Much has been written of the sources for entrepreneurial advantage, be they personality characteristics, family connections, or learnt skills.
My initial premise begins with a view that passion often drives opportunity seeking, yet skills form a foundation to maintain operational integrity and minimise risk. And it is such skill to quickly re-assess business situations with new information that distinguish serial entrepreneurs from others.
It is precisely this risk profile that is frequently misunderstood by observers. The popular mythology has it that entrepreneurs are risk-seeking. Yet, observational research suggests successful entrepreneurs are in fact risk-averse agents of opportunity. They intensely manage risk to maintain exposures to levels that can be tolerated, and to kill off poorly performing ideas earlier than others. Decisiveness is the key.
Getting comfortable with making decisions – particularly when information is missing or unreliable – is a key skill we explore in CEO School.
Hence skills development is an important contributor to routine management capability, while aptitude appears to drive decision making, commitment and team building at those inflexion points. In other words, passion leads to decisive strategic action, while skills can keep the train on the rails.