Are You an Entrepreneur or a Manager?

I’ve spent my life surrounded by leaders of all stripe, from the startup founder writing code in her garage to the Fortune 100 CEO, and all in between. People striving to make something happen are absolutely fascinating to me, but I’ve noticed something profound that I need to share: not all leaders are made the same. Not even close.

Indeed, there are so many fundamental personality differences between a professional manager and the typical entrepreneur, it’s hard to compare the two at all.

A manager runs things. A founder creates things. Founders, or entrepreneurs, are much more like artists than they are like corporate executives.

Which type are you? Do you have what it takes to start something from nothing, from absolute thin air? I’ve devised this short personality profile to help you decide. For each item below you agree with, make a mental note:

  1. How do you spell “Risk?” O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y.
  2. You have 100 urgent ideas a day. One of which turns out to be a keeper the next day. (One brilliant idea a day? Not too shabby.)
  3. Logic is nothing more than a tool. It’s our passion that makes us human!
  4. You don’t break the law. But rules? Rules are merely guidelines.
  5. Pressure gives you energy, not stress.
  6. The easiest thing in life is making a decision. If you make a wrong one, you just make another – quickly! – and keep going.
  7. You aren’t famous for your patience, but…
  8. You are relentless.
  9. Your résumé looks… um… you’re kidding, right? Where’s your real résumé?
  10. If it isn’t in the budget, change the budget!
  11. People make policies, so people can change them, too.
  12. Safety is for suckers. If it isn’t at least a little scary, what’s the point?
  13. Think outside the box?” What’s a box?
  14. The word “normal” gives you the hives.
  15. It isn’t about the money. Never was. It’s about creating something from nothing.

Your Score

How many of these items did you find yourself agreeing with? Use this guide to measure your penchant for entrepreneurialism:

  • 12-15 Agree: You have a founder’s mindset. Go get ’em!
  • 9-11 Agree: You have a lot of the right stuff to found your own company. Cultivate it if you truly want to start something new.
  • 5-8 Agree: You’re probably an intrapreneur already – you lead change and innovation from within your organization. Keep it up!
  • 0-4 Agree: You’re probably an accountant, or an actuary for an insurance company. You know the Internet is a fad, and dream of the Dewey Decimal System staging a comeback.

Where did you score in this personality profile? What tweaks should we make to improve it? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments below!


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Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”


    Now if only I could manage to get people to work for free while I go get us some fish. How do I learn to do that?

  • Alexia

    truly great work, Ted – very inspiring!

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