Developing Corporate Entrepreneurship

Adapted from my 2005 book Passion v Pension this is the definitive guide to transform administrative worriers into innovative warriors. For though every organization has its origins in entrepreneurship, such spirit has been lost.

  • Re-defining Management and Re-cultivating the Basics
  • The 10 Principles of Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • The 10 Practices of Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Sustain Corporate Change with 6 Core Dynamics
  • Use the 1% Solution to generate profitable growth
  • Transform employee-minded managers into entrepreneurial-minded leaders.
The future is not what it used to be.

Every organization has its origins in entrepreneurship. Yet challenging times highlight the fact that most organizations have regretfully lost or forgotten the agile and innovative attributes so instrumental in founding and driving a company forward. The result is that resourcefulness has been replaced by a reliance on resources at a time when resources are scarce.

Though an agile innovative entrepreneur may found a company; it requires a firm corporate leader to sustain future growth. These attributes rarely seem to exist at the same time… yet when successfully blended, companies reap the rewards.

And that's because a strategic edge has been achieved:
Corporate Entrepreneurial Leadership.

This may well sound like a contradiction in terms. But success comes from such paradoxes. In today’s highly-competitive global market, the degree to which entrepreneurial leadership exists within organizations appears to be in direct proportion to its continued growth.

Developing Entrepreneurial Leadership is not about encouraging loose-canon entrepreneurs. It is about instilling the confidence to think, behave and act with entrepreneurship in the interest of fulfilling the intended purpose of the organization to the benefit of all the stakeholders involved. Entrepreneurship involves more than an individual. It involves whole teams engaged in a process of willingly working together, to create, implement, drive and follow through an innovative idea that delivers measurable value.

If the most competitive ingredient that a business has is its people, then it follows that the greatest benefit to a business is to have decisive confident people who readily take ownership for what they do. Business involves expectations. Business growth demands high expectations. Non-ownership-thinking hopes for the best, conversely, a self-employed mentality expects the best. Which culture would best serve a corporation?

If it is the nature of employee-ship to have low expectations and the nature of the entrepreneurship to set high expectations, then the task can be nothing short of evolving the former into the latter.

Corporate Entrepreneurial Leaders encourage their people to take initiatives and go further than might be expected of them, whether dealing with a request from a customer, a brief from a client, or supporting a colleague. They must regularly look beyond the horizon themselves. Indeed Corporate Entrepreneurs must have:

Insight for what the future will be;
Intuition for making the right decisions;
Initiative for taking required ownership;
Innovation for creating differently;
Integrity for following through correctly;
and, very importantly…
Individuality for accepting ownership;

Business is the great modern arena for us to express our vocation and develop our potential. Re-instilling the spirit of entrepreneurship into corporate management is the most effective way to reassure all stakeholders, re-energize leader, revitalize talent and re-cultivate the reward of reputable success.

Organizations must develop a new equilibrium between entrepreneurial thinking and their established structure. Few business models are today relevant. Perhaps the most appropriate metaphorical model is the gyroscope because of its ability to stay in balance irrespective of its angle or direction. With each strategic direction the whole company moves while maintaining balance.

What are good examples of Corporate Entrepreneurial Leaders? In technology, Steve Jobs of Apple; in finance, Michael Spencer of ICAP; in marketing Sir Martin Sorrel of WWP. Perhaps the greatest of the 20th Century was Konusuke Matsushita who encouraged his executives ‘to think like an entrepreneur, not a hired hand.’ At the Matsushita Electric Company in Japan, he created an entrepreneurial climate that was conducive to seeking opportunity, advancing innovation, developing leadership and giving service. It was this culture that led to the creation of numerous brands including Panasonic.

Corporate Entrepreneurial Leaders must fully embrace the responsibility to develop their people and in turn their creativity, initiative and leadership potential to the full. Because the future belongs to those organizations that are friendly yet fearless, experienced yet innovative and established yet entrepreneurial.

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