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4 Critical Traits of an Entrepreneur

You may be a risk-taker, goal-oriented, and ambitious but only these four traits will help take you to the next level.

By Glen Blickenstaff | @glenblickenstaf

Look for ways to make a difference.

I saw job descriptions as the “had to do” list not as a limit. Throughout my career I created opportunities. I think that’s a big part of what entrepreneurs do. They identify opportunities and apply themselves, frequently without invitation to do so.

Follow that overwhelming desire to take action.

At one point I used the regular hours of my job to teach as an adjunct professor, which lead to an appointment on the Boards of Retail Advisors at the University of Florida and Cornell University. Entrepreneurs seem to have a voracious appetite for learning and teaching. We also feed on multiple tasks or projects, which lead to increased productivity.

Exert your influence as much as possible.

I resigned from one job in frustration over major differences in direction. Within two years they were bankrupt. I saw this as a failure on my part for not influencing the organization. An entrepreneur can go from the trenches to the big picture and assess cause and effect. The protagonist in this story is influence. Without it we are frustratingly adrift.

Help other would-be entrepreneurs.

It was an entrepreneur that I worked for that saw something in me and gave me a helping hand. He told me I needed to go into business for myself and help struggling companies. Four months later I left and he provided a generous severance to get me started.

Someone once asked me what it was like going out on my own as an entrepreneur. I told them it was like jumping out of an airplane with all the materials needed to build a parachute. An entrepreneur must be willing to take a risk.

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT



Maria Ogne­va is the head of com­mu­ni­ty at Yam­mer, where she is in charge of social media, com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams, inter­nal edu­ca­tion and engage­ment. You can fol­low her on Twit­ter, her blog, and via Yam­mer’s Twit­ter account and com­pa­ny blog.
If you’re any­thing like me, you’ve prob­a­bly wit­nessed (or maybe even been a part of) office com­mu­ni­ca­tion mishaps that have ranged from mild­ly embar­rass­ing to career-ending. Early in my career, I wit­nessed a rogue email chain which spoke of a client in offen­sive terms. The email acci­den­tal­ly got for­ward­ed to said client. Oops!

No mat­ter how sophis­ti­cat­ed our use of social media, we must always be aware of its breadth. It’s easy to feel anx­i­ety over say­ing the wrong thing, but if you know how to use it well, social media in the office can and should ben­e­fit your career.

There­fore, adapt the gold­en rule to the dig­i­tal era: Think before you post, and do unto oth­ers as you would have them do unto you. To make sure you are putting your best dig­i­tal foot for­ward, fol­low these easy steps.

1. Under­stand Com­pa­ny Pol­i­cy, Best Prac­tices and Cul­ture
If your office hosts an inter­nal social net­work or dig­i­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion space, under­stand what types of inter­ac­tions are con­sid­ered valu­able (help­ing a cowork­er, for exam­ple), vs. actions that would be frowned upon (post­ing pic­tures of LOL­cats all day). And always stay away from vio­la­tions of your com­pa­ny pol­i­cy (like harass­ment). Make sure you under­stand not only the writ­ten pol­i­cy, but also the com­pa­ny cul­ture – each com­pa­ny has its own stat­ed and unspo­ken rules of con­duct.

Glob­al con­sul­tan­cy firm Capgem­i­ni talks about its use of Yam­mer, my com­pa­ny’s social net­work. “Yam­mer is shared with col­leagues in the com­pa­ny — not just your close col­leagues — but poten­tial­ly EVERY­ONE, from your man­ag­er all the way up to the CEO…Our com­pa­ny val­ues are: Hon­esty, Free­dom, Trust, Bold­ness, Team Spir­it, Mod­esty, and FUN.”

