Some time ago I was listening to the chief executive of a very large international telco talk about the chances of ongoing succes of the organisation and what he saw as the principal drivers that were needed. A major point that stuck with me was his belief that the organisation would need what he called more "entrepreneurial managers". I discussed this with some of my management trainees over the next couple of courses I conducted to see what they thought or even new about what it meant to "entrepreneurial". The lack of understanding was I guess predictable (they were all telco engineers) however it was also somewhat troubling given the chief executive's statement.
I think the development of the entrepreneurial spirit in the management team is an excellent idea however what do we know about being entrepreneurial.
Definition of an Entrepreneur
Someone with the ability and willingness to introduce new products or services, that sell, to a market where those products or services where previously either unavailable or not desired.
Characteristics of an Entrepreneur
Risk taker that can live with uncertainty
Adaptable to change and able to improvise
Can see how new innovations satisfy a market
Interested in effectiveness rather than efficiency
Either creative him/herself or able to utilise those who are
Has a desire to lead in his/her area of operation or market
A continuos learner willing to make and or tolerate mistakes
Flexible, willing to change direction as the circumstances dictate
Self possessed of a sense of urgency and stimulates that sense in others
Recognises his/her shortcomings and empowers others who compensate
Managing entrepreneurial teams
Train members on how to disagree constructively
Seek methods of getting honest points of view (perhaps anonymously)
Encourage all to contribute and reward dissension and diversity
Abandon the concept of a good team player
De-politicise meeting roles and ensure roles are not aligned to hierarchical status
Counteract any ‘herd instinct’ of ‘we’re all in this together’
Encourage leadership changes to the current ‘expert’ as the needed arises
Now this is a pretty tall ask for mangers to become more entrepreneurial however if it can be achieved a more fluid and responsive organisation can be achieved. Lets face the experts in their job are those doing them so if properly managed much can be learned about where opportunities exist from our own staff.
Of course those suffering from group think and a reliance on the way things were just won't be able to undertake such an ambitious approach however for many companies that don't they will just go the way of Kodak.... and nobody should want that. You will need to have a risk taking culture in your organisation and for many this will also present a major problem.
More management tips from Ric can be found on orglearn just follow the management tips link.