Why Entrepreneurs do not Leave Legacies of Great or Entrepreneurial Talent

Why Entrepreneurs do not Leave Legacies of Great or Entrepreneurial Talent

Successful entrepreneurs are that rare mishmash of vision, drive,
determination, resilience and whatever else makes them special. Often
idiosyncratic but with instincts that rarely fail them, these explorers
travel places where few others have the courage to even imagine. And
they lead from out front, not as benevolent travel guides, but as
supreme leaders. It is their adrenaline-fed adventure, risks be dammed,
and it is their glory. Because of this, entrepreneurs tend to be
supported by role players who execute tasks and take direction,
individuals who do not need the spotlight, and even better, voluntarily
redirect any light that wanders in their direction back to the
entrepreneur who feeds off of it.This is not to suggest that
entrepreneurs have no interest in driven, bright, charismatic, high
performing leaders. The entrepreneur is often fascinated by these people
and the specialized knowledge or skills they possess, the companies
they have worked for, and the successes they have had. The entrepreneur
wants what they have and what they know. In some instances, the
entrepreneur craves the business maturity and progress which the
addition of these executives promises…and so pursues them. And
successful entrepreneurs tend to get what they want.

But when entrepreneurs hire high performers, two outcomes are most
likely. In many instances the sponge-like entrepreneur quickly absorbs
the specialized knowledge or wisdom of the newly hired executive. As
this happens the infatuation fades and disillusionment creeps in. The
true value of the now figured-out, suddenly all-too-human executive is
questioned, as is the premium compensation paid to attract him or her.
It is only a matter of time before the entrepreneur begins to resent the
executive and they are discarded. The departing executive never really
knows what hit him or her.

In the second scenario, the entrepreneur finds that the newly hired
star executive has brought unwanted baggage. Perhaps they are
independently minded; perhaps they are insufficiently deferential,
occasionally questioning the entrepreneur; perhaps they view the
entrepreneur’s ‘hands-on’ style as unnecessarily meddling; perhaps they
push for change that cuts a little too close to the entrepreneur; or
heaven forbid, perhaps they have an ego which craves credit or
limelight. While it is likely that the career successes of many of these
star performers were built on the strength of many of these very same
attributes, they do not bode well when working for the entrepreneur. The
other executives are also not amused by someone who asks questions and
threatens change and they start to whisper to the entrepreneur that this
person is not fitting in. It is only a matter of time before the
entrepreneur eventually finds a way to get rid of the executive.

For better and worse, entrepreneurial leaders find themselves
surrounded by a coterie of followers. These people execute, serve,
tolerate and above all stay loyal to their entrepreneurial benefactor.
But living in the shadows, tethered to an entrepreneurial life force is
not the ideal incubator for the next generation of leaders. Dependence
does not breed independence, lifelong followership does not foster
leadership, comfort does not beget the entrepreneurial itch.  And even
when these executives leave or are pushed out of the nest they tend to
be entrepreneurial poseurs, handicapped by that part of them which
served them so well under their previous master.  Few thrive…

And soPsychology Articles, next time you look around at the many highly successful
Canadian tech firms and ask yourself why so few new or successful
companies have been created from their loins you will know why….

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