Entrepreneurship

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Assessing The New Leadership

Published November 16, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Hey Everyone! Thanks for stopping by! We’re back after taking some time away from writing to focus on family, health and career. In the meantime, now that the U.S. is in the midst of significant leadership change, we wanted to take this opportunity to assess what kind of leadership style we might expect from the President-elect.

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To begin, we will first take a brief look at the reaction to the election, as much of the world continues to work diligently to comprehend the reasoning behind those who voted for the new President-elect. However, as the protests continue nationwide, many are still having difficulty accepting the outcome. Why?

It was clear that even though she would have made history as the first female U.S. President, Hillary Clinton struggled with keeping a positive image, in addition to the apparent lack of trust she received from a great majority. What is perplexing for a great deal who still find it difficult to understand, is the logic behind casting a vote for the current President-elect, or that he was or should have EVER been an option to begin with. In fact, a great deal of people are confused as to why this candidate, (described by Leon Wieseltier in a recent Washington Post article entitled, Stay Angry, as a practitioner in the “politics of panic”[Wieseltier, 2016]) was not disqualified after he spewed the first racist remark during the campaign.

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What we have observed and noted along with the President-elect’s noxious behavior, is that as a leader in the business arena, and during the election process, it appears that two prominent components fueled the motivating forces which drove the bulldozer campaign: ego and vanity. How will those characteristics be integrated as effective leadership skills to motivate a nation to stand enthusiastically behind an individual like this in the office of the Presidency? Also, we question whether those factors raised concerns of those supporting his camp, as well as what justified overlooking those qualities to give supporters confidence in an individual that appeared to upset and insult a variety of races like the TV character Archie Bunker from All in the Family. With all the toxic behavior that was disclosed during the campaign, we contemplate what would motivate balanced, civilized, educated people to support the leadership skills of an off the wall candidate with a growing list of uncivil behavior?

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As if the harmful rhetoric didn’t give an indication as to the kind of leadership style we should expect, one merely need take a look around at those who surrounded him. During the campaign, his team consisted of individuals, that to many, seemed to be part of a brute squad, a term coined from the popular film the Princess Bride. In the film, these squads were created to help leaders instill and perpetuate fear, hatred, and division among the people as a means to control them. Is this a leadership style we can expect more of from the new administration? Was this taken into consideration by the voters or what the full ramifications would entail in the outcome of that choice? These are some of the questions we are considering as part of the assessment process.

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In our investigation, we must also look closer at some of the reasons why Hillary struck out and lost the important states required to win the electoral college, in spite of the fact that she won the popular vote by the time all the ballots had been collected. Some experts believe a key component to her losing was attributed to her team’s inability to comprehend the positive impact that embracing and uniting leadership with the Sanders movement would have. That could have been a significant step to help unify a divided party. Many believe that in addition to adapting some of the movement’s policies, had they brought on one of the prominent figures from Bernie’s campaign as her running mate, it would have sent a strong message that affirmed to the party, the DNC was working in partnership to support both sides. This may have been a better productive strategy that could have led to a more successful outcome.

Had they considered the impact of selecting Tim Kaine, rather than recruiting someone from the Sanders camp –  many agree that tactic would have been a positive move supporters could accept. However, the strategy they chose sent a clear message that many of the constituents already suspected, that the Hillary brand was not hearing, nor open to listening to ALL the citizens in her party. In the meantime, that weakness opened a clear path that enabled the sly sharks of her opponent’s camp, to seize the opportunity and go in for the kill.

In the business arena, an effective leader understands the importance of consumer feedback. The President-elect’s team collected information, listened and addressed the grievances of his supporters, then used that data to create a frenzy by playing to the heightened emotions and fears of the populace. In the publication entitled, The Value of Strategic Management (Berry, 2014), our research work reveals that great leaders look for strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats when devising plans to achieve a goal. This is one very effective strategy, that when given the chance to implement, can work like a great white shark devouring everything in its path.

