I think we are having difficulty defining what an entreprenuer is. There are successful entreprenuers and not so successful ones and they come in all sizes, shapes, and management styles. I don`t think you can pigeon hole an entreprenuer nor put them all in one basket.
Entreprenuer literally means "undertake" or "undertaking." So, any one who strikes off on their own to start a business could correctly be called an entreprenuer. I am not trying to split hairs here, but I think defining an entreprenuer is not that difficult. Nor does it make a difference in this discussion.
Are they all totally prepared when they decide to actually do this undertaking - new enterprise - become an entreprenuer? No, they are not. I wasn`t 100% prepared when I started my business, although I spent the better part of about 15 years prior to going into business - studying business, preparing to be an entreprenuer - before I made the leap. But a craftsman I was not. A manager I was. A good one? Some would say that is debatable.
I think the difference in a successful entreprenuer and one who is not - one that turns into an employee of the business - is the difference in the definition between manager and leader. Truly great entreprenuers are leaders. And they do not have to be leading a small business to be an entreprenuer - if you agree of the definition of entreprenuer. A CEO who is a great leader and comes in to a company and turns it around can be an entreprenuer.
Craig questioned if an entreprenuer is made or born. I will ask the same question as to leaders. I do believe some people have leadership qualities in their genes. And environment, training, mentors, education, and experience all play a part in shaping our lives and how we interact with others. I do feel leaders rise to the top. Were they born this way? I don`t know. But does it matter?
A truly great business - small or large - needs good leaders, not managers. Employees - the masses - will follow instructions - this is human nature. It is the job of the leaders to provide the instructions. Instructions lead to process-dependent organizations and allowing the leaders to work "on" the business, not "in" it. Don`t lead ... be a people-dependent business, no guidelines and instructions, and the success rate drops. Not my opinion, just the facts.
Craig - I don`t believe you can teach anyone how to develop the mindset of an executive unless they have the desire and commitment to do it. Notice I left out the word "manager." I believe a big part of this discussion lies in the understanding that to be a very successful business owner you do not need to be a good "manager" - you need to be a great leader. I truly wish the term "manager" would be eliminated from business-speak. It is an awful term for employees and companies alike. Most people can`t "manage" their own lives and finances - yet they supposedly "manage" companies and teams and departments and shifts, etc., etc.
You manage tasks, not people. You either lead people or not. If you are not a leader, you should not be in a position of responsibility over other employees. Leading is guiding the vision of the company. Leading is hiring a person not for that position but for 2 ones above. Leading is compassion. Leading is being creative. I could go on, but I won`t.
Leadership can be taught. It is taught in the Boy Scouts. It is taught in the military. It is taught in churches. It is taught in many places. It takes leaders to recognize leaders in the rough. I speak from experience. And when you see a leader born and start to blossom, it is inspiring. Because once they see they are a leader, there is no stopping them.
Leading is not about SOPs or letting go or delegating or seeing the big picture - it is all of this and more.
We need more leaders. That is what is wrong in our nation`s capital today. Where have all the leaders gone?
Leadership - that is what makes a great entreprenuer. They get it done.
We`ll have to disagree on this "manager" versus "leadership" description. All I can tell you is that I teach my clients to stay away from using the term "manager" in most situations in business. When they do, and start thinking in terms of leaders and leadership, we make progress and they see progress and their companies see progress and they start operating better and making more profit. I`ve been practicing and teaching this business philosophy for over 15 years and it works for me and my clients - maybe it`s not for everyone. The results I see are phenomenal. Just this one little change makes a big, big difference. Finding potential leaders in a company and training them to become real leaders can make a big difference in a company and allows the owners and key leadership team more time to work "on" the business - the original thought of this post.
Leadership can be taught to adults. I see it more times than not. And it is contagious. This is why I preach it so much and try to get my clients to buy into it. It works. People can readily see leadership qualities. The tone of the voice. The desire to hear both sides of a story. The listening skills. The desire to ask lots of questions. The list goes one. The average everyday Joe has a good feel for recognizing leaders. This is because the average everyday Joe WANTS to be led - not managed. Most folks think they can "manage" better than the next guy - especially THEIR manager. But most folks don`t feel they are leaders. Otherwise, the whole world would be a better place.
PS: To learn more on leadership, I highly recommend checking out John Maxwell and his websites and signing up for his eNewsletter called Leadership Wired. Every issue is packed with great info.