5 Habits of a Successful Social Entrepreneur

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Co-founder of Impact Hub Athens Sophie Lamprou speaking at the Global Ties U.S. summit in Washington, DC. Photo: courtesy of Global Ties U.S. by A.E. Landes Photography

Sophie Lamprou is a young leader from Greece with a vision for how to make change. The co-founder of Impact Hub Athens — part of an international network of creative social entrepreneurs dedicated to promoting and supporting cause-driven business and innovative ideas with social impact — prizes learning from successful people and initiatives around the world.

In 2016, Lamprou participated in the U.S. Department of State-funded International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which connects emerging leaders around the world with their American counterparts through a short-term issue-based professional exchange program in the U.S. The program is facilitated by World Learning, an international NGO focused on education, exchange, and global development.

In recognition of the cooperative local and international work of her organization, Lamprou received the IVLP Alumni Award for Social Innovation and Change at the Global Ties U.S. summit this year in Washington, DC. Global Ties U.S., is a nonprofit partner of the State Department that supports and strengthens international exchange programs.

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Impact Hub Athens participants are part of an international network of creative social entrepreneurs dedicated to promoting and supporting cause-driven business and innovative ideas with social impact.

Although, she’s still in the early stages of her journey, Lamprou has gained valuable insights into what it takes to become a successful social entrepreneur. She recently shared five key lessons she’s learned so far that anyone working to become a changemaker can put into practice:

1. Reaffirm Goals

The path to creating something new is filled with speed bumps and, at times, even landmines which must be navigated. Undoubtedly, this requires a tremendous amount of resilience. Lamprou’s reaffirmation of goals, especially when faced with major obstacles, has become a bedtime ritual. Every night she asks herself four questions

· What did I do today to achieve my goal?

· How can I do better?

· Is my goal still relevant?

· What are the key points that I learned today?

These four questions can keep you grounded and focused when things get tough. Record your answers in a book exclusively dedicated for this purpose.

2. Recognize Progress While Remaining Accountable

This bedtime exercise is valuable not only because writing down professional objectives keeps you on track; it also helps you chart your progress. The simple task helps you recall and evaluate what strides have been made while noticing any necessary adjustments to your personal and professional development plan. Lamprou’s system creates awareness and recognizes progress. By writing it all down, she points out, you hold yourself accountable — a key factor in achieving any goal.

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Sophie Lamprou being interviewed at Impact Hub Athens.

3. Communicate the Mission Effectively

A daily check-in is also good preparation for reiterating your vision to the team. As a leader, making the organization’s ideals, dreams, and targets front and center every day are just as important as writing down your own personal and professional leadership goals. Lamprou keeps a display board in her office to post the organization’s goals, current standing, and steps it needs to take to hit its mark. She believes this visual also communicates confidence in their capacity to accomplish their goals.

4. “Walk the Talk”

Be ready to actively exhibit the high-level expectations you have for the team. Showing you are willing to do heavy lifting goes a long way. Likewise, Lamprou admits she also does her fair share of grunt work when necessary. Members of the team will internalize the message that no one is above any task to make things happen and are more likely to exhibit similar behavior.

5. Make the Well-Being of Team Members a Priority

Social entrepreneurs have more than the sole duty of keeping their team focused on goals for change. Recognizing team members as extremely valuable resources who are also committed to success is fundamental to your work as a changemaker. Lamprou says she makes her employees’ emotional well-being a priority, even though they don’t expect it. She learned that leaders who assume the role of caretaker inevitably have a more effective and dedicated team.

The posting is based on an interview with Sophie Lamprou conducted by Laurence Bézy, program officer for the International Visitor Leadership Program, which is facilitated by World Learning.

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World Learning empowers people, communities, and institutions to create a more peaceful and just world.

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