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Further information to assess, is how a citizen, without any experience in civil service, or holding a government position, who has an alleged 75 lawsuits pending against him, would or could qualify for the office of Presidency. Moreover, we must consider in our evaluation, how voters supported their candidate cognizant he’s avoided paying taxes for nearly two decades. Even without accountability for the poisonous behavior he displayed, and lack of transparency in many arenas, now citizens are asked to consider giving the President-elect a chance to succeed, especially without feeling motivated to grant him that opportunity.

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What is most unsettling to consider in all this, are the many who no longer feel safe in this country because of the boundaries that he and his campaign crossed like: (a) the toxic rhetoric and behavior displayed from the campaign; (b) the disrespect he showed to a variety of individuals including a disabled reporter; and (c) the flippant, derogatory and inflammatory attitude he displayed towards the women brave enough to come forward to testify against him. In short, that uncouth and venomous leadership style continues to disrupt many communities. How could it not? Many are concerned and frightened from the behavior of his leadership skills. After all, if citizens will tolerate blatant misconduct from their Commander in Chief, what is to prevent supporters from engaging in similar behavior? (There are reports that this is already occurring).

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Regardless of the how or why, the fact remains, the voters have spoken and now citizens are focused on finding a way to come together to heal and unite this country in the after math of a reckless and destructive campaign. However, in order to hit the “reset” button as citizens are being asked, with the possibility of embracing a let bygones be bygones, attitude or, let’s take the high road and start from scratch mentality, a few changes in leadership style are required.

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First and foremost, if the President-elect is authentically interested in beginning the healing process, as any great leader would, he would arrange a press conference to offer a genuine heartfelt apology to all those who feel a deep pain and hurt from the toxic behavior and rhetoric he engaged in. We present this maneuver as a leadership skill tactic that may allow those who have been deeply scarred to feel safe and perhaps believe that there is hope moving forward in a positive direction. After all, with forgiveness, hard work, and education, people are capable of change. Like the character, Edmund, in C.S. Lewis’ popular series, The Chronicles of Narnia. When we first meet him in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Edmund embarks down a path of hurtful, mindless behavior due to misguided anger and the deep grief he felt from an absent father. However, once he became aware of the consequences of his hurtful behavior, audiences witnessed a positive change. If the President-elect’s actions and deeds reveal he is capable of building bridges and trust with those who are suffering from his behavior – actions which in fact revealed a lack of emotional intelligence – perhaps many citizens would be more eager to hit their internal reset buttons and begin to work in partnership with the President-elect to build trust and help unite the nation.

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In order to help ensure this possibility, however, we recommend leadership skills that are consistent with unifying behavior from the new administration while revealing a genuine interest to move the country forward in a constructive direction. Otherwise, many concerned citizens fear facing a reality with a dire need to protect themselves from a regime that emerges of an uncontrolled individual driven by ego and toxic leadership skills. In other words, citizens may be confronted with a reality reminiscent of an era similar to when early explorers arrived from Europe to claim a new world for themselves. Rather than show appreciation and gratitude, the explorers nabbed the riches, then slaughtered their generous hosts who welcomed them with open arms.

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One thing is for certain when conducting any kind of evaluation: that the dark side of history is never forgotten, so it can be avoided. Equally important is that citizens embrace optimism as a strength needed to call on history’s newest heroes in order to keep the energy moving forward in a positive direction. If not, a great majority of citizens are concerned they may witness the beginning of a leadership style that slowly converts this great nation from a democracy into one that resembles a dictatorship.

Unity and Strength

It is pretty clear that now more than ever, the entire nation needs to work diligently to pull from the wells of their own internal “leader,” (the teacher within) to find ways to go beyond the pain to: (a) break down communication barriers; (b) apply deep active listening skills to truly hear and understand each other’s differences; and (c) most significantly, realize it’s time to learn how to validate each other as fellow citizens, whether we can agree on anything or not. This is one kind of strategy that may help begin the healing process within our wounded families, communities, and nation as a whole. That is, after all, what seems to be at the core of this election.

