How Entrepreneurial Do I Need to be as a Manager?

Frankly, I’m not sure that there is an easy answer to this but on thinking it through and doing some reading around the subject here are a few thoughts.

Very entrepreneurial

If you are working for a small and ambitious organisation with serious plans to grow, you probably need to be very entrepreneurial because your organisation expects growth and is too small to dominate its sector/market/industry.  The search for new and innovative ways of solving problems and doing things is likely to be a necessity.  If you are doing things in tried and tested ways the boundaries of what is possible are not being tested hard enough to stimulate new growth.

If you are part of a new venture either on a small scale or if you are part of a larger organisation.  Here, again, the pressure is on doing things differently.  The day-to-day is just not your priority if you are in this position.

Somewhat Entrepreneurial

Your organisation may have established some market share but needs to maintain its position.  You need to keep the day-to-day operation going but have got time for looking into new ways of doing things for the future.  There is a limited plan for growth in your organisation but nothing too stretching.

Not Entrepreneurial

If you are part of a bureaucracy where decisions are made centrally and managers are expected to carry of policies and procedures with great accuracy.  Growth is not a major concern.  Obedience is more important than challenging the status quo.  The organisation may be very risk averse.  There may be little perception of having competition now or in the future. If you are in this position, being too entrepreneurial may even get you into trouble!

So the extent to which you need to be entrepreneurial as a manager depends upon:

  1. Your organisation’s objectives and in particular its plans for growth.
  2. The culture of your organisation.
  3. The objectives you are given as a manager.
  4. The importance of maintaining day-to-day operations.
  5. Your organisation’s perception of the amount of competition it faces.
  6. Your organisation’s position in its sector/market/industry.

How entrepreneurial you want to be probably needs to match the needs of your organisation if you are not going to find yourself in an uncomfortable position.

JFK_2008David Shaw

2 thoughts on “How Entrepreneurial Do I Need to be as a Manager?

  1. Is it that black and white? As I think managing is managing. I think being entrepreneurial is not possible if and when you behave as a manager. Behaving like an entrepreneur or even better as an entrepreneurial leader is done when not behaving like a manager.


    1. Many thanks for your comments. To answer your question – no it is not that black and white. Depends on your view of what being a manager is. Good management is fundamentally about planning, organising, leading and controlling in the view of many. Being an effective manager does not preclude being an effective entrepreneur at the same time. As I have said in the blog – the extent to which one needs to be entrepreneurial really does depend on your organisation, its market position, plans for growth and its objectives. You’ve raised an interesting question – can you be an effective manager and and entrepreneur or are the two mutually exclusive?


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