2. Com­pa­ny Com­mu­ni­ties Evolve Best Prac­tices and Poli­cies
Pol­i­cy and cul­ture aren’t sta­t­ic — they grow and devel­op organ­i­cal­ly, through a community-wide effort. Kate Dob­bertin, com­mu­ni­ty man­ag­er of one glob­al com­pa­ny’s Yam­mer net­work, notes, “I look to the com­mu­ni­ty to fos­ter an open, car­ing com­mu­ni­ty togeth­er. It’s not some­thing I can con­trol alone — the entire com­mu­ni­ty must set the stan­dards for what is or isn’t acceptable.”

In glob­al com­pa­nies, the def­i­n­i­tions of eti­quette are tougher to pin down. Ed Krebs, IT archi­tect for Ford Motor Com­pa­ny, shared, “By allow­ing the com­mu­ni­ty to define, and con­tin­u­al­ly rede­fine how to com­mu­ni­cate, those glob­al dif­fer­ences that were bar­ri­ers now become points to reshape togeth­er. The com­mu­ni­ty gen­tly informs each other about the nuances of lan­guage and the alter­nate inter­pre­ta­tion of slang. We need­ed no new pol­i­cy, respect is a key ingre­di­ent in our cor­po­rate code of conduct.”

3. Mix­ing Per­son­al and Pro­fes­sion­al
When com­mu­ni­cat­ing over your com­pa­ny’s dig­i­tal chan­nels, your focus should be on get­ting your work done and help­ing your col­leagues get their work done. On the other hand, mix­ing a bit of your own “fla­vor” is always a good thing – humans want to con­nect with other humans. But remem­ber that you can eas­i­ly cross the line from approach­able to over­ly per­son­al to the point of dis­com­fort. Ask your­self, “Could this make some­one feel uncom­fort­able?”

4. Pub­lic vs. Pri­vate Spaces
Take a few min­utes to under­stand the bound­ary between pub­lic and pri­vate spaces. Hav­ing a clear goal will help you select the right medi­um and audi­ence. Are you shar­ing some­thing bril­liant that can help oth­ers in gen­er­al, or start­ing a dis­cus­sion that will specif­i­cal­ly ben­e­fit your com­pa­ny? Is it a mes­sage that should be pub­lic, but ben­e­fits a niche audi­ence? Post it to a group. If it’s an action you want just a few peo­ple to take, send a pri­vate mes­sage or an email. Remem­ber the key dif­fer­ence: Emails and IMs are dis­rup­tive, while streams pro­vide “ambi­ent awareness.” Don’t be that guy who CCs 20 col­leagues with some­thing irrel­e­vant.

5. Be Mind­ful in Pri­vate
A quick word of cau­tion: Just because you post to a pri­vate space or send a note to some­one’s inbox, doesn’t mean it won’t find its way into the hands of some­one else later. If you trash some­one in an email, there’s always a chance that this per­son may see it – whether acci­den­tal­ly or on pur­pose. It’s always best to pro­tect your rep­u­ta­tion by abstain­ing when­ev­er pos­si­ble.

6. The New York Times Test
Before writ­ing any­thing to any­one — pub­licly or pri­vate­ly — ask your­self if you’d mind see­ing it on the front page of the New York Times. That’s exact­ly what Erin Grotts, direc­tor of inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Super­valu tells her col­leagues. “We tell peo­ple not to post any­thing that would embar­rass you or the com­pa­ny…Would you be com­fort­able if it ran on the front page of the New York Times?”

Beld­ner encour­ages her col­leagues to ask, “Would I say this to my com­pa­ny’s pres­i­dent and deputy gen­er­al coun­sel in front of 1,000+ other employ­ees?”

7. Become an Expert
If you want to be per­ceived as an expert, you need to con­tribute to the con­ver­sa­tion. When some­one asks a ques­tion that you can answer — go for it! Proac­tive­ly share things that are inter­est­ing and ask thought-provoking ques­tions. Remem­ber, though, that quan­ti­ty doesn’t mean qual­i­ty.

Max­i­mize your expo­sure by allow­ing oth­ers to find you. When post­ing to a pub­lic space, any­one can see your mes­sage, but there’s always a chance that the right peo­ple won’t. To max­i­mize your vis­i­bil­i­ty, post to the right groups and use the right tax­on­o­my, such as hash­tags, top­ics, and pub­lic @mentions.

