I recently took a personality test given by the Founder Institute, a worldwide organization focused on incubating very early-stage startups. All its applicants, which total over 4,000 entrepreneurs to date, are required to take the test. According to Adeo Ressi, CEO and founder, it’s an excellent predictor of how well its applicants will ultimately perform as entrepreneurs.
I started to think about the question, is there an entrepreneur DNA? Is there a marker that can predict success for you and your company?
It’s an interesting question. Indeed, if we knew the determinants of success, it would help both the entrepreneur and investors. What are the characteristics and personality types? Is it I.Q., emotional intelligence, people skills, communication skills, self-awareness, discipline? Are planners better or worse than spontaneous people?
Naturally, anyone starting and running a business needs to be smart, driven, compassionate, and have a host of other essential leadership qualities. But are those a predictor of success. I do not think so. They are simply prerequisites or building blocks.
I have taken many personality assessments over the years. In my opinion, they have one significant value. The benefit of analyzing your results is that it will allow you to see yourself as you really are.
Below are links about the Founder Institute assessment and my specific result and characterization. My Entrepreneur DNA profile is “The Visionary.”
There are many insightful observations in the results that I find to be accurate. The correlation of specific personality traits to successful or productive entrepreneurs is a good guidebook for your journey. Since you can read the source material for yourself, I won’t bother to summarize it here.
I will highlight, though, what I think is the most beneficial or instructive observation that can help you be a better entrepreneur, CEO, and leader. There are specific traits that will not just limit you, but that can make you a lousy entrepreneur. They include excuse-making, emotional instability, predatory aggressiveness, deceit, and narcissism.
Finally, the report defines “Irrelevant DNA.” There are a few significant traits that do not correlate with entrepreneurship. They include I.Q. and conscientiousness. While it may astonish many folks that I.Q. is not a determinant, I am not surprised. I have a conviction and belief that anyone can be a triathlete and even complete a 140.6 mile full distance Ironman race. I tell people that if you don’t believe me, just visit a race, but come late at night to the finish line (or watch a video on YouTube). You will see successful finishers of all body types, sizes, ages, and athletic ability. I similarly believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur regardless of their intrinsic DNA.
Footnote: You can also check out The IronCEO Video Blog#2 on the same topic.