The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
Issue 1 | January 2022


“The Cycle of Distrust”

In the Edelman 2022 Trust Barometer Report, we see how globally, trust has become “the ultimate currency in the relationship that all institutions…build with their stakeholders.” Businesses lie at the intersection of public and private interests, as they hold the potential to impact the world through creating jobs, but also in myriad other ways. From climate change to the Great Resignation, businesses worldwide need to act with other institutions—NGOs, governments, and media—to empower their stakeholders and create a society of trust.

So, what does the role of trust have to do with the entrepreneurial mindset, you ask? Everyday entrepreneurs engage with their clients (stakeholders) in ways that large established organizations often do not. They’re filling needs within their communities through constant feedback from these communities. Entrepreneurial thinkers are, in short, ideally suited to break the cycle of distrust. 

What’s more, as society continues to distrust powerful institutions, entrepreneurs seek solutions and navigate the obstacles of the current work landscape. Learning to think this way allows individuals to engage with institutions and create opportunities for themselves and their communities.

Learn more about how Edelman developed this report and how we can begin to rebuild trust in our society.

See the findings

News Story

News Story

“Why are Americans choosing to quit their jobs in record numbers?”

Chances are, you have heard about the Big Quit or the Great Resignation. In the US, the number of people quitting their jobs has never been higher than it is right now. In a recent 60 Minutes report, we hear from workers, employers, and others looking at national trends. So who is leaving, and why? While there are many nearing retirement age and exiting their careers early, even more people leaving their jobs are Gen Z-aged. Hospitality, construction, health care, and other similar sectors are seeing persistent job openings. 

Some people say this is due entirely to the benefits provided by the government after the start of the pandemic, but this is only part of the story. While people looking for work want better pay and benefits, autonomy and flexibility are even more significant factors for attracting and keeping employees. As such, American workers have begun to value the ability to choose what you do, when you do it, and where you do it. This is great news for those of us trying to promote entrepreneurial culture in our communities and organizations.

Watch the story



“Whiplash Leadership”

In a recent article from Korn Ferry, we see the continuing impacts of the pandemic on business and organizational leadership. The everchanging development of COVID-19 forced many leaders into making one decision, only to have them change it when the situation shifted. This kind of decision-making has a name, Whiplash Leadership. The issue is this kind of leadership often leads to a lack of clarity from stakeholders, including employees, and if continued, it will foster distrust. 

Whether the organization is well established or only recently started, whiplash decisions are easy to fall into, especially in a situation of such ambiguity as in the pandemic. But, there are alternatives, alternatives that would be bettered by entrepreneurial thinking. Entrepreneurial thinkers are willing to test their assumptions without making bold bets. And, they are committed to critical thinking and validating their decisions on evidence. And sometimes, that means that transparency about shifting decisions is the best course of action. Slowing down how we make a call and being clear on a change of direction can actually improve trust with stakeholders.

“[Flexibility and transparency] will build credibility with stakeholders…even when a manager has to backtrack on an earlier decision, they can maintain their credibility and reputation. Admitting that a prior decision was a mistake, or explaining why it is no longer relevant, can help stakeholders get past any whiplash.”

As you think and read more about how not to fall into this leadership trap, we’d like to give a hat-tip to an ELI friend, Stephen Taylor, who shared this article with us.

Read the article



“The Need to Matter”

To close out this month’s thoughts, we wanted to turn to what makes people happy in their life and work. In the face of massive uncertainty, the need to matter in our lives has never been more apparent. And, it turns out, it is an essential component of being happy. 

In a recent podcast interview, Scott Barry Kaufman talked with Isaac Prilleltensky, Chair in Community Well-Being at the University of Miami, about the need to matter. They cover a range of topics related to this idea and uncover how societally and organizationally we may be at times hindering this vital component of human flourishing.

Use this episode to reflect on how we show up with those around us. For example, how are we creating a psychologically safe environment where it is acceptable to be wrong and where our discussions lead to stronger community bonds?

Listen or watch


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