8. Respect Pri­va­cy
Just because some­one told you some­thing in anoth­er chan­nel, doesn’t give you the license to repost it auto­mat­i­cal­ly, unless it was post­ed in a pub­lic space like Twit­ter, which is index­able by Google. If you’d like to repost some­thing, make sure that the orig­i­nal author has approved. Exer­cise the same cau­tion when adding new par­tic­i­pants to an exist­ing email thread or a pri­vate group – make sure that exist­ing par­tic­i­pants feel com­fort­able that this new per­son will be able to see what’s already been writ­ten.

9. Remem­ber the Gold­en Rule
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Treat your col­leagues the way you’d want to be treat­ed at work. Ask your­self, “Would I want to do a project with myself? What about grab lunch?” Don’t be the employ­ee who pub­licly shames a co-worker to coerce him into action. Don’t go direct­ly to some­one’s boss instead of address­ing that employ­ee first. Never write some­thing out of anger, spite or per­son­al vendet­ta. Basi­cal­ly, don’t over­step your bound­aries.

A great reminder from the folks at Capgem­i­ni: “In the same way that we mod­er­ate our con­ver­sa­tions in the office, so we should apply sim­i­lar mod­er­a­tion to our posts in Yam­mer…Be polite; try to be con­struc­tive; don’t be offensive.”

Back to you, read­er! How do you observe eti­quette at work, while still retain­ing your unique­ness? What kinds of guide­lines does your com­pa­ny have for work-related social net­works?

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT

Launched my New Website

Please visit my new website at Have a look around and please give me any comments you like so that I can improve it. Then tell all your contacts to have a look.

Please sign up to get the updates.

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT

The World of Mobile Phones [infographic] Posted: 20 Jan 2012 06:00 AM PST

Mobile phones seem like an essential part of an American’s life. I don’t know anyone without one and I’d say most people even have a smart phone. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia have a weird distribution of cellphones per people. I guess having multiple phones is popular in those places.

As our society relies more and more on cellular devices for our everyday needs we will become even more helpless when we lose our phones. I drowned two phones this summer. One in a hottub and one in my pool. I lost my iPhone in the hottub and going 6 months without my GPS, contacts, email, news, twitter, internet was horrible.

I did research over every single smartphone on the market and finally decided on the Samsung Galaxy II S. This phone is awesome. Voice control, huge screen and Swype for texting is like magic. I know when the iPhone 5 comes out it could take back my top spot, but I’ll have to make some carful comparisons.

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920
Twitter: ChangeTWYT

Hello world!

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.

Mum shouts at me for wanting to get a job Published: 04 Jan 2012

Taken from THE SUN

I WANT to leave college and get a job where they’ll train me up while I’m working, but my mum says I’m ruining my life.
I’m a 17-year-old boy and started college in September. I recently decided that college wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the course and hated being back at what felt the same as school.

I talked to my tutor and he suggested I look for an apprenticeship or something like that. The college have been very helpful.

I told my parents and my dad has been great. He has helped me with my CV and taken me round different companies to give them out.

But all my mum does is shout at me. I have agreed with her that it’s hard to find a job, especially with no A levels, but I got good GCSEs, all As and Bs.

She doesn’t seem to realise how difficult things are now. When she was my age going to university was the way ahead, but it isn’t like that now and she won’t accept it.

How can I find a job with prospects and how can I get my mum off my back?

Good for you that you know what you want to do. You are far less likely to do well when you are doing a course you don’t like.
Apprenticeships can be a great way to start a successful career and you can earn while you’re training and gaining qualifications.

Contact the National Apprenticeships Service who have around 8,000 jobs on apprenticeship vacancies at any one time.

