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]

Do you hate your job? Can we swap!

Hating our jobs .  .  . let’s do some extreme living!

You are in good company, aren’t you? Most of us hate our jobs. And it would be cool to have a job exchange.

I have another idea though. I found it on a list of unusual things to do before you die. It’s a kind of “extreme living”. The idea is this : very deliberately find a job that you hate, and do it. There!

Now why would we do that? Why deliberately find and do a job that we hate!

Because we can. Be. . . cause . . . we . . . can.

No, don’t walk away. Of course it is daft to do something unpleasant.

It’s enough trouble escaping what we hate. Why do more?

Because . . . well, you know what I am going to say. Because – we – can.

You dread your job because you are not in control and you think you will never be in control.

There are lots of times in you life that you are not in control.

But you can practice being in situations when you are not in control.

  • When I was a graduate student, I very deliberately went to movies on my own. Other people went in groups. It looked odd for a young person to go on their own. So I did. Until I stopped being uncomfortable.
  • A bit older, I spent three months traveling from city to city in Europe very deliberately arriving at midnight with no accommodation. Until I stopped being scared of finding myself with no where safe, dry and warm to sleep. Or rather until I learned how to find somewhere to sleep no matte where I am. You can imagine I traveled a lot more extensively because of the self-designed training course that I gave myself aged 25.
  • A bit older, I decided to overcome my fear of speaking in public by presenting a public talk every month for a year. I did. Many times, hardly anyone came. But I wrote a new paper (a proper academic paper) and presented it.  For 12 months in a row! I learned the art of getting on with it! And I stopped wasting time on anxiety.

So get over you dread of jobs you hate by deliberately taking a job that you hate!

Bet you learn a lot. Bet you come out the end knowing you can survive any job.

And there are many other things better faced head on.

Part of life is dealing with the dross.  There is no better way than giving yourself a crash course.

Do it over and over again until you are good at it!

 

P.S.  Great way to apply for a job. “I am applying for a job because I expect I will hate it  .  .  .”  That made you smile.

Bad management just got harder

How will social media change management?

I’ve spent much of the last two year’s pondering how management will change now we can use social media in business.  Social media, for the uninitiated means the two way read-write web.

If Boeing is going to click together aeroplanes like lego, what is the job of management?

At last, I have an answer that satisfies me. Management will not change very much at all.

What will change is that the rentier culture will get a rent – a tear that’s as vicious as wind ripping through an old sail.

Bad management just got harder

In short, bad management will increasingly get short shrift.

Let me illustrate with this example.

BNET today listed three of the America’s 3 stupidest management practices.

I’ve left their labels and added my summary in street language. You’ll recognize all of them.

Then below, I’ve added the positive behaviors that we psychologists look for in assessment centers.

Dangerous Complexity [signing off on codswallop because we think it came from an expert]

Dysfunctional Internal Competition [rewarding brown nosing rather than something useful]

Breaking-up Teams Constantly [making sure no one gets together otherwise they’ll spot we are emperors’ with no clothes]

We’ve known how to manage well for years

Even psychologists know how.  Here are three behaviors (good) psychologists look out for in an assessment centre.

1.  Did the manager summarize the situation, the group goal, and the goals for each person in the team on one side of paper, in words that every member of the team understood?

2.  No matter what the provocation (and we give some), did the manager bring the conversation back to the group goal, and the individual’s role, and explore how the task could be structured better, and more fairly?

3.  In the one page instruction, did the manager lay out a clear structure so that each member of the team is able to anticipate each others actions and, if formal ‘signals’ are not good enough, did the manager allow sufficient time and resources for them to rehearse until their actions become predictable and devoid of unpleasant surprises? (Pleasant surprises are allowed.)

Our job as managers

We do know how to manage, and we do know how to manage well.  We just get muddled up when we muddle management with “being the boss” and with profiteering.

I’ve satisfied my own mind that there is a role for Hannibal of the ‘A’ team – and that it is much the same as it has ever been:

  • Represent the team to itself
  • Coordinate when for whatever reason the team cannot coordinate directly
  • Reflect back to the team the possibilities that are emerging.

Managers in politics, church and business

It is hard to manage well.  Many of us try. Few succeed.

That is why elections are important. Imperfect as they are, elections allows us to test what our leaders think of us, to sense how the rest of the world will treat us when we push out our leaders as a symbol of our purpose, and to use the campaign to see how well we will coordinate when we act together.

Of course, in lieu of an election we could hire a psychologist. Some political parties do.  I was once asked to choose priests.  I declined. I could have done the job. I am atheist.  But I explained to the Bishop that I thought priests were chosen by God.  We must be the change we want to see in the world and organizations must be coherent.

What social media has changed in business is the value of capital.  Capital is no longer the only source of authority.  The day of one manager telling a bevy of unskilled people what to do is over.  For most of us, this is a knowledge-based world.  Authority comes from our ability to do our job.

Yet, company law has not kept up.  It will catch up, eventually.  There are some people working on it.  I understand Vermont intends to be the centre of talent-based companies, as London is (was?) of finance, and other places are of Anonymous Money.

Go get your things. We are leaving now.

We do know how to manage. We have known for a long time.   Even psychologists can watch you, rate you, and show you umpteen ways you could have done something differently.

We know how to do this.  Let’s get it done.

Springing happily into games design

Spring and new projects

Today is the first working day of British Summer Time 2009. The daffodils are out along the paths and the highways of England. It is light by 6am and it is time to spring clean my apartment.

I am also going to revamp my blog.

This is the third revamp or fourth incarnation.  I will still write about work and opportunity and I will still write about positive psychology – that is, the psychology of what goes well rather than the psychology of what goes badly.

Happiness engineering

What I will focus on for the foreseeable future is “happiness engineering” or “fungineering” or “happiness hacks”. These are all terms used by preeminent games designer, Jane McDonigal who has pointed out that games designers use basic work psychology to make engaging games far more effectively than managers, HRM and psychologists use the very same body of knowledge to make engaging work.

Learning games design from the beginning

I have no experience in game design. Zip. I don’t even play games – much. So this is the blog of a rank amateur exploring what games designers have to teach us about making work and play engaging in the 21st century, in our built up urban areas, with the threat of climate change and financial ruin hanging over our heads!

A community of amateur games designers

I suspect there are a heap of people out there who want to do this too. Please drop me the name of your blog if you also blog. Or join in the comments and suggest puzzles and conundrum for us to solve. And we will do our best.

Here’s to a winning 2009!
Jo