Entrepreneurial LeaderThe entrepreneurial mindset is alive and well. This is good news for companies across Wisconsin and the corridors that extend beyond our industries. The investments and infrastructure we are building and investing continues gaining traction. So then, why are we only experiencing limited success at slower than expected rates?

 Let’s begin by looking at the definition we use for entrepreneur.

noun: entrepreneur: a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

The Current Situation

I am concerned with a number of implications with this definition.

Number one.  The definition places a greater emphasis on financial risk, vs. the creation of something valuable or needed.  Yes, there is financial risk, and yes, there is a person who launches and grows the business, but these are only activities behind the reason the business was formed.

Number two.  I believe the definition places an unhealthy weight on the individual, vs. the team they have around them.  Entrepreneurs often focus more on the business and the science, not giving enough attention to the team and relationships needed to accomplish what they set out to do.
Industry Trend Report

The Center for Creative Leadership (www.ccl.org) recently published a global trends report which provides conclusions on the status of 25,000 leaders across 7 countries and 6 market segments:  healthcare, pharma, financial, high-tech, energy and government.

Healthcare, Government and High-tech industry leaders were the least proficient in leading employees and sometimes, change management.  The others demonstrated somewhat higher, but relatively poor proficiency in leading employees.
Leaders in Financial Services are proficient in several important areas  (strategic perspective, taking initiative, participative management, change management), but less proficient in building collaborative relationships and leading employees.

One bright spot.  The Energy Sector has identified building collaborative relationships as the most critical competency for success in their industry.  Unfortunately, over 40% were not proficient in it.

In summary, the CCL report confirms that we place a greater emphasis on the business and financial results, without a balance on leading others and building collaborative relationships.

The Current State

Research has demonstrated the value of management and leadership for well over 50 years.  A Google search identified 339,000,000 leadership-training programs, 105,000,000 leadership books and 8,390.000 leadership consultants, but collectively, we aren’t practicing what we know and realize as common sense.

Before we puff up our chests about how well we are doing, or how poorly competitors are positioned against us, take a deep look in the mirror.  In addition, I regularly hear people dismissing the Government and Education Sectors unfairly.  While they may and do have their challenges, I haven’t met the perfect company or organization yet.

My Conclusions

So, we evidently have plenty of research, programs and resources to develop key leadership competencies.  Our problem is that we are not focused, we are not emphasizing application of the content, and in the end, managers and executives have found that in most cases, they can wait us out.  This too shall pass.

In addition, we too often attempt to solve these leadership problems on our own.  We struggle with challenges, pick our best path and hope for the best.  This is exactly what you should not be doing.

Still, there are companies and organizations that are doing the right thing, and realizing enduring results.  I’ll focus on actions they have taken, and you can consider as the human resource leader in next month’s column.

Dan Loichinger is the founder and president of Loichinger Advantage LLC. The Madison-based firm delivers proprietary executive coaching, and facilitates executive roundtables with TEC, an operating company of Vistage Worldwide.

Clients value our ability to increase leadership effectiveness, improve strategic insight, accelerate change, and increase their organizations competitive advantage. Together with our clients, we deliver proven leadership growth!

Learn more at www.loichingeradvantage.com.