Student Exemplar Traits Evaluation

Key Entrepreneurial Traits

Perhaps one of the key ways to develop an understanding of how to succeed is to recognize the primary traits that are common to most successful entrepreneurs. Use the following traits and descriptors as a guide to reviewing how well a student embodies the traits. Your evaluation will help the student recognize opportunities for improvement. The Traits Evaluation Chart includes a 1 to 5 scale for assigning a numeric rating to your review in order to provide the student with a feel for their degree of skill in each trait.

1. Opportunity Recognition

An entrepreneur’s most fundamental skill is a far–sighted ability to recognize unique opportunities that others don’t see. It’s a combination of foresight, perception, vision and imagination.
  • Is the student able to step back from details and look at the big picture view?
  • Do they continually seek a broader frame of reference?
  • Do they have the ability to connect the dots between needs–driven opportunities and innovative solutions?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Vision
  • Imagination
  • Perception
  • Far–sighted
  • Foresight
  • Big Picture view

2. Passion

Some say this is the most important trait of all, the one that drives and sustains all of the others. It is reflected in their enthusiasm, optimism, courage, fervor, focus and obsession for their idea.

  • Does the student’s passion reflect emotion, commitment and conviction?
  • Are they able to face adversity without becoming discouraged?
  • Do they inspire others with their determination to succeed, and generate a competitive zeal?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Fervor
  • Fire
  • Focused
  • Ardent
  • Courage of conviction
  • Enthusiastic
  • Obsessive
  • Zeal
  • Emotion
  • Optimistic
  • Committed
  • Competitive
  • Thick Skin

3. Adaptability

Successful entrepreneurs are typically open–minded and flexible. They recognize that things do not always work as they originally believed they might. Thus, they are receptive to change.

  • Even though the student might believe strongly in what they are doing, can they avoid being too rigid in their thinking?
  • Do they understand the importance of being adaptable in responding to inevitable changes?
  • Does their perspective recognize the changing dynamics of technology, customer needs, market forces and timing?
  • How well do they handle changes that affect them, but for which they have no control.

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Adaptable
  • Flexible
  • Learner
  • Self–reliant
  • Inventive
  • Open to change
  • Confident
  • Observant
  • Responsive
  • Adjusts
  • Broad perspective
  • Resilient
  • Transformational
  • Agile
  • Acclimates

4. Problem Solving

When challenged by obstacles and issues, entrepreneurial thinkers are turned on by a desire to look for a better way. Successful entrepreneurs typically ask themselves: What problem am I solving? Who am I solving it for? Are they willing to pay for my solution?

  • Is the student a learner? critical thinker? idea generator? flexible? creative?
  • Do they recognize an opportunity is a form of problem solving?
  • Is their perspective culturally– and market-sensitive, customer–oriented, and focused on building value when attacking a problem?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Challenged
  • Value Builder
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Customer–oriented
  • Critical thinker
  • Idea Developer
  • Market sensitive

5. Bias for Action

Most successful entrepreneurs are not careless, but they are also not ponderous. They do not become consumed by analysis paralysis or by postponing perfection.

  • Is the student energetic, tireless and confident in transforming ideas into actions?
  • Do they play to win versus playing not to lose?
  • Do they keep acting their way toward success with persistence and tenacity?
  • Do they learn from setbacks and failures along the way?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Energetic
  • Persistent
  • Tenacious
  • Confident
  • Believer
  • Transformational
  • Tireless
  • Plays to win
  • Decisive

6. Leadership

Great entrepreneurs are typically great leaders who understand that they can’t do it all alone. They appreciate and respect people and a diversity of opinions.

  • Does the student listen and seek advice, but also know when it is time to take charge?
  • Do they work hard at inspiring others?
  • When the game is on the line, do they want the ball?
  • Are they decisive and results focused?
  • Do they have walk-away smarts when the timing or the deal is not right?

Do many many of the following words describe them?

  • Communicator
  • Team reliant
  • Self aware
  • Results focused
  • Motivator
  • Inspires
  • Decisive
  • Selfless
  • Unselfish
  • Instinctive
  • Teaches
  • Listener
  • Wants the ball
  • Walk-away smarts
  • Excites

7. Risk Management

Risk management differs from risk taking. Entrepreneurs are almost always challenged by uncertainty. The best entrepreneurs are circumspect and combine doing their homework with street savvy and common sense to calculate risk.

  • Is the student a “seat of the pants” decision maker?
  • Do they have a good tolerance for pressure and crisis?
  • Are they able to stay objective and not be swayed by emotions or the urgency of the moment?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Street savvy
  • Uncommon sense
  • Circumspect
  • Learns from failure
  • Pressure/Crisis Tolerant
  • Challenged by uncertainty

8. Networking

Entrepreneurs leverage their personal, social and business associations as building blocks to assemble a network of valued connections and interconnections. Strong networks enable people to extend their reach, frame of reference, support and influence.

  • Is making new connections a priority for the student?
  • Do they find it easy to engage people in conversation?
  • Do they search out group activities/organizations where they can meet new people?
  • Do they have a personal elevator pitch to describe who they are?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Outgoing
  • Interesting
  • Responsive
  • Social
  • Interested
  • Team-player
  • Collaborative
  • Communicator
  • Approachable

9. Communication

One of the most essential skills for anyone in any field is an ability to communicate. Nothing happens until people effectively exchange messages, ideas and information.

  • Does the student express their ideas/messages in terms of their audience’s interests?
  • Do they have an elevator pitch for themselves and for their idea?
  • Are they a confident and effective presenter?
  • Are they skilled at clearly presenting their ideas verbally and in writing?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Communicator
  • Descriptive
  • Attention-getting
  • Succinct
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring
  • Articulate
  • Informative
  • Prepared

10. Success Through Failure

It’s been said, “If you’re not failing, you’re probably not succeeding.” Failure is critical to any innovation process. For entrepreneurs, failure is a learning tool, failure is success in the making.

  • Is the student easily disappointed when things don’t go just right?
  • Do they recognize innovation as an iterative process?
  • Do they view setbacks or rejections as learning experiences?
  • Can they accept failure as a logical step in the innovation process?
  • Is their perspective focused on continuous improvement vs. postponed perfection?

Do many of the following words describe them?

  • Resilient
  • Opportunistic
  • Challengeable
  • Learner
  • Risk-taking
  • Inventive
  • Persistent
  • Fearless