The Advisor Century: Value Creation in an Entrepreneurial Society
Two big changes are people-focused: the growing diversity of the nation's work force and the anticipated worker shortages as baby boomers retire. Coping with these trends will take some stretching for many CEOs. Here's a digest of the key traits that are crucial in our changing workplace. Adaptability: If you could have only one skill in your toolkit, this is the one you need right now, says Marty Linsky, co-founder of consulting firm Cambridge Leadership Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With the marketplace changing practically overnight, CEOs need to be ready to learn fast and shift on the fly.
The tough part is knowing what should change at a company and what can't be altered without negative consequences, Linsky says. Linsky says leaders need to design their whole company for adaptability, not just possess the trait themselves. Build an environment where workers are encouraged to express their points of view and to raise tough issues before they become crises.
Have an organizationwide emphasis on learning from mistakes. Putting flexibility first helps leaders break out of established problem-solving patterns to explore new options, says Rick Lepsinger, co-author of Flexible Leadership: Creating Value by Balancing Multiple Challenges and Choices. Self-Awareness: Before leaders can tackle the challenges at their organizations, they have to look in the mirror, says Ken Blanchard, co-author of the management classic The One Minute Manager , and more recently author of Leading at a Higher Level.
Leaders need to look within and root out negative patterns.
Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think? (Ep. 348)
Gilburg says two types are common today: autocrats who like to make big decisions but don't take responsibility for fulfilling their goals, and abdicrats who shift key decisions onto others when they should be leading. Once you've assessed your leadership strengths, you can play to those, work on improving weak areas, or hire people whose strengths will complement your own.
Everybody says their employees are their top priority, but management consultants say few companies' actions show it. Changing work force dynamics make managing people an increasingly crucial skill for leaders, says Trudy Bourgeois, president and CEO of the Center for Workforce Excellence in Lewisville, Texas.
Generation X and Y workers know they're in demand as the American work force shrinks, Bourgeois says. Leaders need to learn how to keep this new wave of younger workers happy, or risk losing them. Many women leaders have an edge here, as they tend to focus on relationships more than male CEOs. Among the traits younger workers want from leadership are authenticity, accessibility and respect for their individuality. Aside from adjusting to a new generation's sassy attitude, one of modern leaders' prime responsibilities is helping their people adjust to the changes sweeping their workplaces.
Staneart takes clients through a four-step program to learn how to help workers embrace change.
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He says first, leaders must establish trust and reduce conflicts by airing them honestly. Only then can a leader start to gain buy-in and cooperation with a planned change. Once the team is onboard, leaders should step up efforts to recognize and reward the potential of their staff. He says annual performance reviews, or even quarterly ones, are not enough input these days, adding, "I have people who've been promoted five times and tripled their income in the past 18 months.
Purposefulness: Experts are split on whether having a strong vision is a good thing. But Linsky counters, "Vision is as much a constraint as a resource. In my observation, CEOs get invested in their vision, and then they don't see contrary data. What's better these days, Linsky says, is for leaders to have a strong sense of purpose they can express to their workers--a compelling reason for everyone at the company to come to work.
Decisiveness: The days of holding endless meetings to discuss possibilities are over, says Stevens. At the current pace of change, fast action is what matters.
The desire to reach consensus or get buy-in from all parties has to be curtailed at some point, and the leader has to make a decision. Stevens recalls one founder and CEO who had stepped back into a chairman role. Unfortunately, the new CEO let the company stagnate. Stevens investigated. The company ended up being sold. Women leaders, in particular, often need to work to boost their skills in this area. On the plus side, women tend to be confident in relying on their intuition, which can serve them well in cutting to the chase, says Bourgeois.
The ideal management style for the 21st century, Bourgeois says, blends typical female and male traits--you'll need both intuition and a focus on the bottom line, both people skills and analytical strength. Collaborative Skills: The problems today's companies face can't be solved if department leaders stay in their own silos, says Cynthia McCauley, senior fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. CEOs need to create cultures that foster idea exchanges among all corners of their organizations and beyond.
There are some basic skills leaders have always needed. The only difference is that now these skills are even more crucial. A few key classics:. Walk the walk. The days when CEOs could give themselves fat bonuses while cutting workers' pay are over--that maneuver cost American Airlines CEO and chairman Donald Carty his job in , and that's only one example. If you're not staying late to make the big project deadline, employees won't either, says Evan Wittenberg, director of the Wharton Graduate Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
The ethical standards you model will be picked up by employees, he notes.
What Is Entrepreneurship?
Too few leaders are creating organizations designed to encourage innovation, says Lepsinger. If there isn't a system in place to share new ideas and move those ideas along to become salable products, innovation will be stifled. He says, "You need to get everyone trained to think out of the box and be creative. Execute, execute, execute. One of the biggest leadership gaps these days is between vision and execution, says Lepsinger. Too many leaders spend their days dreaming about the big picture, while research shows more than half of workers despair of being able to execute on the boss' sweeping vision.
