Saras Sarasvathy, Heidi M. Neck, Patricia G. Greene, and Candida G. Brush

effectual entrepreneurs see the world as open to a host of possibilities, fabricate as well as recognize new opportunities, make rather than find markets, accept and leverage failure, and interact with a variety of stakeholders—all for the purposes of creating the future rather than trying to predict the future.

What Managers Need to Know About Entrepreneurship History

Interest in developing entrepreneurial skills is exploding, and thus new approaches are emerging to keep up with demand—and also keep up with the changing nature of entrepreneurship education. Where are these new approaches coming from? And, how precisely are the new ways of conceiving entrepreneurship education different than traditional approaches? With these two practical questions in mind, below we discuss some key developments in the … [ Read more ]

Tom Davenport

Why don’t organizations create process-oriented structures and start focusing the needed attention on process issues? Unfortunately, there are some good reasons. Processes aren’t the only thing in organizations that need attention. Business functions, which are focused on the skills and capabilities needed to solve organizational problems, deserve some attention too. Geographically-based structures are an acknowledgement that business is different in different parts of the world, … [ Read more ]

Allan Cohen

Bureaucracy was developed to solve the problem of how to get work done by people who might not have the skills, experience, motivation or training to make wide-ranging decisions, but who could do work that was carefully prescribed and circumscribed. By limiting the scope of latitude through defined positions, rules and procedures, organizations could leverage the talents of those few at the top who had … [ Read more ]

Jay Rao, Ivor Morgan

The [Balanced Scorecard] article compares flying a modern jet aircraft with its many instruments and controls to managing a complex firm. Indeed where the relationship between an action and its result is well known, it is possible for humans to handle a large number of measures simultaneously. But success for a firm is not an easy matter of cause and effect. Some actions of considerable … [ Read more ]

The Internal Coach Playbook

Might your organization benefit from an internal coaching initiative? And, if so, how? Below we discuss three approaches to inform your decision making: recognizing internal coaching as a distinct competency, understanding the keys to effectiveness, and anticipating challenges.

Sustaining Innovation: The Role of Managers, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs

This article introduces the MEL (Manager, Entrepreneur, and Leader) Index assessment tool. The instrument aims to give organizations practical insight on the integrative impact of three key kinds of personnel—managers, entrepreneurs and leaders—in both the short and longer term fortunes of the organization.

The Financial Challenge: Reconciling Social and Environmental Value with Shareholder Value

In the finance community, shareholder value has long been the performance metric of choice. But, is it possible to reconcile shareholder value with SEERS, a business perspective which aims to integrate social, environmental, economic responsibility, and sustainability factors into decision making? From a financial vantage point, the answer is a qualified yes.

Editor’s Note: nothing really new in this article for those already familiar with … [ Read more ]

Putting Analytics to Work at Your Business

If we’re going to make better decisions and take the right actions, we’re going to have to use analytics. For too long, managers have relied on their intuition or their “golden gut” to make decisions. For too long, important calls have been based not on data, but on the experience and unaided judgment of the decision-maker. Our research suggests that 40 percent of major decisions … [ Read more ]

Heidi Neck

Entrepreneurs often talk about the importance of identifying a mission that is likely to stay consistent even while the scope changes as the venture grows, as customers engage with it, and as it is influenced by the ecosystem. Developing a mission and guiding vision that is malleable enough to accommodate and even anticipate inevitable pivots is critical for success. All ideas change, and entrepreneurs need … [ Read more ]

Danna Greenberg, Kate McKone-Sweet, and H. James Wilson

Entrepreneurial leaders need to learn to be cognitively ambidextrous, engaging both prediction logic and creation logic, in their decision-making approach. When an organization’s future goals and environment reflect the past, entrepreneurial leaders can engage traditional analytic models to predict and manage the situation. However, when the future is unknowable and bears little resemblance to the past, entrepreneurial leaders must learn how to create the future … [ Read more ]

Make Solutions Your Solution to Growth

Is building better solutions a key part of your company’s plans to grow revenue? For a number of years, we have conducted extensive research within B2B companies to initially understand the nature of this solutions phenomena, and then to explore the variables necessary to distinguish between successful and unsuccessful solutions players. One result of this work has been the development of a Solutions Road Map, … [ Read more ]

Thomas H. Davenport and Brook Manville

Even in this age of abundant data and rocket-science analytics, many decisions force people to draw on their accumulated wisdom to make the right call. Sometimes that’s because the absolute right answer can’t be known; the question at hand relates to a future too full of uncertainty. Other times, the optimal solution could be determined based on accessible information, but the urgency of the situation … [ Read more ]

Heidi M. Neck, Paul Graham

Paul Graham, essayist, programmer, investor, and co-founder of YCombinator, the Silicon Valley tech accelerator program, describes a contrast between “maker schedules” versus “manager schedules.” Manager schedules break the day into hourlong chunks conducive for meetings and communication, but not for work that requires deep thinking, creative problem-solving, writing, or making. The work of [entrepreneurship] necessitates uninterrupted blocks of time.

Five Practices of Entrepreneurs Inside and Out

We studied new venture entrepreneurs as well as those entrepreneuring inside organizations of all kinds—corporations, government organizations, nonprofits, and religious organizations. And, the method and practices they use are more alike than different when creating something new. There are five specific practices of entrepreneurs both inside and out.

Zumba: Four Steps for Leading Innovation and Growth

Zumba® is a Latin dance-fitness program that now has​ more than 12 million participants in 125 countries. During the past two years, I’ve been researching Zumba through in-depth interviews with co-founders Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. During these discussions, these entrepreneurial leaders talked about their formative experiences and key decisions. Below, I sum up four recurring steps that supported Zumba’s innovation, growth, and resilience during … [ Read more ]

Peter Drucker

Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.

Four Tests for Successful Acquisitions

A lot of academic research shows that the odds of making an acquisition work are not high. Careful thinking about what it means for an acquisition to succeed, coupled with an analysis of why deals fail, can lead to some practical advice for managers, thus helping them to develop a more refined view. More specifically, in order for acquisitions to pay off, they ought to … [ Read more ]

Globalization of Capital: How Managers Can Profit

Capital flowing around the world is changing the way businesses grow and shrink. And, like an explorer trying to find his way out of the wilderness, business leaders would be wise to follow the pathways that capital follows. In so doing, business leaders can uncover new business opportunities and shun emerging risks.