They run a vacancy-matching service and offer advice to young people and their parents. Check out their website for more information (

I hope that your mum will see that you are serious about this and give you a break. Your father understands how you feel, so ask him to talk to her about it.
My leaflet for job hunters has practical tips on giving yourself the best chances in of landing a job or an apprenticeship.

Solid advice from

— Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920

Twitter: ChangeTWYT

Apprenticeship review targets 45 providers Nick Summers Jan 5, 2012

Also…. See earlier Zenos Article 👍

More than 40 colleges and training providers are being investigated as part of the review into short duration apprenticeships.

“We are working with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to consider the outcomes of each review of short provision,” a National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) spokesperson said.

“Action is already in hand to investigate cases where there is cause for concern, with 45 different colleges and private training providers being closely reviewed.”

The investigation follows an initial review which judged all apprenticeship provision against the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) and Delivery Model Guidance.

Teresa Frith, senior skills policy manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “It should be noted that there are 45 provider organisations being investigated – this does not necessarily indicate that all 45 cannot justify their delivery models.

“Indeed three existing frameworks are recommended by Sector Skills Councils as needing less than 12 months for completion, so there is a likelihood that at least some will come through their investigation in a positive fashion.”

A spokesperson for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) added: “AELP will support action by the NAS that addresses cases of poor quality provision whether it is relation to a college or an independent provider.

“However, we note there are 45 cases out of a total cohort of some 1,000 skills providers and we shouldn’t rush to judgement on the extent of the overall problem before we know the outcome of each case review.”

The 157 Group says these colleges and training providers are likely to be under review because of the confusion surrounding best apprenticeship practise.

“Although 45 different colleges and private training providers are being closely reviewed, this does not necessarily mean that they are culpable of any wrong-doing,” a spokesperson for the 157 Group said.

“If anything, in a time of policy upheavals, changes and challenges, this number is most likely to be reflective of the inevitable current confusion around best apprenticeship practise.”

The review into quality and short duration apprenticeships has led to a number of new measures which were announced by John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, in the House of Commons last month.

The new measures include a minimum duration of 12 months for all apprentices aged 16 to 18, as well as a requirement for every apprenticeship programme to deliver “significant new learning”, rather than accrediting existing knowledge and experience.

Mr Hayes said: “If the standards are sufficiently stretching and the expectations of competence high, I believe that a course should naturally extend over at least 12 months. That will be the expectation first for 16 to 18 year-old apprentices from August 2012, as new contracts to training providers are issued.”

The new measures are part of a Quality Action Plan which will allow the NAS to tighten contracts and immediately withdraw public money from apprenticeship providers who are failing to meet the appropriate standards of quality.

“The review of short provision provided some of the content and direction for our Quality Action Plan,” a NAS spokesperson said.

“During 2012, we will work with the Skills Funding Agency, Sector Skills Councils, and other partners across the sector to implement each of the recommendations in the Quality Action Plan, including those on short duration Apprenticeships.”

The spokesperson added that apprenticeship programmes which do not meet the relevant standards, but still offer “valuable support to young people” will be referred to other agencies such as the SFA for consideration.

The De Vere Academy of Hospitality is one provider which has already announced a new apprenticeship programme following the review by NAS, which be launched on February 1 and last at least 12 months.

— Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920

Twitter: ChangeTWYT

Well done Lancashire LEP show them how it is done!

Big cash boost for jobs
Published: 06 January 2012

County Hall bosses have unveiled plans to plough £50m into helping get people working
Lancashire County Council bosses have made a series of savings and investments in Government gilts which has enabled major investment in jobs and training.

County Council leader Geoff Driver said: “Young people are at the heart of our proposals because they are the future.

“We want them to stay and prosper in Lancashire when they leave education and we recognise the difficult economic climate is making that particularly hard to do at the present time.

“As well as helping them into employment, these proposals will give more young people across the county access to activities, information and guidance through the expansion of our Youth Zone programme.

“We also plan to direct some of this investment into providing the right infrastructure and other conditions that make Lancashire a good place to do business, so that employers want to relocate or expand their operations here and create jobs for local people.”

