December 5, 2016
The Entrepreneur as Leader and Manager
by Norm Trainor
For the entrepreneur, the ability to create highly productive working relationships that can fulfill their vision depends on three factors.
Entrepreneurs are doers. One of the strengths of successful entrepreneurs is that they get things done. However, relying solely on their own capabilities is limiting.
We only have so much time, energy, creativity and intelligence; it is a finite game. To realize the fullness of our potential, we have to harness the time, energy, creativity and intelligence of others. We need to be playing an infinite game.
To do so, we must learn to lead and manage.
In this complex and ever-changing world in which we live, we typically are dependent on others to get the results we want. As an entrepreneur grows his or her business, the interdependencies multiply. Entrepreneurs have to trust others — and other people have to trust them.
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The starting point is leadership. My friend and colleague Dr. Herb Koplowitz defines leadership as follows:
“Leadership is the ability to set a direction and coordinate the actions of others in implementing it.”
Leadership is primarily concerned with vision and strategy. Vision is the direction toward which you want to take your business. Strategy is the clear plan of action to get there. Management is concerned primarily with accountability and authority. The challenge for many entrepreneurs is that they lack clarity around their vision; they lack strategy to build the right structure; and they have never learned how to exercise authority or hold people accountable.
For the entrepreneur, the ability to create highly productive working relationships that can fulfill their vision depends on three factors:
- Effectiveness: Doing the right things to reach their strategic goals.
- Efficiency: Doing things right to optimize the use of resources and to reduce costs.
- Trust: Creating a positive working environment where people feel safe, respected and valued for their contributions.
As a leader and manager, it is important to take the time to develop and implement a business plan that includes:
- A well-articulated vision (where do you want your business to be in five years?)
- A clear strategy to reach that vision (what needs to happen to fulfill your vision?)
- A formal organization structure designed to implement your strategy (who and what do you need to support your strategy and achieve your vision?)
- Staffing and managerial leadership practices to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and trust (how do you need to transform the way you lead your business?)
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To take your business to the next level, you need to be a leader and a manager.