During these changing times, your ability to maintain an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit is more important than ever. But that’s a big challenge when working within the structure and constraints of a big organization.
This was the topic of our first Inside Career Success Talk Show last Wednesday (11/25), with our special guest, Hannah Zhong, HR Solutions Director for Dow Asia Pacific. Together, our Managing Director and Hannah talked about Maintaining An Entrepreneurial Spirit In A Corporate World, where Hannah shared her experience and insights about how to evolve and grow, stay proactive, and do things beyond your job description while working in a large company. Among other things, these are three key factors that she highlighted.
Ask yourself the fundamental questions: What do you value? What are intrinsically motivates you? Having been an HR in a large cooperate for 14 years, Hannah talked to a lot of youngsters, and she points out that people struggle at work because they don’t know what they want.
When asked, Hannah revealed that her own intrinsic purpose is to help people. It’s what brings out her passion and energy. “By recognizing your own intrinsic purpose, you will constantly pursue situations and opportunities to do what’s most meaningful to you,” says Hannah. Through her various HR roles at Dow, she’s been able to do things, like learning how to train others and advise others, that are in line with both her personal aspirations and what benefits the company. Hannah shared how her father greatly influenced her. He was also an HR director and loved helping others. This inspired her to also want to help others, which is apparent in many of the things she talks about and does. As such, never stop searching for who you want to be and what matters to you.
Entrepreneurs are curious and always explore. Again, Hannah’s own spirit of exploration comes from her family influence. Her mother always aims for excellence and encourages her to think, how would I do things differently if I could do it again? What are the things I can improve?
Hannah also pointed out though that this spirit of exploration can be developed. As an HR Solutions Director, she emphasizes to young talents that there are a lot of opportunities for them to grow and develop in a big company. You just need to show some passion, ownership and initiative. These “entrepreneurial” characteristics will help you to stand out and get recognized by others in the company.
Choose your battles
Those with an entrepreneurial spirit are always striving to make things happen, even when facing boundaries and obstacles. Whether in a small or large company, there will always be boundaries around you, says Hannah. What matters is your response to them.
In Dow, Hannah has learned the importance of choosing the right battles to fight. She described her latest “battle”, a big HR solutions transformation in the company. It’s a fast-paced global project, where she meets surprises every day. While she meets certain constraints and obstacles within the company, she is mindful to avoid those that are created by her own perceptions. Once she’s chosen her battle to fight for, it’s all about being persistent. If one approach to making something happen doesn’t work, she’ll try a different one. “It’s okay to fail,” says Hannah. “What’s most important is to be flexible and don’t give up so easily. Instead, keep assessing the situation and try not to limit your actions.”
In today’s fast-changing business environment, having an entrepreneurial spirit to adapt, make things happen and pursue new challenges has become a necessity for staying competitive and achieving your ongoing success. By identifying your intrinsic purpose, nurturing your sense of exploration and choosing your battles, you can develop and maintain yours, even within a big company.