Effective Business Change
Right person, right place, right time
Isn’t it interesting how the business world has been so quick to ditch managers and entrepreneurs in favour of leaders? Even though all three are absolutely vital to the smart running of any company.
What’s your profile?
Understanding the different contributions of entrepreneurs, leaders and mangers will help you make business change much more successful. Already, this new profiling tool is providing executive teams with insights to help their decision-making during change.
- Entrepreneur – dreams about the future. Strong on ideas. Brilliant at vision
- Leader – plans for tomorrow. Strong on people. Brilliant at behaviour
- Manager – delivers today. Strong on process. Brilliant at capability
The diagram shows how the leader profile is the most flexible. It touches each of the other types – a great facilitation competence. At the other end of the spectrum, entrepreneurs and managers rarely see eye-to-eye. Typically, entrepreneurs struggle to get managers on side with new ideas, while managers can’t get entrepreneurs to appreciate running the business.
The profiles’ logic also explains why many managers are often seen as “change blockers” when they try to manage today, rather than live in tomorrow’s world.
Understanding and balance
These profiles explain why leaders are so highly prized in organisations – because they touch the other profiles – and perhaps indicate why entrepreneurs and managers might be less valued. Understanding these differences gives individuals and teams more insight into strengths and weaknesses, insights that help people benefit from their diversity.
All organisations need the right balance of profiles
Why you need entrepreneurs
During our workshops, executive teams usually spot their entrepreneurs straight away. They describe these people accurately, but often add, “We don’t know how to manage them!”
The entrepreneur is the innovator, the ideas person with plenty of start-up energy. In big corporations they are typically asked to launch novel products or create new business units. But they generally don’t last long in the role. Once the product has gone to market, the entrepreneur doesn’t have the required leadership or management profile to convert new product into sustainable sales.
Instead of redeploying them to the next entrepreneurial job, the organisation decides to move them out and labels them a “bad manager”. Why? Because once they developed the right product, they didn’t know how to maximise its value. At this point they become a “failure”.
Organisations tend to forget their percentage of entrepreneurs is small. Actively moving them out means innovation loss and too few start-ups. Today, the majority of entrepreneurs work in SMEs, feeling they don’t belong in the corporate world. But if corporates managed to retain their entrepreneurs, those businesses would move into the future more successfully.
...plus leaders and managers
Leaders are quick to identify opportunities and capitalise on ideas. They aren’t the original innovators, but get ideas from entrepreneurs. They both need each other. Entrepreneurs need leaders because working in isolation, entrepreneurs won’t realise their dreams so effectively.
Leaders alone aren’t enough. Most organisations have more managers than leaders or entrepreneurs, which is great for business because managers can take innovative ideas and make them work. Managers are practical people, grounded in today’s reality, and essential to keep the business wheels turning.
But managers need entrepreneurs too. Entrepreneurs find novel solutions, while managers make them work.
Right people, right places
Everyone’s profile is a mix of entrepreneur, leader or manager. Even ‘pure’ entrepreneurs don’t spend all their time imagining the future – nor do ‘pure’ managers avoid dreaming about it.
Apart from entrepreneur, leader or manager, six other profiles are possible. For example, the entrepreneur-based leader will differ from the leader-based entrepreneur. The first is an innovative leader, whereas the second is a people-orientated entrepreneur. How much of your natural profile is built on each of the three – and where do you think, work and communicate best?
The need to match people to jobs is self-evident. But it’s easy to get it wrong without using profiles. We’ve seen manager profiles trying to run new businesses and entrepreneurs trying to run established units. Both scenarios are an inefficient use of human capital, not just affecting the individual adversely, but also the whole unit.
Using profiles to make change work
We use the nine profiles to help model business change, define change projects and find corresponding best-fit people to run them.
Each part of our model is called a change ‘drawer’. When implementing change, we’ve found that one step away from a drawer supports the change, while two steps away become blockers.
Let’s use the example of resources to illustrate the point. The three areas close to the top right resources drawer will support this project, while the other five are blockers or detractors that will slow the resources project down. For example, capability is clearly a resources constraint.
Implementing any corner drawer will only have three helping drawers, but five hindering. In project management terms, it’s helpful to spot quickly the supporting business areas and which blockers to address.
Matching people to tasks
The model becomes particularly useful when appointing individuals to run projects, or workstreams. Putting your change project into its corresponding drawer suggests how to match different people profiles for a more successful outcome.
Leader profiles are effective in all nine change drawers because the leader profile touches each square. Leaders are the most adaptable and can even reach into the four corner squares.
The entrepreneur and manager profile only reaches some drawers, with the rest being out of their grasp. This logic explains why entrepreneurs and managers struggle at times with change programmes – and offers some clues about how, and where, to engage them more effectively in implementation.
Profiles in action
We recently witnessed a resources project being run by a person with a strong entrepreneur profile (top left). Our client soon realised it would be more successful being run by a manager – top right, same square as the resources ‘drawer’.
We place culture in drawer four, which has supporting drawers 1, 2, 7, 5 and 8. In this case, drawers 3, 6 and 9 will be blockers.
Recently, the HR director of a large telco described to us a major implementation problem in a culture change programme. It turned out that the person delivering the project has a managerial profile – bottom right. “We thought it’d be good to have them run this project as they’d often blocked things in the past,” said the HR director. After discussing the implications of the person’s profile, the director realised why a different individual would be preferable in this instance.
Managers needed in SMEs
At the other end of the business scale, we’re often asked by CEOs of SMEs, “Why can’t I build my business and get more sustainable growth?”
Recently we spoke to a pure entrepreneur type (top left). We explained the profiles and showed how running a business requires people and effort on the right hand side. He “got it” immediately as these drawers are very difficult for an entrepreneur to reach.
“You’ve described my business over the last five years perfectly,” he said as he came to understand why every business needs people running the operation, as well as looking to the future.
Changing world economy
Today’s world economy is forcing businesses through massive change, completely overhauling products or completely reconfiguring processes.
If you’re in for an overhaul like IBM in the 1980s, a new direction is best driven by an entrepreneurial CEO. But a pure entrepreneur won’t be completely effective in the following stage, when a leader will do better at seizing opportunities and bringing new products to market. Then, say the company has four or five years of steady growth ahead, it needs a manager.
In this way, we’ve observed how the profiles link to business development stages. Looking at the history of North American tribes, several had both a war chief and a peace chief in recognition of the different skills needed. In the same way, organisations need the right entrepreneur, leader or manager at a specific time.
Leaders or managers?
Businesses around the world are running programmes to turn managers into leaders – even discouraging the term ‘manager’ in some cases. And we’ve found very few entrepreneur courses.
We believe the corporate world has gone too far in promoting leadership exclusively. Because companies value leadership, everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder as leaders. Executives want to be known as leaders and not managers and this often unbalances the executive team. If you’re not actively managing the business, nothing gets done and your profit will be zero.
Imagine profiling your whole senior management team to check for balance. Perhaps even your whole organisation. If you knew your organisation’s profile, what impact would that have on your plans for business change – or placing key people in business-critical projects and business units?