Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises IX: Interplay Between Entrepreneurs and Maturity, Tasks, Problems and Environment
Ability to Set High but Realistic Goals
If they are to be left on their own, members of the group must be able to set high but realistic goals. An immature group cannot set goals independently. Placed in the context of our four leadership styles, a group is mature if it embodies both an inspiring style that leads to the setting of ambitious goals and a counterbalancing style that is thoughtful and knowledgeable about setting goals that are realistic. A group that cannot effectively set goals that are high but realistic is likely to look first toward an inspiring leader who offers a compelling dream or toward a thoughtful leader who can set a specific (and usually quantifiable) goal for the group.
Unfortunately, the inspiring entrepreneurial leader may set goals that are too lofty and unattainable. As a result, immature group members never have to be concerned about accountability, for the goals can never be attained anyway. Conversely, thoughtful leaders are inclined to set goals that are too low and that lack an inspiring power. Mundane goals that often actually operate as short-term objectives and are easily quantified tend to dominate many closely-held enterprises that are filled with immature work groups.
Knowledge and Experience in Performing the Convening Task
Maturity also depends on the group’s knowledge of, and experience in, performing the assigned task. An immature group is composed of people who have little knowledge or expertise with regard to the convening task of the group. Members of a highly immature group also are unlikely to know where to go in order to gain the knowledge and expertise they need and may even be unaware that they lack adequate or appropriate knowledge and expertise.
In general, immature groups of this sort benefit most from thoughtful entrepreneurship, but may be inclined to rely too heavily on the thoughtful leader. Rather than becoming knowledgeable themselves about the task, immature group members grow dependent on the wisdom and knowledge of their leader. They never grow up and never mature as a group.