Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CEO and Entrepreneurship

This blog post is based on some great information shared on Harvard Business Review written by Stever Robbins. You can find the original post here. Mr. Robbins gives some great thoughts on the role of a CEO and particularly on success in that role as it relates to entrepreneurship. He focuses on the reality that most CEO's likely began their journey as an entrepreneur, and as such, need to do some things differently as they grow in their leadership responsibilities. Here are some of his thoughts:

"The CEO entrepreneur sets a company's vision and strategy. The vision is why the company exists in the first place. The strategy is how the company plans to do that, given the reality of the marketplace, the competitors, regulation, technology trends, etc. Strategy includes everything from designing the organizational structure to defining the business model to choosing partners for the venture.

Great entrepreneurs make strategic opportunities. Great entrepreneurs use research, prediction, and detailed plans. But rather than hope to discover an opportunity, they make their opportunities. They build an ecosystem of customers, employees, suppliers, and partners who all have a vested interest in the company doing well. They experiment and learn, continuously altering their strategy — and indeed, their entire vision — as needed for success.

CEOs need to spend regular time on strategy. Furthermore, great entrepreneurs regularly assess their resources, relationships, and partnerships. Rather than simply trying to align around a single long-term opportunity, they should think in terms of creating a market and altering their vision with them to build an ecosystem that's greater than the sum of its parts".

So boiling it all down I see it this way. Many of us began our companies as entrepreneurs. We went to market with a product or service. We built an ecosystem of customers, suppliers, employees etc. We started without a lot of planning in many cases. We have built something based on hard work and pure will power. But that only goes so far. It runs out of steam and we have to move to the next level as leaders - to become CEO's that focus on strategy and planning. We have to focus on relationships and the people so our ecosystem takes us to the next level. We basically have to grow up in our leadership style. How much time have you spent being CEO this week? It is important work. Are you making and taking time to fill that role?

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