Management Skills For Entrepreneurs And Managing For Value Creation – When thinking of an entrepreneur, people often suggest examples such as John Molson, the brothers Harrison and Wallace McCain, and J. A. Bombardier—people who built successful businesses from the bottom up and made a lasting impact on society. But entrepreneurial thinking and work are not limited to those who start with a new idea in their garage with family or personal savings. Some people in large organizations are passionate about a new idea, spend time advocating for a new product or service, work with the organization’s key stakeholders to build a team, and then find ways to get the resources needed to make the idea a reality.
Thinking and acting proactively can also help one’s career. Some entrepreneurial individuals successfully navigate the environments of their respective organizations and maximize their career prospects by identifying and seizing new opportunities (Figure 2.9 “Understanding Entrepreneurial Orientation”) (Doetsch & Lindberg, 2013).
Management Skills For Entrepreneurs And Managing For Value Creation
, or literally “deterministic”, referring to those who are self-employed while receiving an uncertain income. In later years, entrepreneurs were also referred to as innovators of new ideas (Alexander Graham Bell), individuals who found and promoted new combinations of factors of production (Bill Gates’ Microsoft product group), and those who used opportunistic ideas to expand small businesses. dimensions. companies (Jim Lazaridis at BlackBerry). The common elements of these conceptions of entrepreneurs are that they are doing something new and that some individuals can take advantage of opportunities that others cannot.
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As the world changes rapidly, nonprofit organizations risk being left behind. And the companies that are left behind tend to disappear in a fairly short period of time. Even a face-to-face examination of the products and services we use every day reveals that many of them were not invented five or ten years ago. Smartphones are just one example.
Figure 2.10: As a college student, Michael Dell demonstrated an entrepreneurial orientation by starting a computer upgrade business in his dorm room. He later founded Dell Inc.
Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is a key concept when managers strategize in hopes of doing something new and seizing opportunities that other organizations may not be able to exploit. EO refers to the processes, practices, and decision-making styles of entrepreneurial organizations. The EO level of any organization can be understood by examining how it stacks up against five dimensions:
Autonomy refers to whether an individual or a team of people within an organization has the freedom to develop an entrepreneurial idea and then pursue it. In an organization that offers a great deal of autonomy, people are given the independence they need to implement a new idea, freed from the shackles of corporate bureaucracy. When individuals and teams are not inhibited by organizational traditions and norms, they are able to explore and champion new ideas more effectively.
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Some large organizations encourage autonomy by empowering a division to make its own decisions, set its own goals, and manage its own budget. One example is the $110 million Canadarm development program, conducted largely by Canadian industry under the direction of the National Research Council. CAE Electronics Ltd. to an industry team led by Spar Aerospace Ltd. from Canada. and DSMA Atcon Ltd. Canadarm was delivered to NASA in February 1981 at the Spar facility in Toronto. (Canadian Encyclopedia) Another, Skunk Works, is the official moniker of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs (ADP), formerly known as Lockheed Advanced Development Projects. Skunk Works is responsible for several famous aircraft designs including the U-2, SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 Nighthawk, and F-22 Raptor (Wikipedia, 2014).
Competitive aggression is the tendency to challenge rivals intensely and directly instead of trying to avoid them. Aggressive actions may include lowering prices and increasing spending on marketing, quality, and manufacturing capacity. An example of competitive aggression can be found in any number of “attack ads” in the political arena. When Justin Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party in Canada, he was the subject of advertisements targeting his judgments and particularly recent comments on the economy, terrorism, and the legalization of marijuana (Maloney, 2014).
Sometimes aggressive actions can backfire. During the 1993 Canadian federal election, the Progressive Conservative Party produced a television attack ad against Liberal leader Jean Crétien. The ad (sometimes called the “face ad”) was seen by many as calling attention to Chrétien’s facial deformity, caused by Bell’s palsy. The resulting outcry is considered an example of voter reaction to a negative campaign (Wikipedia, 2014).
Excessive aggressiveness can undermine the success of an organization. For example, a small company attacking larger competitors may be on the losing side of a price war. Building a reputation for competitive aggressiveness can harm a firm’s chances of being invited to join joint endeavors such as joint ventures and alliances. In some industries, such as biotechnology, collaboration is vital because no single company has the knowledge and resources to develop and deliver new products. Therefore, managers should be careful not to take competitive steps that destroy future collaboration opportunities.
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Innovation is the tendency to seek creativity and experience. Some innovations build on existing skills to create incremental improvements, while more radical innovations require new skills and may render existing skills obsolete. In any case, innovation is focused on the development of new products, services and processes. Organizations that succeed in their innovation efforts often have higher performance than those that do not.
Known for its efficient service, FedEx has introduced Smart Package, which allows both shippers and receivers to track package location, temperature and humidity. This type of innovation is a welcome addition to the FedEx lineup for those shipping sensitive goods like human organs. How do companies create these kinds of new ideas that meet complex customer needs? Perennial innovators 3M and Google have come up with some possible answers. 3M sends its 9,000 technicians to customers’ workplaces in thirty-four countries to learn about the types of problems customers face every day. Two of Google’s most popular features in Gmail, subject sorting and unlimited email archiving, were first proposed by an engineer who was fed up with his own email problems. Both companies allow employees to spend part of their working time on projects of their choice with the goal of creating new innovations for the company. This last example illustrates how multiple dimensions of EO—in this case, autonomy and innovation—can reinforce each other.
Figure 2.11: Ben & Jerry’s has demonstrated its ability to innovate over time by developing a number of unusual and creative flavors.
Proactivity is the tendency to anticipate and act on future needs rather than reacting to events after they occur. A proactive organization is one that takes an opportunity-seeking perspective. These organizations move ahead of changing market demand and are often early entrants into new markets or “fast followers” who improve upon the initial efforts of early movers.
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Consider Proactive Communications, a small business based in Killeen, Texas. Since its inception in 2001, the firm has provided communications in hostile environments such as Iraq and areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. In this case, being proactive means being willing to wear a military helmet or sleep outdoors, activities often avoided by other telcos. By seizing opportunities that others fear, Proactive managers have carved out a profitable niche in a technologically, environmentally, and politically confused world.
Risk-taking refers to the tendency to take bold steps instead of cautious ones. For example, Starbucks took a risky step in 2009 when it introduced a new instant coffee called VIA Ready Brew. Instant coffee has long been considered a bland beverage by coffee drinkers, but Starbucks decided that the opportunity to distribute its product in various “make-at-home” formats was worth the risk of associating its brand with instant coffee.
Although the common belief about entrepreneurs is that they are chronic risk-takers, research shows that entrepreneurs do not perceive their actions as risky, and most act only after using planning and foresight to reduce uncertainty. But uncertainty can rarely be completely eliminated. A few years ago, Royal Dutch Shell PLC CEO Jeroen van der Veer entered into a risky energy deal in the Russian Far East. At the time, van der Veer admitted it was too early to tell whether the move would be successful. Just six months later, customers in Japan, Korea and the United States bought all the natural gas expected to be produced there over the next two decades. Unless political instability in Russia and difficulties in pipeline construction dampen earnings, Shell is set to reap big profits from its 27.5 percent stake in the company.
Leaders can develop a stronger entrepreneurial orientation within the organization and take steps for individuals to become more entrepreneurial. It is important for managers to design organizational systems and policies that reflect the five dimensions of EO. As an example, consider how an organization’s compensation systems encourage or discourage these dimensions. You take sensible risks that are rewarded through raises and bonuses regardless of whether the risks pay off, e.g.
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