Among the plans is a £10m apprenticeships programme to help young people into work, supporting employers to take on apprentices and creating professional apprenticeships within the county council.

Plans have also been unveiled to invest £5m over five years to support the cost of young people travelling to education, employment and training.

There will be a £10m investment in a programme of measures to promote economic development, aimed at encouraging businesses to take on new staff.

A total of £6m is to be used for the extension of the Youth Zone programme to provide young people with more activities and opportunities to access information.

A £3m pot has been earmarked to employ armed forces veterans to mentor young people in secondary schools and £1m for refurbishing libraries.

The remaining £15m will be used for transport projects across the county

– Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920

Twitter: ChangeTWYT

Progress: you may have been getting away with this, but it doesn’t make it right! Hopefully this will make other providers think about their learners and not just their bank balance.

Apprenticeship course postponed for hundreds

Zenos has written to hundreds of apprenticeship candidates telling them the course they were due to start on Monday is no longer taking place.

Photo: Alamy
By Louisa Peacock, Jobs editor
Last Updated: 7:05PM GMT 06/01/2012

Hundreds of people due to start an apprenticeship on Monday have been told not to bother turning up, it has emerged.

IT training provider Zenos, owned by Pearson, the FTSE 100 education and publishing group, has written to 300 candidates aged 19 or over telling them their scheduled placement for 2012 will not begin as planned on January 9. The company runs thousands of apprenticeship programmes each year.

The Skills Funding Agency, a Department for Business body, is understood to have asked Zenos to review its apprenticeship scheme because those enrolled on the course have no guarantee of employment with another organisation once the programme has finished.

Critics have long argued that apprenticeships of this kind, with no employers involved, lead to “ghost jobs” with candidates being turfed out into the labour market upon finishing their course, raising questions over value-for-money of the state-backed scheme.

Last month the Government promised a crackdown on training programmes that failed to meet quality standards. Skills minister John Hayes warned BIS would withdraw money from providers where there was evidence public money had been “over-claimed”.

Under the previous arrangements, Zenos would have paid all 300 apprenticeship candidates a wage, effectively making them employees of the training provider. But it could not guarantee work for them once they had finished the course.

It is now working to devise a new training programme which it hopes to start in the next few weeks, although it will not officially be called an apprenticeship.

A spokesman said the company did not yet know whether the new programme would pay participants of the course. The new “wage” may just involve expenses, a company statement said.

Jason Moss, managing director of Zenos, said: “Due to recent changes in the Government policy on apprenticeships, we are now working hard to ensure that the Zenos provision is fully aligned to the latest policy and that our learners continue to receive the best programme.

“All of the existing affected candidates will be starting a relevant programme imminently that will support their aspirations to gain an apprenticeship within the original time frame.

“We have consistently adapted our programme over the last 18 months to reflect the Government guidelines and we have a flexible and dynamic operation that can respond to these changes.”

The news has hit many would-be learners hard, with some claiming they had turned down job offers elsewhere thinking they had secured an apprenticeship scheme with Zenos.

The training provider’s own Facebook page has been littered with comments over the past 24 hours.

However, the news appears to have been a shock to the training provider, too, with a statement on its Facebook page saying it only found out about the course changes “24 hours” ago.

The statement said: “Within the past 24 hours, the funding agencies have told us that anyone starting an apprenticeship now needs an employer and a specific job identified, prior to starting on the programme. This is out of our control and we can understand that this may cause you uncertainty, which we can only apologise for.

“We are working very hard on your behalf to ensure that you have a successful career in the IT sector and at present we anticipate that although the start of the training may differ slightly that overall you are on the programme for the same amount of time.”

Zenos also claims 91pc of its learners find a job after completing one of their apprenticeships.

Employers offering apprenticeships to people aged between 19 and 24 can claim about half of the cost of the course from the state. Those hiring 16 to 18 year-old apprentices are eligible for 100pc funding.

— Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920

Twitter: ChangeTWYT