Every individual who starts, owns, or is a member of the management team of an enterprise, should strive to build sustainable advantage. Sustainable advantage is essential to value creation because cash flows become predictable and reliable over long periods of time. As a consequence, it is easier to plan for investments in new endeavors and to maintain contingency reserves for downturns.
Building sustainable advantage requires proficiency in the disciplines of entrepreneurship, leadership, and management. Collectively, these three disciplines embrace “enterpriship.”
Enterpriship is both an art and a science. Art is an occupation that requires both knowledge and skills; science is method for systematizing knowledge. Through both knowledge and skills, enterpriship provides a systematized approach to building sustainable enterprises by employing the techniques of entrepreneurship, leadership, and management.
Entrepreneurship is a competency for starting, developing, and assuming risk for an enterprise. Leadership is a competency for aspiring, inspiring, and motivating others. Management is a competency for directing and controlling events and activities – management as a “team” has the authority and responsibility for the enterprise.
Being proficient in all three competencies requires experience. Entrepreneurs may lack the leadership and management competencies, leaders may lack entrepreneurial and management competencies, and managers may lack the entrepreneurial and leadership competencies to build a sustainable enterprise.
Upwardly mobile entrepreneurs have to demonstrate to investors that they can build large markets. Lifestyle business enterprise owners, such as dry cleaners, hairdressers, professional service providers, restaurateurs, and retailers, are responsible for everything in their businesses. Executives and managers in larger enterprises are under constant pressure from investors to generate quality earnings on an ongoing basis.
The enterprise depends upon the use of all three enterpriship competencies as do the employees, customers, suppliers and investors.
When entrepreneurs start enterprises, they tend to focus on the benefits and features of their products and/or services. Intrapreneurs, who are agents of change in established enterprises, tend to do the same thing. However, focusing on products and/or services alone is insufficient for building sustainable advantage over time.
Without people there is nothing in business. Processes must be effective and efficient at delivering quality products and/or services conveniently. If an enterprise can’t deliver, a competitor will.
Hence, the management team collectively must be proficient in entrepreneurial, leadership, and managerial roles that dictate successful people-oriented, process-oriented, and product and/or service capabilities.
The entrepreneurial role is both process-oriented and product-oriented, through which innovative ideas are transformed into value at every stage of an enterprise’s development.
The leadership role is people-oriented, through which direction is set that others will follow to achieve results – equally applicable to top-level executives, team leaders within functions, or anywhere in between.
The managerial role is process-oriented, through which resources (time, materials, and supplies) are applied to activities to achieve results.
These three roles embrace the planning and policy development, deployment and execution, and performance measurement activities of the enterprise. Deployment means positioning the resources of the enterprise in the best markets for its products and/or services. Execution means getting things done through people and processes effectively and efficiently.
Unless the management team employs these three enterpriship competencies collectively to address people, process, and product and/or service capabilities, the enterprise will be unable to build sustainable advantage over time, and will ultimately decline, and maybe fail.
If the management team can systematize building sustainable advantage through the effective and efficient use of people and processes, then there more time to spend on developing the benefits and features of products and/or services. Enterpriship provides the approach…
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