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Unpacking the Dimensions of an Entrepreneur-Mindset


“An entrepreneur-mindset is a way of thinking about opportunities that surface in the Mission’s external and internal environment and the commitments, decisions, and actions necessary to pursue them (or make-it-happen), especially under conditions of uncertainty that commonly accompany rapid and significant environmental changes .” Adapted from Ireland et al.[1]


The focus for this blog is informed from personal research conducted in a financial services firm,[2] and with nurses who become professional practitioners exhibiting entrepreneurial behaviour,[3] and from my understandings of Jesus’ first century CE mission, his servant leadership, and the development of his team of apostles and disciples. Such behaviour is often equated with the cultivation of an innovation culture, within the mission/organisation, as its’ most precious asset and is a strong indicator of a propensity to deliver healthy and successful products/services that are valued by the user/customer. The question is, “What gives rise to achieving such a culture and entrepreneur-mindset?”

What Comprises Personal Mindset?:

Significantly, there is an umbilical link between thoughts, beliefs, and actions leading to an innovation culture amongst the team exhibiting entrepreneurial behaviour. Personal mindset in such a culture is the individual collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape one’s thought

habits and ongoing actions. Personal thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do. Your mindset impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of yourself. (Cartoon from ‘Gapingvoid’)[4] Such mindsets are linked inextricably to behaviours that lead to developing recognised opportunities into growth-oriented and value-adding innovations that meet user needs. An important aspect in developing an entrepreneur mindset is associated with understanding how your attitudes develop towards a passion to ‘make-it-happen’ and leading team members to deliver the service/product that meets the needs of users. Jesus reflected an amazing synergy between articulated attitudes and personalised behaviours in setting the cultural ambiance for the mission. The resulting entrepreneur mindset is a growth-oriented perspective through which individuals promote flexibility, creativity, continuous innovation, and spiritual renewal. In other words, even under the cloak of uncertainty, the entrepreneurially minded can identify and exploit new opportunities because they have cognitive abilities that allow them to impart meaning to ambiguous and fragmented situations.

Jesus’ Mission and Entrepreneur-Mindset:

Importantly, an organisation/mission, of itself is not entrepreneurially minded – the behaviour that may be present within the organisation/mission is driven by the human propensity to be entrepreneurial as expressed by leaders and staff identifying opportunities with application to the marketplace. Such innovation does not happen by accident or from outside consultants. Rather, the best innovation comes from within, from people across all levels of the organisation/mission and society ecosystem. Entrepreneurship and innovation are inherently human behaviours and are generated most effectively when staff/teamwork collaboratively. But how does one engage strategically to empower, educate, support, and create this cultural shift that facilitates innovation now and ongoing? Indeed nurses and healthcare professionals or the disciples of Jesus, may not think of themselves as “entrepreneurial”, so how can the individual’s and team’s mindset be changed to be both entrepreneurial and innovative? How does an organisation/mission then value and act on the contribution from practitioners/disciples to ensure the authenticity of the exercise? The developed and validated entrepreneur-mindset audit tool 3 is a powerful ‘tool’ to assess the individual management/staff/team behaviours and use that data/knowledge so the operational team can learn about and facilitate entrepreneurial behaviour and effective collaboration.

When adopting an entrepreneur mindset approach to mission practice, the disciples/actors increase their ability to sense opportunities and mobilise the resources and knowledge required to exploit them by the creation of ‘value’ through effective innovation. Indeed, no matter how entrepreneurial either an individual’s mindset or an organisation’s culture is— interdependencies exist between the manager’s mindset and the disciples/organisation culture such that “entrepreneurial culture and entrepreneur mindset are inextricably interwoven.”[5] In practice the concept of cognition and decision making, emotions/gut-feel/intuition, and reasoning form a continuum of information processing, so “Contrasting emotion with cognition is therefore pointless”. [6]

Dimensions of Entrepreneur-Mindset

An entrepreneur mindset is not achieved by writing business plans. Such a mindset is achieved and exercised by developing the personal attributes and behaviours associated with recognising opportunities and pursuing them with passion and commitment, seeking necessary physical, human and financial resources to ‘make-it-happen’.

Figure 1 Entrepreneur Mindset model – personal insight (Gillin & Hazelton 2020)

Figure 1 illustrates the multi-layer nature of personal attributes and performance contributing to exercising an entrepreneur mindset. Significantly, Jesus, like us, was born with - body, soul, and spirit, and demonstrated the capability for the integration of rational (IQ), emotional (EI), and spiritual intelligence (SI) to evaluate recognised and potential opportunities Significantly, and core to our humanness, is our capacity to integrate our IQ, EI, and SI into a holistic way of behaving. Firstly, IQ, which includes calculating or logical thinking, is basic to all our cognitive behaviours, but it is not the whole story in identifying how we think and act. Secondly, EI, defined as instinct, intuition, and the “heart”, contributes to our perceptions of opportunities, reality, and decision-making within our respective ecosystem, and identifies with one’s ability to understand and feel for other people and members of the team. It is about relationships and the capacity to read the social and practice situation environment one is in. Thirdly, SI refers to our capacity to access our deepest meanings, values, purposes, and motivations.[7] Non-local intuition is strongly associated with SI by accessing the richness of imagination, insight, deep values, and meaning. These three concepts form the basic building blocks to establishing an entrepreneurial mindset.

