For those of you who have found some joy in reviewing the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society website, you will have discovered that the primary mission of the society is “to contribute to the development of entrepreneurial leadership.”
This slight shift came about after reading several of Dr. John Maxwell’s books on leadership and the principles that he, and other more academic folk espouse, that leadership is a true touchstone of our daily world regardless of the hat we wear at a moment in time in our daily relationships.
And, so I have chosen to bring to the fore, the sphere of entrepreneurial leadership this week.
Donald Kuratko, noted U.S. entrepreneurial scholar and teacher, advises that in the past 30-odd years, we have witnessed the most powerful emergence of entrepreneurial activity in the world.
Entrepreneurs are now described as “aggressive catalysts” for change in the business world, individuals who recognize opportunities where others see chaos, contradiction or confusion.
We can safely state that our Canadian economy receives revitalization because of the efforts of all categories of entrepreneurs.
In fact, the world has turned now to free enterprise as a model for economic development. The passion and the drive of entrepreneurs move the world of business forward as they challenge the unknown and continuously create our future.
Entrepreneurship has truly become the symbol of business tenacity and achievement.
Entrepreneurs sense of opportunity, drive to innovate and create and their capacity for accomplishment have become the benchmarks by which free enterprise is now measured.
The Globe and Mail this past week published an article stating that in 2009, 117,000 Canadians started their self-employment journey through entrepreneurial pursuit.
Now that is a signal is it not? This revolution, it is said, will become more powerful to the 21st century than the Industrial Revolution was to the 20th century.
Yet, in the midst of this realm of “revolution,” it is my belief and that of many academics, scholars and business leaders that entrepreneurship is more than the mere creation of new ventures.
An entrepreneurial perspective can be developed in individuals and can be exhibited inside or outside an organization, in profit or non-profit (such as the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society) enterprises, and in both business or non-business activities for the purpose of bringing forth creative ideas.
Thus, entrepreneurship then, is an integrated concept that genuinely permeates our society and individuals in an innovative manner.
It is clearly a perspective that has reinvigorated individuals to, once again, reach into their inner self to find the innovative spirit that resides in all of us.
This is, in effect, the true essence of entrepreneurial leadership.
With that, below are a handful of characteristics that I believe underly what is great entrepreneurial leadership:
1. Self-Esteem—underlying everything, is a high sense of one’s own self-worth. Without that, individuals will never be able to undertake tough challenges
2. Need to Achieve—the world of academia and entrepreneurial writers strongly highlight this characteristic associating this need with those who constantly seek to perform at their best; persons high in this need are open to feedback, are goal oriented, seek to be unique and strive for accomplishments based on their own efforts which are all important to effective leadership.
3. Screening for Opportunity—leaders screen incoming information to seek new growth opportunities; they act like gold miners pouring through tons to find a few precious nuggets.
4. Locus of Control—the literature tells us that successful leaders and..entrepreneurs typically show a “ high internal locus of control,” which means that people who experience this characteristic assume that any success they may experience is due to their personal efforts and that they have the ability to influence events
5. Goal Orientation—this is an important one and one which I am constantly aware in my research and readings about entrepreneurs; those ventures that last always share a common factor, to embrace and understand what the priorities are and continue to work on that philosophy day in and day out
6. Optimism—underlying successful entrepreneurial leadership is a boundless font of optimism; problems are viewed as challenges, not setbacks underscoring an overall belief in the positive in any roller-coaster ride of entrepreneurial pursuit
7. Courage—entrepreneurs are risk takers but it does take a great deal of courage to build an organization, a new venture, a team from the ground up for in those moments in time of decisions, one is often alone
8. Strong Internal Motivation— the emotion that drives our behaviour comes from two sources: internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic); intrinsic includes needs, desires, motives and will power while extrinsic details such as rewards and punishments.
So while I’ve exhausted my professorial imagery for this week, let me conclude with this—the good news is that many of these leadership characteristics are learnable.
For where there is a will, you and I know there is a way. Have fun developing your entrepreneurial leadership package.