In contemplating all the information presented in our assessment as to the kind of leadership we can expect from the new administration, we have come to the following conclusion: it is up to the President-elect to decide how he wishes to be remembered in history, as a zero – a tyrannical racist and bigot that incites hatred and division; or or a hero – the kind of leader that will motivate the masses with effective leadership skills that include some of the following virtues: (a) courage, (b) impartiality, (c) empathy, (d) fair judgment, (e) enthusiasm, (f) humility, and (g) imaginative innovation (Glanz, 2002). Only time will tell. In the meantime, regardless of the kind of leader he chooses to be, it is up to every citizen to become more mindful and compassionate with each other and keep working on becoming better versions of ourselves, to set a positive tone.

That wraps our evaluation at this time. Thanks for checking out our blog. We’ll keep posting new articles as often as we can, however, due to our busy schedule, it may not be as often as we posted in the past.

That’s all for now, until next time, keep working on evolving into a better version of you!

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“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

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References:

Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Glanz, J. (2002). Finding your leadership style. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculam Development (ASCD).

Wieseltier, L. (2016, November 11). Stay angry. That’s the only way to uphold principles in Trump’s America. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/11/11/stay-angry-thats-the-only-way-to-uphold-principles-in-trumps-america/?utm_term=.6ccc384b7e08

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The Decision Making Process

Published February 6, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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(Reposted from May 15, 2013)

Introduction

Decision making is an essential part of entrepreneurship that affects numerous elements in operating a business. It is in an entrepreneur’s best interests to possess the skills to help them reach the best decisions available to insure the soundest opportunity for success. Low (2010) contends entrepreneurs play an important role in the economy with three major components that affect their decision making process: (a) the vision and operation of the venture; (b) the uncertainty and risks they confront; and (c) the innovation process or reallocation of resources (Low, 2010, p. 5). In addition, incorporating the necessary business acumen can: 1) influence political agendas; 2) help avoid violation of legal and regulatory issues that can yield outcomes with extreme consequences; 3) play an important role in cultural perceptions; 4) influence the demographic diversity of an industry; and 5) have a huge impact on the financial resources that affects the operation of a business.

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Demographic Diversity

A proprietor’s decision making process can also effect the demographic diversity of an organization. For example, when Virgin Company’s entrepreneurial giant, Sir Richard Branson (2012) was contemplating whether Virgin branch out to launch a new airline, he was advised to avoid certain competitors due to costs and for fear of going up against industry giants. He realized he was up against goliaths with sizable fleets, experienced staff, and strengths from holding huge portions of market share.  Branson’s intuition however, and personal grievances from traveling, kept focused on competitor complacency. He was passionate about creating a better flying experience and knew others felt the same.  With this energy and tunnel vision, Virgin Atlantic was introduced and made their mark in history (Branson, 2012).

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Legal and Regulatory Issues

Each year the US Supreme Court issues actions that constitute new litigation due to failed businesses because of gaps in legal insight in the decision-making process by leaders (Bardwell, 2009). For example, during my employment at Capitol Records, the organization expanded into the music video production market and created a new division called Picture Music International (PMI). This event constituted the rearrangement of senior executives in key positions who were disbursed in helm positions within the structural organization. The changes occurred quickly in an attempt to create a smooth transition while maintaining operations. As a result, important components were overlooked and errors were made due to communication barriers from the rapid transit.  In the process, a contractual renewal date for an important artist went undetected. The new senior executive did not negotiate the original contract and was therefore not cognizant of the issue. The artist’s legal representatives allowed the contract to expire and the artist signed to a competitive label. Because of the gap in legal insight, the oversight resulted in the forfeiture of a major industry player, and in the eyes of the shareholders, perceived as an embarrassing loss.

