The Entrepreneurial Esquire?
Kudos to GE Capital!** They have asked me to talk about entrepreneurship to their in-house lawyers at an off-site meeting. Why is that so inspiring? Because lawyers, stereotypically, aren’t known for being entrepreneurial and big companies don’t always understand the value of entrepreneurial behavior. Leave it to GE, one of the few firms to pull off an entrepreneurial environment at work – despite its size -- to have a legal department that strives to harness the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Accenture recently did a major study that called for large companies to become more entrepreneurial. The study says, “A new kind of leadership is needed, one that focuses on the collaborative nature of entrepreneurial behavior and seeks to give staff the confidence to behave in an entrepreneurial way.”
Right on! This very topic has been my stump speech for years (check out our book, Army of Entrepreneurs, which talks about fostering entrepreneurship in organizations of all sizes). Unfortunately, the Accenture report shows that there is a long way to go. Seventy-one percent of executives say that aversion to risk and failure is stopping people in their organizations from acting entrepreneurially; more than six in 10 say that lack of communication between employees is a barrier; and 53 percent cite the fact that employees are given little responsibility.
Companies like GE understand the power associated with allowing employees to freely express ideas, take some level of risk and participate in innovation. So do companies like Accenture, which admitted that the reason they did the study in the first place was their own paranoia; despite their large size, they wanted to make sure they stayed nimble.
Kudos to Accenture and all the companies like them that understand that the first step in keeping a culture of entrepreneurship intact is being paranoid about losing it.
**GE Capital is a current CJP Client