The balance of power has shifted towards the individual. The demands of successfully reinventing oneself have moved away from the company and its brands to be more dependent on the skills and abilities of its employees who must be more enterprising than ever to survive. And one thing is certain: entrepreneurship is no longer a business term, it is a way of life. You don’t have to be in a start-up to be an entrepreneur. You just have to make the decision to cultivate the entrepreneurial attitude.
The C suite can influence the workplace, but it does not have all the answers. When working with business leaders, I have been struck time and time again by the emptiness of the C suite. Executives are not in touch with the realities of the market. Many have forgotten how to talk to customers and cultivate relationships. Many of them have lost their relevance and should apply for early retirement.
The traditional business school approach of analysis, forecasting, and spreadsheet business modeling has lost momentum. Leaders need to stop being the gatekeepers to their board members and start taking on a new level of accountability that requires them to be transparent and reconnect with their employees and the market with determination and passion.
In today’s market, the people who touch the business have the real pulse of what the market demands and therefore should be allowed to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit, regardless of their hierarchy or rank. We live in the midst of one of the most uncertain times since the Depression. Since companies can no longer predict the future based on the past, uncertainty is high. Everyone must be on the lookout for new opportunities and new types of innovation for American companies to regain their competitive advantage.
When my father lost his motherland to Castro’s revolution in Cuba, he had to reinvent himself several times before calling the United States his home. He often told me that if he hadn’t acted during times of adversity, he would have been an incomplete person.
How many times has your gut told you during times of adversity to act, but you haven’t? Instead, do you wait for those around you to take calculated risks that you were reluctant to take on your own? Leadership today requires a ‘do it’ attitude; a solution that reconnects to the front lines and reconnects with customers, business partners, end users, and more. If your boss spends time creating sophisticated Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations to inspire the team, tell them to play along.
It’s time for companies to start rewiring their leaders, focusing them on the outside, allowing their employees to broaden their skills. They need to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that lies in each of their greatest strengths in innovation and growth: their people.