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Political Agendas and Cultural Perceptions

Steyaert (2000) purports the role of entrepreneurship in the modern era is far larger than previously considered and is closely involved with economics.  Entrepreneurship is viewed as an economic phenomenon, with innovative power that extends beyond its own economic ambitions and requires the examination of its political and ethical effects (Steyaert, 2000). For example, when a firm is exposed for polluting, activists use this opportunity to pursue political agendas.  In the meantime, scholars explore factors that determine how entrepreneurs help economies grow as a result of psychological approaches to an enterprise (Thornton, Robeiro-Soriano, & Urbano, 2011). Take for example the culture Starbucks created. Prior to its genesis, Americans were used to having coffee in diners or restaurants for under a dollar.  Starbucks vision focused on drinking coffee as a reason to socialize. In doing so they created a culture where consumers are happy to pay premium prices to partake in the Starbucks experience. This culture translates into enormous profits and a worldwide phenomenon that includes a Starbuckian dialect.

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Financial Resources

Financial advisors understand that cash flow is also an important component business owners require to make sound financial decisions to ensure growth and survival. A company with solid liquidity is not only able to meet short term financial obligations, but also has accumulated enough equity to take advantage of alluring business strategies as they expand (Cory, Envick, & Patton, 2011). For example, with each success Capitol Records enjoyed from an extensive catalog that includes the Beatles, Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, David Bowie and Kenny Rogers, UK based parent company, Thorn-EMI continued to incur huge revenues that allowed them to expand into other fields. However, for every successful venture, there are also ventures that fail and become corporate tax write-offs. In this aspect, the decision making process can result in failure and loss of revenue.

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Conclusion

Sir Richard offers the following tips that have helped in his decision making: (a) trust your instincts, (b) focus on your customers, not your critics, (c) always support your team, and (d) know when to say goodbye (Branson, 2012). In conclusion, the most important reason decision making is an essential skill for entrepreneurship, is that a wrong choice can become the game changer that makes or breaks an organization.

That’s a wrap for this week! Until next time … Keep organizing your systems!

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Most of us are going through life without interrogating whether our decision-making processes are fit for purpose. And that’s something we need to change – especially when the stakes are high and the decisions are of real import. – Noreena Hertz

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

Mayr’s Author Page

References

Bardwell, S. (2009, January 1). Legal insight decision making for small business and entrepreneurs: A judicious approach. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from Freepatentsonline: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Entrepreneurial-Executive/219010996.html

Branson, R. (2012, February 7). Richard Branson on decision-making for entrepreneurs. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from Entrepreneur.com: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222739

Cory, S., Envick, B., & Patton, E. (2011, January 1). Sound financial decision making for entrepreneurs: can the GAAP cash flow statement mislead? Entrepreneurial executive. US: The DreamCatchers Group, LLC. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Entrepreneurial-Executive/263157521.html

Low, S. (2010). Defining and measuring entrepreneurship for regional research: A new approach. ProQuest dissertations and theses; 2009; ProQuest entrepreneurship. Urbana, IL, USA: ProQuest LLC. Retrieved February 28, 2013

Steyaert, C. (2000, June 18). Creating worlds: Political agendas of entrepreneurship. Nordic conference on small business research. Aarhus, Denmark: ProQuest, LLC. Retrieved February 28 2013, 2013

Thornton, P., Robeiro-Soriano, D., & Urbano, D. (2011). Socio-cultural factors and entrepreneurial activity: An overview. International small business journal. Barcelona, Spain: Sage. Retrieved February 28, 2013

The Entrepreneurial Culture

Published February 27, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Research reveals that more and more companies are embracing an entrepreneurial culture in the innovation process within their organizations. Firms have begun to comprehend that the nature of innovation is transforming the workplace and have developed policies to accommodate this paradigm shift.  The field of innovation now expands beyond the traditional arenas of science and technology.  Organizations have done this by instigating innovation in ways that also address new components to include: 1) co-creation, 2) user involvement, and 3) environmental and social challenges (Prahalad, 2010). The Lego Corporation, for example has emerged as a company that incorporates a visible entrepreneurial culture.

