Why entrepreneurs succeed: don’t forget the third reason

Reason 1 : Obstacles may not really be obstacles

What really drives entrepreneurs?  In short, they look around and say “I can do this better!”  You and I see a constraint or barrier and see it as fixed.  An entrepreneur says:  “This can go.  I can take it away. I can ignore it. I could use it as a vaulting-horse and jump over it.”

Reason 2 :  Organize to take the profit

What makes a successful economic entrepreneur is that they also notice that they can rejig the working arrangements and take the profit themselves:  “All the better for making me better off!”

Reason 3:  Don’t forget reason 3

So, entrepreneurs are “in” the game and they see an opportunity.  Then, they notice how to rearrange the game to seize the opportunity for themselves.

But, they don’t stop there.  They do something else that is critical to their success.  They rally people to help them win.

Entrepreneurship is competitive.  Even if entrepreneurs are not about to bring their old industry or business to its knees, they are going to become more important than their former colleagues and bosses.  A certainty of entrepreneurial life is that whomever is going to lose out or become less important than them will fight back!

Make sure people are better off with them than against them

And, so it should be.  Why should others stand back and give up their right and impulse to compete! This is why rallying a team is so important to entrepreneurial success.  In essence, an entrepreneur wants to make sure people are better off with them than against them.

This is the skill that psychologists can help teach entrepreneurs.

  • We will let you spot the opportunity in the business that you are in.
  • We will let accountants help you figure out the business structure and financing.
  • What we do is help you learn that all important skill:  to build a team where people are better off with you than against you!

 ACADEMIC REFERENCE

Power as Practice: A Micro-sociological Analysis of the Dynamics of Emancipatory Entrepreneurship
David Goss, Robert Jones, Michela Betta and James Latham
Organization Studies, 2011, 32
[Downloadable from David Goss’ homepage at Surrey]

Find whom you need to do the team work you don’t want to do!

Belbin Team Roles

I’ve put together the promised presentation on Belbin Team Roles.  You are likely to prefer playing 2 or 3 of the 9 roles.  Each role adds essential activities to a team and carries with it a downside.  The Shaper asks probing questions, but can be a pain.  The Team Player keeps the group together but can’t make tough calls. And so on.

The Belbin provides the words and labels to what many of us intuited.  And it reminds you to hunt down the team members who drive you scatty because they are so unlike you.  You need them badly to do what you don’t like doing!

The presentation is on slideshare. It runs well in Powerpoint.  On OpenOffice and Slideshare, one or two slides are distorted.

[slideshare id=2666705&doc=icandoit-091207092921-phpapp01]

7 steps to network yourself into business opportunity

Network our way through the recession?

There is a funny video about Linkedin going the rounds that I found from @jackiecameron1.

Unemployed people sign up to Linkedin in a desert of jobs. Everyone is networked, but to each other, to no one has a job.

What use is networking if there are no employers in the group?

Networking is not hitching a ride!

What is very apparent in the rather delightful (and accurate) spoof  is that no one is doing anything.  Everyone is trying to hitch ride on everyone else!

Who in that network is trying to make anything happen? Who is inviting other people to help, even for free?

Networking out of a desert of jobs

To take the metaphor of the desert further, if anyone got the group organized to look for water, they might find some!

Why doesn’t anyone start some useful activity?

The simple answer is that no one there trusts anyone else. If they did, they would invite them to do something!

How do we begin to organize that group?

Here are 7 steps for organizing a group who seem to be out of ideas, out of resources and who don’t know each other well.

A  Show Confidence in Your People

#1 Begin!

#2 Be active.

Do something! Sit down and make a sandcastle! See who helps.

B Help Your People Gain Confidence in Each Other

#3 Change the sandcastle so that people are helping each other.

Move your position so that you are handing sand to the person building. When another person joins in, move to the the end of the line.

#4 Move the line slowly in the direction that seems most promising.

At the same time, get people to sing so that they become more aware that they are a group.

Keep your attention on the sandcastle by-the-way!  People are only going to be bothered with the sand castle if you are!

C Work with People Who Trust the Group

#5 Position a reliable person at the end of the line while you start a new line.

Make sure the person at the end of a line knows to sing out if they see anything unusual on the horizon.

D Bring Information About Opportunities Into the Group

#6 When someone sees something unusual on the horizon, don’t create a stampede.

Move the whole bicycle wheel, by changing the direction that the sand moves. Move the sandcastle builder to the other end and reverse the direction of sand. In an orderly way, move the other spokes. Keep it playful!

E We Are All In This Together

#7 Continue and continue!

You might decide to abandon your group and go it alone.  Yes, it might be slow moving the group along and it might feel as if the group is slowing you up.  But aren’t your chances of finding water higher in an organized group looking out for each other?

It is easier to think straight when things are really bad

It sometimes feel that deserts are too much to cope with.  I am also going to tell you that deserts are better than abandoned farm land. You are lucky. Yes, you are!

Let’s imagine, you simply find yourself in a abandoned but essentially sound farm.  You don’t start building a useless sandcastle. You do something useful.  You start to plough the land and plant seeds.  The difficulty is that you have now fixed your group to that field.  You will be unable to move slowly across the horizon to a better place.  In modern parlance, your solution is not scalable!

That’s why I like the idea of deserts.  We are willing to abandon sandcastles and rebuild them elsewhere.

When you chose your seed project, build something, anything, where we can see results and where we can all help! Keep the projects short and sweet so that people can see results and move them as we spot other things on the horizon.

Experiments in extreme living

What I want you to do is to build something with the resources under your feet.  And invite someone else to join in.

When the person joins in, give them a prime spot and support them.  Invite another person.  Keep building.

That’s is the challenge. That is the task!

Making molehills out of mountains

Oh! I do like this expression. How do we solve large problems or answer large questions? Break the question into as many small questions as we can.

And if we are group or a family, do the same thing. Brainstorm the question and ask everyone to contribute, “two or three (neither more or less) specific things” about how they will be affected by the big question.

Bang on time – this will be useful this weekend!

UPDATE:  Bang on time again.  This is an important hack to add to a manager’s quiver.  2 or 3 specific things (neither more or less) about how they will be affected by the big question!!

5 steps for rapidly understanding a task!

Do you understand everything that everyone does?

About 5 years out of college, you will begin to take responsibility for work that you simply do not understand.  Imagine ~ you are running a project and the accountants are totting up your numbers and running off terms like cashflow and depreciation that you are not really sure of.

The IT boffins prattle away about bandwith and JSON.

Anyway you get the idea.  People can baffle you with rock science and you wonder sometimes whether they are just having you on!

How do you manage someone who knows a heap of stuff that you know nothing about?

 

You want to know

  • Why this person is in your team
  • Why are they critical to your operation (why is their knowledge and judgment essential)?

5 straightforward questions to follow what they do and evaluate their contribution

1. Explain!

2. Show me!

3. What’s next?

4. When will we finish?

5. What is my role here?

Elephants shall never forget me! (Explain, Show, Next, Finish, My Role)