The Entrepreneur Within


Achieving success with your projects

with an entrepreneurial mindset



By John Cable, Director

Project Management Center for Excellence
A. James Clark School of Engineering
University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland, USA

Crystal Richards was a featured speaker in our 2021 Symposium, and we thought that you would enjoy a summary of her remarks. If you want to watch the recorded session you will find it at https://pmsymposium.umd.edu/pm2021/speaker/crystal-j-richards/. In her presentation she guided us through how we can tap into the entrepreneur within to achieve greater success with our projects. Crystal answers how she went from being a project manager to an entrepreneur and provides insight into how these two professions coalesce. She demonstrates how they’re related and encourages us to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit.

Crystal shared with us 5 tips to move from stagnation to innovation on our projects. You may be feeling like there is a lack of thinking outside the box. Maybe as a leader you wish there was more creativity on risk concerns or issues we have. The 5 tips Crystal presents help address these issues, but first we need more context to understand the Entrepreneurial Mindset.

So, why does it matter on our projects? An entrepreneurial mindset fosters more value for projects because your teams are encouraged to solve business problems and come up with creative and innovative ideas. When you give your teams the space and grace to be creative and innovative, your teams will be more productive and engaged on the project. We want to see people involved with and excited about the project because that’s where they’re going to generate those ideas.

When people are engaged with the work they are doing, they’ll want to stay. In the case of talent retention, when your staff feel their contributions generate substantial value, they tend to feel greater loyalty and satisfaction. This again will cause them to want to stay within the organization. All of this leads to culture enhancement. This means you have a culture that enhances the contributions, values, and ideas of your staff. This is why the entrepreneurial mindset can be so beneficial and valuable to your projects and organizations.

Before getting into the Entrepreneurial Mindset, we also must understand: What is an entrepreneur? Crystal first debunks some myths surrounding entrepreneurship and our stereotypes of an entrepreneur. No, an entrepreneur is not in-between jobs, all about the money, or a high-risk taker. An entrepreneur is also not all about the “rise and grind” mentality, nor the awkward loner, and does not own a boat named “Rainmaker”.

There are two definitions of entrepreneur that Crystal shares. The first is, “a person who organizes, operates and assumes the risk for a business venture”. The second is, “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”. At this point Crystal encourages us to take note of the words that are coming alive in these definitions: “operates”, “manages”, “assumes risk”, “takes initiative”.


To read entire article, click here

How to cite this article: Cable, J. (2022). The Entrepreneur Within: Achieving success with your projects with an entrepreneurial mindset.; Commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue IV, April. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/pmwj116-Apr2022-Cable-the-entrepreneur-within-commentary.pdf

 About the Author

John Cable

Director, Project Management Center for Excellence
University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA


 John Cable is Director of the Project Management Center for Excellence in the A.James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he has been a professor and teacher of several graduate courses in project management. His program at the University of Maryland offers masters and PhD level programs focused on project management. With more than 1,300 seats filled annually with students from many countries, including more than 40 PhD students, the program is the largest graduate program in project management at a major university in the United States.

John Cable served in the newly formed U.S. Department of Energy in 1980, where he was involved with developing energy standards for buildings, methods for measuring energy consumption, and managing primary research in energy conservation.  As an architect and builder, Mr. Cable founded and led John Cable Associates in 1984, a design build firm. In 1999 he was recruited by the University of Maryland’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering to create and manage a graduate program in project management. In his role as founder and director of the Project Management Center for Excellence at Maryland, the program has grown to offer two undergraduate minors, 3 master’s degrees, and a doctoral program. Information about the Project Management Center for Project Management at the University of Maryland can be found at www.pm.umd.edu

In 2002, PMI formed the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Educational Programs (GAC).  Mr. Cable was appointed to that inaugural board where he served as vice chair.  In 2006, he was elected as chairman, a role he held through 2012.  As Chair of the PMI GAC, John led the accreditation of 86 project management educational programs at 40 institutions in 15 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia Pacific Region. John was awarded PMI’s 2012 Distinguished Contribution Award for his leadership at the GAC.  He can be contacted at jcable@umd.edu

To view other works by John Cable, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-cable/