Can You Convince as #Entrepreneur ?

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  • Originally posted on Linkedin Pulse. 

    What does it take to #BetheBoss ? What is a CEO ?

    There are two types of bosses: Managers and leaders.

    What is the real difference between a manager and a leader?

    And is there really such a big difference? Or do we steadily make a lot of fuss about these two terms, that leads to nothing? 

    Richard Branson states:  

    "In #entrepreneurship, to be the #boss you must be a convincing leader." 

    Can you convince?

    What qualities does a successful entrepreneur need ? 

    The concept of entrepreneur is borrowed from the French word "entreprendre", “one who undertakes”—that is, a “manager.” In fact, the word entrepreneur was shaped probably from "celui qui entreprend", which is loosely translated as “those who get things done.”

    • Today the definition of entrepreneurship includes more than the mere creation of a business; it also includes the generation and implementation of an idea.The idea of a sole individual being able to take on enormous risks, attempt innovations, leap without the appropriate background research, and in the end succeed by working long hours for the own success. 

    • Entrepreneurs also communicate effectively, not only to their teams, but also to external "stakeholders", such as investors, bankers, and corporate partners, who are necessary components of their growth path. 

    • Entrepreneurs have the ability to deal with ambiguity; they are comfortable with making decisions based on apparently conflicting  and incomplete information. They are also comfortable in complex situations. 
    • Entrepreneurs are self-starters, optimists, perseverant, energetic, passionate, and action-oriented. They find steadily new opportunities and threats are turned into great new ideas. 

    • Entrepreneurs are persuasive leaders, people-oriented, natural networkers, and often brilliant communicators. They create and sustain networks of relationships rather than going it alone. 

    • Entrepreneurs lead by example rather than dictating. 
    • Entrepreneurs are often very creative and highly imaginative. 

    • Entrepreneurs tend to seek new opportunities and are always looking for the chance to profit from change and disruption.

    • Entrepreneurs tolerate risk.

    As Peter Drucker says,

    “Entrepreneurship is risky mainly because so few of the so-called entrepreneurs know what they are doing. They lack the methodology. They violate elementary and well-known rules.”
    • Entrepreneurs focus on execution - specifically, adaptive execution. They move forward instead of analyzing new ideas to death. 
    • Entrepreneurs are open to change and do not hang on to old plans when they are not working. They are flexible.

    Entrepreneurs, Drucker argues, need a systematic approach for putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Business planning helps entrepreneurs work smarter, stay alert for roadblocks, test new ideas, stay motivated, help align expectations with stakeholders and investors, and even reduce stress.

    Now that we have listed the commonly shared entrepreneurial characteristics, we should discuss the term CEO.

    Understand what a CEO does

    The CEO of a company isn't necessarily the founder or even the owner! He isn't quite the same thing as an entrepreneur. The CEO's job is to run the company. This means a great CEO is a combination of an ideas person (like an entrepreneur), willing to take risks and think big; and a hands-on person, eagle-eyed in matters of money and human resources, always willing to dig into the details until everything is perfect.

    Being a CEO, or being the boss, is a tough job. 

    Problem is, that 

    "No one teaches you how to be a CEO !"

    For young professionals today that aspire to run their own companies a real problem.

    A good answer would be:

    "The sooner you start acting like a CEO, the sooner people will accept you like that and the sooner you'll be a great CEO!"

    It's the same as writer. Writing success begins with believing you already are a writer.

    A writer is a writer when he says he is.
    —Steven Pressfield
    Being a CEO is not about permission. It is about acting. — Karin Sebelin

    Don't ask for permission. Simply act!

    Problem is, you should act quickly to keep the organization moving forward.

    Great leaders learn to identify problem areas and quickly act to fix the issue. 

    Hope is not a strategy. It is an old business cliché – but few act on it. Once the strategy is set and properly resourced, a great leader must become an evangelist for the strategy. 

    Now that we have explained what a CEO does, we explain ...

    The difference between a manager and a leader

    1.) Management - what is that?

    Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, tells how he sees it:

    "Management is about maintaining processes, disciplines and systems — something that doesn’t come naturally to yours truly. Where managers keep the rules, leaders have to be willing to break them, or at least find creative ways around them."

    A managerial culture emphasizes rationality and control. A manager is a problem solver. He asks: “What problems have to be solved, and what are the best ways to achieve results so that people will continue to contribute to this organization?”

    From this perspective, a leader is simply engaged in directing affairs. To fulfill his or her task, a manager requires that many people operate efficiently at different levels of status and responsibility. It takes neither genius nor heroism to be a good manager, but rather persistence, tough-mindedness, hard work, intelligence, analytical ability, and perhaps some tolerance and goodwill.

    Managers and leaders are very different kinds of people. They differ in motivation, personal history, and in how they think and act.

    2.) Leadership - what is that?

    When asked to define the ideal leader, many would emphasize character traits such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and naturally vision. These qualities are traditionally associated with leadership.

    In his book, "The Virgin Way", Richard Branson describes the qualities of leaders like that:

    "Leaders must have vision, creativity, and the ability to influence others to follow and support them into uncharted and often risky territory."

    Karen Kaplan, chairman and CEO of Hill Holliday says:

    "True leadership changes the trajectory of a business or the course of history. Leadership is very different from management, which simply maintains the status quo." 

    Kat Cole, Group President of FOCUS Brands, defines leadership as:

    "Leadership is  believing in the future, yourself, others, and in a higher purpose. It's about building culture, courage, and confidence through your actions and words and building teams that work to achieve common goals."

    Sounds convincing and both terms, manager and leader, have different lessons to learn.

    And in business we need both - managers and leaders - to fill the roles of the "boss".

    You are a bad manager? Why not looking for a good manager for your company?

    Richard Branson says:

    "Entrepreneurs must quickly acknowledge what they are good at, and learn to delegate what they are not so good at to great managers."

    Today, most companies fail because the founders are confronting complex management decisions without experience or knowledge of the tools to make them. 

    “Control your destiny or someone else will.” – Jack Welch
    “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things.” – Louis Boone
  • Karin Sebelin
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