies build a “force field” to shield them from entreprerrenials. That’s a big mistake. I have seen the unique skills these individuals possess and feel they bring significant strengths that are too-often dismissed when an organization is seeking talent. Let’s take a look at these difference makers and see what they offer.
Who are Entreprerrenials?
We all know them. Risk taking, swashbuckling, dynamic, bright leaders who, after a decade or more in corporate roles found their passion for their work shrinking and their career trajectory leveling off. They made the big decision to either join a start-up or start a business of their own (“entreprerrenialville”). The thrill ride they took gave them extraordinary skillsets that could only be gained through having to make fire on their own. But like everything, things change, priorities shift and it’s time to plug back into corporate America.
A Backbone Like No Others
People who have left corporate roles for “entreprerrenialville” have experienced a level of business dynamics that doesn’t exist in traditional roles. Cash flow, burn rate, receivables, talent, marketing, business development and successful sales efforts… Winning deals, losing deals, asking their team to do their best work when the next payroll is in doubt, and then asking those same people to return and do even more work the day after a payroll is deferred. Total team focus… Every win is celebrated throughout the organization and every loss is bitter. Show me a finance guy in a start-up who doesn’t hug the sales guy when a sale is made. (This is the same finance guy who whined over the sales guy going to “President’s Club” when they made their number in the “Corporate” world.) “Entreprerrenialville” gives this talent a backbone like no others.
So, with this being the case, why wouldn’t someone who left a traditional role and then went to “entreprerrenialville” be welcomed back? They’re seasoned, have a 360 degree view of the entire enterprise, they know when to hit the gas pedal (or the brakes) on projects…They know the right questions and when to ask them. They checked the box on taking a risk, had success, became better, smarter, faster (but not millionaires) and now Corporate America can have these skills (that were learned on someone else’s nickel) and hire an impactful contributor. All of this in exchange for meaningful work, a good culture, good benefits, and a fair, steady paycheck.
Don’t Be Intimidated by These Difference Makers
The traditional corporate hiring process frequently treats entreprerrenials with suspicion—that they’ve been “out in the wild” too long. If hired will they get bored and leave? Why would they give it “all” up to return to a predictable environment? Will their bravado be embraced or despised by employees?
My thought? Don’t think too much about the “mights.” Rather, think of the opportunities entreprerrenials offer. Organizations open to entreprerrenials will gain natural leaders whose ability to execute is legit—and proven.
Think About This
Everyone wins when employment “ecosystems” embrace all types of career paths that a true talent can take—even if it is the less popular road taken. It could even be argued that entreprerrenials built our country, are needed to build our future, and also bolster organizations when they return to more traditional work settings. Think about it, if this talent knew they would be embraced by Corporate America again, then taking the leap to and from entreprerrenialville becomes easier. And, healthier organizations (and a stronger economy) could result.
Have you ever added an entreprerrenial to your team?