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In 2006, innovators at Lego decided to involve users in the early stages of the development process for the next generation of a popular product called Mindstorms.  They picked four advanced users from an online community to help develop new features. This strategic union between users and non-users from the in-house production staff turned out to be quite successful and a contribution to Lego’s culture toward a better organizational experience. The experience and insight users offered were a valuable asset for the engineers who could now develop a new product directly with the feedback of the operators. It was so successful, they eventually became a part of the Lego Innovation team and the new version of Mindstorms NXT went on to garner two achievement awards within the first few months of its release. MacDonald (2008) purports that working for a huge corporation can hinder productivity due to the bureaucratic nature.  In other words there is less freedom to engage in creativity that can help individuals fully realize their potential (MacDonald, 2008, pp. 4-6). The Lego corporation has found a way to break some of these bureaucratic barriers by incorporating innovative entrepreneurial techniques.

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Economic crisis and high unemployment rates forced some out of the world of bureaumania and into the world of entrepreneurship. It forced some individuals to find solutions outside the box for employment. For example, one person began offering marketing and social media production services to a select corporate executives as an independent contractor.  The venture is still in the infancy stages as they continue to learn from their experiences and work out the bugs from the structures that hinder the process which include the expansion of a client base and the resources to support it. Badal (2013) suggests that creating the right environment which includes: (a) being open to risk, (b) developing trusting relationships, (c) building skills and knowledge, (d) offering support, (e) obtaining access to resources, (f) maintaining a supportive organizational structure, and (g) setting realistic goals, is pivotal for the innovation process that is emerging in the entrepreneurial sector (Badal, 2013).

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References:

Badal, S. (2013). Building corporate entrepreneurship is hard work. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from Gallup Business Journal: http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/157604/building-corporate-entrepreneurship-hard-work.aspx

MacDonald, R. (2008). Beat the system: 11 secrets to building an entrepreneurial culture in a bureaucratic world. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Prahalad, C. K. (2010). The new nature of innovation. Ann Arbor, MI: OECD.

Creative Disruption

Published February 25, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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There are many things that can impact creativity in the entrepreneurial process within the workforce of an organization. Echeverria (2012) postulates that there is nothing more challenging for a leader than managing creativity effectively to assist with breakthroughs and the delivery process of new innovations. Idea agents require support and freedom in the creative process. Effective leaders support innovators by: (a) providing authentic leadership that inspires and motivates individuals to perform at optimum levels, (b) understanding and identifying the idiosyncrasies, strengths and weaknesses of creative personalities, (c) letting innovative individuals take flight, encouraging them to keep in alignment with the organization’s interests, and (d) creating a clear configuration of structure that liberates the creative spirit and nurtures a culture of empowerment (Echeverria, 2012).

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Simon (2010) contends that another component that can disrupt the creative process are the entrepreneurs who have concerns about technological innovations that may eliminate the need for certain skills; replace workers; and require training on new systems. For example, because of technological advances a small restaurant can attract new clients without a marketing budget through the internet; an iPad case manufacturer can generate over $1 million in profits in just a few months with only a handful of employees; or a voice over company can connect artists with opportunities without expensive hardware and software (Simon, 2010). These are new frontiers that can prohibit adaptation to change.

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Although new innovations may be disruptive and cause alarm for some entrepreneurs, the most successful ones recognize new challenges as opportunities for growth.  This is the mindset and focus of an effective entrepreneurially managed firm. A trailblazing entrepreneur uses opportunity: (a) as a stimulating agent to address challenges, (b) to find resourceful adaptations and solutions, and (c) to discover the best way to capitalize on it (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2010). This entrepreneurial philosophy is in alignment with the kind of corporate entrepreneurship that encourages associates with innovative ideas like Apple’s Steve Wozniack and Disney’s Don Bluth to remain within an organization rather than branch out to create competition. Corporate entrepreneurship support is fundamental.  With the aid of incentives and rewards, trailblazers are encouraged to pursue innovative ideas as well as participate in the creative and decision making process. This strategy can be beneficial and a profitable experience for both the entrepreneurial innovator and the organization.

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References:

Bygrave, W., & Zacharakis, A. (2010). Entrepreneurship. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Echeverria, L. (2012). Idea agent: Leadership that liberates creativity. New York, NY: AMACOM Publishing.

Simon, P. (2010). The new small: How a new breed of small businesses is harnessing the power of emerging technologies. Henderson, NV: Motion Publishing.