Entrepreneurial Leadership and You!
© 2004 by Robert Isaacson, MA, MSS
All rights reserved.

Hi all. Hope you have had a good and successful month. Keep those business and personal questions coming. E-mail them to me at bob@fullcirclesolutions.net. Our questions this month are from JR in New York.

Dear Coach:

In past columns you have written about "Entrepreneurial Leadership." What is it? Why is it important? Also, I do not have a business plan. Do I need one? JR

Dear JR:

Entrepreneurial Leadership speaks to the commitment you have to growing and developing your business and yourself. If you own a 2-person start up or if you are the CEO of a Fortune 50 company, it is critically important for you to be focused on building your business. (My thanks to my good friend, consultant Jeff Focht, who has written about entrepreneurship in a compelling way. His work has inspired me to focus my coaching on Entrepreneurial Leadership.)

To build your business, you must be an entrepreneur. You must think like an entrepreneur. The word "entrepreneur" is derived from "entreprendre," the French verb meaning "to undertake." The term initially referred to French officers who led military voyages. Later it was generalized by French economists as anyone who assumes risk to innovate. Today, to be an entrepreneur is to see an opportunity and create an organization to pursue it.

As an entrepreneur, you must see opportunities that others do not. You must confidently and aggressively pursue them. You must have a burning desire to achieve, working night and day to realize your dreams. Yet also you must have some balance between your work and your personal life. The proverb, "all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl)," is true. Without time for exercise and relaxation, you lose your creative edge and burn out.

And you must be a leader. You must inspire yourself and your people to ever greater levels of performance and productivity. To do this, it is essential that you are aware of your deepest emotional yearnings, manage these effectively, as well as resonate and respond to the feelings, wishes, and needs of your followers.

As a leader, you need a vision for yourself and your company. There are 4 parts to any vision.
-First, what is the purpose of your work? What needs do you fulfill? Why do people buy from you?
-Second, what are your values? What behaviors are important to you? Why should people emotionally commit themselves to your leadership?
-Third, what are your strengths? What do you do well? To what are you naturally attracted in your work?
-Fourth, what is your picture of the future? Can you see the end result of what you want to create in some detail?

As a leader, you must build a cooperative and collaborative work team. Unless you are a one-person operation, your vision must be co-created with others. Then you and they must “live” it, put it into effect. This requires you and your team to:
-create specific, measurable goals,
-identify priorities,
-follow through with action steps on a daily basis,
-measure progress by creating feedback loops to determine if you are “on target” or have lost your way,
-overcome the inevitable barriers to performance you will encounter, and
-stay motivated and confident during the journey.

It is not easy to be an entrepreneurial leader. I am reminded of that old Peggy Lee song, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” But it can be done. Remember what Carl Lewis once said:
“Scientists have proven that it’s impossible to long-jump 30 feet, but I don’t listen to that kind of talk. Thoughts like that have a way of sinking down to your feet!”

Stay tuned to next month’s column about developing an effective business plan, the third of JR’s questions. Remember send your questions to bob@fullcirclesolutions.net.

Robert A. Isaacson, MA, MSS
Coaching & Consulting
Developing People - Transforming Organizations

Author's Bio: 

Robert A. Isaacson, M.A., M.S.S., is a business and executive coach, speaker, writer, organizational consultant, and therapist. He is the co-founder of Full Circle Solutions, a Narberth, Pennsylvania people development company. Bob coaches CEOs, corporate executives, management teams, nonprofit leaders, and small business owners, as well as new coaches and therapists building practices. His vision is to create Entrepreneurial Leaders. Contact Bob today for your FREE coaching session and become the entrepreneurial leader you always thought you could be. Bob’s website is www.fullcirclesolutions.net and he can be reached at