Cristich learned this lesson rather painfully after taking two years off from her company to run for public office. When she returned, she found that though she had articulated a well-thought-out, big-picture vision, her person staff had floundered on execution without her day-to-day input.
Top Dog Peaked in: s-'60s. Description: The head honcho of the postwar era spent most of his time barking orders at his dronelike workers. The Top Dog's ideal employee was known as an Organization Man--most of them were men. Embodying conformism in his gray flannel suit, he worked without complaint to fulfill the boss's every desire.
Top Dog often came up through the ranks and was a former Organization Man himself. Once on top, it was his turn to take all the credit for his loyal employees' ideas. Because job-hopping was considered bad for the career back then, Top Dog could scream and rant, knowing most workers wouldn't dare leave. Not in the Top Dog's vocabulary.
Drawback: The command-and-control style didn't foster creativity or innovation. As a result, many companies led by Top Dogs floundered in fast-changing markets. The Unleader Peaked in: Description: More than anything, the Unleader wanted employees to be creative and feel comfortable at work. Yelling was out, and staffers were encouraged to voice their ideas and feelings.
Then, nobody moved until consensus was achieved. There were endless delays while the Unleader pondered the options, resulting in many wasted opportunities. Few successful businesses owners find perfect formulas straight out of the gate. On the contrary: ideas must morph over time.
Whether tweaking product design or altering food items on a menu, finding the perfect sweet spot takes trial and error. Former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz initially thought playing Italian opera music over store speakers would accentuate the Italian coffeehouse experience he was attempting to replicate. As a result, Schultz jettisoned the opera and introduced comfortable chairs instead. Through the heart of any successful new business, venture beats the lifeblood of steady cash flow—essential for purchasing inventory, paying rent, maintaining equipment and promoting the business.
By using Investopedia, you accept our. Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses. Login Newsletters. Business Business Essentials. Table of Contents Expand. What Is an Entrepreneur? How Entrepreneurs Work. The Entrepreneur and Financing. Entrepreneurship Definitions. Why are Entrepreneurs Important? How Entrepreneurs Help Economies. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. Becoming an Entrepreneur. Passion to Action. Questions for Entrepreneurs. Overcoming bureaucracy Hiring talent Obtaining financing. Key Takeaways An entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards.
An entrepreneur combines capital, land, and labor to manufacture goods or provide services through the formation of a firm. Entrepreneurship is high-risk, but also can be high-reward as it serves to generate economic wealth, growth, and innovation. Ensure Financial Stability. Build a Diverse Skill Set. Consume Content Across Multiple Channels. Identify a Problem to Solve. Solve That Problem.
Getting Your Hands Dirty. Knowing When to Change Course. Shrewd Money Management. A Few Questions to Ask Yourself:. Do I have the personality, temperament, and mindset of taking on the world on my own terms? Do I have the required ambiance and resources to devote all my time to my venture? Do I have an exit plan ready with a clearly defined timeline in case my venture does not work? Do I have a concrete plan for next "x" number of months or will I face challenges midway due to family, financial or other commitments? Do I have a mitigation plan for those challenges? Do I have the required network to seek help and advice as needed?
Have I identified and built bridges with experienced mentors to learn from their expertise? Have I prepared the rough draft of a complete risk assessment, including dependencies on external factors? Have I realistically assessed the potential of my offering and how it will figure in the existing market?
If my offering is going to replace an existing product in the market, how will my competitors react? To keep my offering secure, will it make sense to get a patent? Do I have the capacity to wait that long? Have I identified my target customer base for the initial phase? Do I have scalability plans ready for larger markets? Have I identified sales and distribution channels?
Questions That Delve into External Factors:. Does my entrepreneurial venture meet local regulations and laws? If not feasible locally, can I and should I relocate to another region? How long does it take to get the necessary license or permissions from concerned authorities? Can I survive that long? Do I have a plan about getting the necessary resources and skilled employees, and have I made cost considerations for the same? What are the tentative timelines for bringing the first prototype to market or for services to be operational?
Who are my primary customers? Who are the funding sources I may need to approach to make this big? Is my venture good enough to convince potential stakeholders? What technical infrastructure do I need? Once the business is established, will I have sufficient funds to get resources and take it to the next level?
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Will other big firms copy my model and kill my operation? Compare Investment Accounts. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. Related Terms Intrapreneurship Intrapreneurship is a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a company or other organization. Social Entrepreneur Definition A social entrepreneur is a person who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a community problem.
How Factors of Production Work Factors of production is an economic term to describe the inputs that are used in the production of goods or services in an attempt to make a profit. Good Customer Service Matters Customer service is the direct one-on-one interaction between a consumer making a purchase and a representative of the company that is selling it. Understanding Seed Capital Seed capital is the money raised to begin developing a business or a new product. It might cover only the essentials such as a business plan and operating expenses.