Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises — I. Close to the Heart

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises — I. Close to the Heart

The entrepreneurial challenge associated with this issue of inexplicit intentions is a bit complex and even contradictory—a dilemma. On the one hand, it seems obvious that the entrepreneur should be more explicit about the intentions of the enterprise that she leads. She needs to articulate the mission, vision, values and purposes in a way that employees (and other stakeholders) can understand and in a way that enables other people, independently, to assess achievement of specific goals and objectives.

On the other hand, it is critical that the entrepreneur does not become too attached to an explicit set of intentions. Haile Sellassie, the legendary king of Ethiopia (kingdoms are closely held enterprises!) once indicated in a moment of remarkable candor that he never wanted anything he said to be written down, for he might change his mind! Like Sellassie, the entrepreneur has to remain “fleet of foot” and expedient. She must always be thinking out of the box (“thinking the unthinkable”) and open to new opportunities that may stretch the mission or vision of the enterprise (while remaining true to its fundamental values). I live in a New England community where many residents make their living going out to sea. They will readily shift focus (and tackle) if they find that their primary commodity isn’t there to be harvested. This is a delicate balancing act—between clarity and flexibility. As psychologists, we can provide important assistance in helping the entrepreneur find this balance in their closely held enterprise.

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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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