The middle ring (Fig. 1) represents a synthesis of the traits[8] associated with entrepreneurial characteristics and behaviours, including the attributes of passion, belief, inspiration, determination, risk-taking, resilience, vision, courage, instinct, and adaption to produce an action-centred entrepreneur mindset. This holistic insight integrates what was traditionally considered narrow personality traits, personality dispositions, and cognitive processes with the spiritual aspects of human cognition, decision-making, and proactive behaviours within the organisation/mission. The Gospels provide a rich source to identify such personality traits in Jesus.

The four mindset dimensions - leadership, decision-making, behaviour, and awareness, (the 4 axes in Fig. 2) are all derived from the integration of the identified intelligence states and the ring of attributes associated with the entrepreneur’s holistic involvement in a culture of entrepreneurial thinking, practice, and behaviour. Each of the four dimensions associated with a make-it-happen mindset is summarised in terms of the findings from recent research, [9] and the characteristic actions (in red) exercised by the individual as a function of each respective dimension. Together these form the basis of the Entrepreneur-Mindset audit instrument.

Figure 2. The four dimensions and eight characteristics of entrepreneur-mindset

a) Leadership dimension

The leadership style of entrepreneurially behaving leaders is strongly characterised by a ‘collaboration’ value-based approach to leadership rather than a strongly exercised ‘directive’ style. Jesus showed a propensity for collaborative leadership.

b) Decision-making dimension:

Decision-making is a critical aspect of entrepreneurial behaviour. Indeed, the literature shows the interplay between rational and intuitive decision-making is not well understood. Both of these characteristics contribute to person-focused decision-making by Jesus and the discipleship team leading to an outcome love and care in the mission. A fatal flaw here is when management thinking is predominantly focused on policies and practices associated with financial solutions alone.

c) Behaviour dimension:

The literature clearly establishes that entrepreneurial corporations are characterised by a proactive component of Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) - serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, and are proactive in causing change and not simply reacting to change when it happens. Similarly, proactive have the same meaning when applied to entrepreneur mindset and is identified as a major characteristic in the ministry of Jesus. This is the opposite of reactive behaviour where the individual or organisation reacts to events or situations rather than acting first to change or prevent something.

d) Awareness dimension

Awareness is usually defined as knowledge that something exists; understanding of a situation at the present time based on information or experience. Indeed, self-awareness is knowledge and awareness of one’s own personality or character. Together cognition and spirituality form the natural characteristics for an aware person. Spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to physical or material things. Jesus fully reflects this spiritual characteristic throughout His recorded ministry.

These dimensions of entrepreneur-mindset behaviours are present at all levels of entrepreneurial action, as to are the entrepreneurial characteristics (collaborative, intuitive, proactive, and spiritually aware) which play a strong role when services are being delivered to create more value for potential users of the perceived benefits


From this overview of Jesus’s personal behaviours and mission practices, he exhibited a well-rounded Social Entrepreneur-Mindset., As shown in the entrepreneur-mindset audit (Fig. 3), Jesus' leadership and behaviour align with a strong propensity to entrepreneurial behaviour – with high scores on collaboration; intuition; proactivity, and spiritual awareness.

Figure 3. Entrepreneurial Mindset for Jesus Entrepreneur (After Gillin & Hazelton 2020)


[1] Duane Ireland, Michael Hitt, and David Sirmon, 2003, “A Model of Strategic Entrepreneurship: The Construct and Its Dimensions”, Journal of Management 29(6) [2] Murray Gillin, 2020, “Facilitating intuitive decision-making and an entrepreneurial mindset in corporate culture – a case study” - (Chapter 17) 3rd Handbook of Intuition Research Ed. Marta Sinclair, Handbook of Intuition as Practice, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham [3] Murray Gillin and Lois Hazelton, 2020, “Bringing an entrepreneurial mindset to health care: a new tool for better outcomes,” Journal of Business Strategy, [4] Gallery from gapingvoid art, 2018, [5] Dean Shepherd, H Patzelt, & J.M. Haynie, 2010. “Entrepreneurial spirals: Deviation-amplifying loops of an entrepreneurial mindset.” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 34(1): 59‒82. [6] Jonathon Haidt, 2013. “The righteous mind.” New York: Vintage Books. [7] Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall, 2004, “Spiritual Capital - Wealth We Can Live By.” Bloomsbury Publishing, UK [8] Kelly Shaver Jan Wegelin and Immanuel Commarmond, 2019, “Assessing Entrepreneurial Mindset: Results for a New Measure,” Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education 10(2):13-21 [9] Laurence Gillin, 2021, “Jesus the Social Entrepreneur: Understanding both Entrepreneur-Mindset and Nature Miracles”, Ocean Reeve Publishing (ORP), Brisbane, Australia.


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