This column, and the associated video clips, were derived from a presentation from 12 to 200, a KPCB conference on growing entrepreneurial businesses, held in Stanford, California on July 16, 2013. This is the first of a three-part series on entrepreneurial management by Randy Komisar.
So much gets muddled up as we talk about entrepreneurship, management and leadership, that it’s important to tease it apart. When you do, you find a whole new way to think about management and leadership in entrepreneurial organizations.
I’m going to start with my definition of an entrepreneur – which you need to distinguish from the definitions of managers and leaders.
- Entrepreneurs are first and foremost about creativity. They’re not about leading or managing. The role of the entrepreneur is about creation. They see a better future and strive with minimal resources to achieve it.
- Managers enable teams to achieve objectives. They see a goal, and they empower people to reach it.
- Leaders are about harnessing the power of people. They see a greater purpose and inspire others to achieve it.
These are three separate roles. We celebrate them when they are unified in one person, but that’s not always the case.
Entrepreneurs should consider adopting a concept I call “minimally invasive management.”
People think about management and imagine adding dead wood on top of productive people. That’s a reflection of a time when managers were supervisors. People were the means of production. They needed to be clocked, and tracked in a Frederick Taylor-like way. Time and motion drove success. People did jobs that machines weren’t smart enough to do yet. But we’re now in a different world, where people are not the means of production – they’re the means of creation.
And management has a different role.
You need to think about management differently. Managers are not the boss. They’re a service. They serve the people doing the work. Nobody is more important in an organization than the people doing the work. Management’s role should be to remove the impediments that are in front of the people doing the work so that they can do it well – and so they can be satisfied, rewarded and motivated in their work.
If you think of managers as being accountable not just to leadership, but also to the people doing the work, you begin to come up with a different concept of management.