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You know you are an entrepreneur at heart, but you find yourself working inside a large organization. How do you cope?

One of our favorite contributors, Paul E. White, Ph. D. (the coauthor of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Rising Above a Toxic Workplace, and Sync or Swim), proposes the key is to recognize that you are not necessarily surrounded by other entrepreneurs. Learn from his advice below.

Not Everyone On Your Team Is An Entrepreneur
by Paul White, Ph.D.

Once a business gets beyond the initial start-up phase (where the primary entrepreneurs are focused almost exclusively on driving the growth of the business), a new phase often “kicks in.”  In this phase, the original business leaders are looking to other team members to help grow the business. It may take the form of reaching out to untapped target populations, creating variations of the products and services for new markets, and/or developing “off shoot” businesses from the main business line.

Good Idea, Wrong Way
These are good ideas to pursue but unfortunately many (most?) business leaders make some glaring errors in how they try to engage others in the entrepreneurial activity of the business.

Entrepreneurial leaders make three common false assumptions when trying to get others involved in entrepreneurial activities:

False Assumption #1: Everyone on the team is an entrepreneur and thinks like you do.
It is fairly well documented that most successful businesses have individuals with various personality types and differing skill sets including entrepreneurs, managers, and support personnel.  If you lead a successful business (and have more than two or three team members), several types of team members are most likely represented in your organization.  Not everyone in your company is an entrepreneur or wants to be one.

False Assumption #2Everyone is motivated by the same things you are.
Most entrepreneurs are driven by pursuing achievement, monetary reward, and public recognition.  However, rarely is everyone on your team motivated by these same things.  In fact, we know that there are different languages of appreciation and specific actions that are more (or less) meaningful to each team member.  If you do not understand this, you are at risk for setting up structures, compensation plans, and recognition programs that will “miss the mark” because they’re based on the motivators important to you, not your team members.

False Assumption #3: The greatest way to grow entrepreneurial activities is to get more people doing entrepreneurial activity.
Maybe, maybe not.  You actually may see more growth by making sure the true, hardcore entrepreneurs are freed up from managerial tasks so they can do what they are good at.  In some situations, then, hiring a manager or support staff may be the quickest way to more entrepreneurial growth.

What Should You Do?

Understand your team members’ personality styles.
Invest a little money, time, and effort in having your staff take a business-oriented personality assessment that will help you understand those who are entrepreneurial and those who will perform better in other roles.

Learn how each team member is motivated and prefers to be shown appreciation and encouragement.
Supervisors in organizations waste a lot of time and energy “going through the motions” of recognition and actually creating negative reactions (cynicism and apathy) because the actions are not viewed as genuine.  Take a look at the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory, which will identify how each of your team members wants to be shown appreciation and encouragement.

Make sure you are utilizing each team member’s strengths to the fullest.
This may include reassigning tasks from entrepreneurs to free them up to do what they are best at – growing new business opportunities.  Don’t try to make staff who don’t think, act or get motivated like entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs.  They will be frustrated and you won’t see the results you hoped for.

Yes, you need help in growing the business, but don’t assume that the best way is to get other team members to engage in entrepreneurial activity.  Find out who are skilled and motivated like you are, and free them up to pursue their goals.

photo credit: El silencio obligado…… de los corderos via photopin (license)

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?