Strangling in red tape? Too much bureaucracy? Risk averse? How entrepreneurial is your business? Large companies admire the entrepreneurial flexibility of small start-ups but can rarely emulate them. Why is it so difficult?
Somehow businesses need to be large and small at the same time. Decentralization can help, but all employees should also be encouraged to show leadership, to be activists as described by Gary Hamel in his excellent book, Leading the Revolution.
Steps to Fostering Entrepreneurial Organizations
- Balance central/top down control with entrepreneurial freedom of movement.
- Efficiency is still required to deliver today's products profitably.
- But it's bureaucracy when elevated to an end in itself.
- Being profitable today while creating the future requires a balance of efficiency and entrepreneurial flexibility.
- Learning organizations act without fully knowing where they are going, then learning from experience.
- Entrepreneurial businesses learn fastest.
- Balance strategic planning with improvisation.
- Set targets - X% of next year's profits from new products
- Entrepreneurial cultures foster diversity - not uniformity.
- Encourage employees to disagree with you - not easy!
- Reward learning from mistakes.
- Punishment encourages doing what is safe and non-disclosure of errors.