Leading Change
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Entrepreneurship Defined

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”–Howard Stevenson

This quote captures the essence of my experience leading entrepreneurial ventures within Campus Crusade. As a Christian dependent on spiritual resources provided by an infinitely powerful God I’m passionate about the “without regard to resources currently controlled part.”

chalkboardThe dreams and visions given to those in the Bible rarely called for a mere reorganization of existing resources. Instead they demanded radical re-orientations of people, time, money, thinking, effort, and focus.

“They see an opportunity and don’t feel constrained from pursuing it because they lack resources,” says Stevenson. “They’re used to making do without resources.”

Ministry leaders frequently complain about a lack of resources. As I examined my own experiences complaining about a lack of resources, often the biggest problem was my lack of organizing my resources in a manner that allowed God to work abundantly. I invested the majority of time, people, and money in controllable outcomes instead of abundant opportunities.

“The perception of opportunity in the absence of resources helps explain much of what differentiates entrepreneurial leadership from that of corporate administrators: the emphasis on team rather than hierarchy, fast decisions rather than deliberation, and equity rather than cash compensation.”

 Delayed decisions diminish the potential to realize the opportunities in front of the entrepreneur. I would substitute the word “people” for “team.” In my experience working with hierarchies I notice that sometimes the right people to move a decision forward and realize an opportunity do not have the right title. It’s not that entrepreneurs despise hierarchies–it’s more that we value realizing the future and hierarchies often delay the process.

“Entrepreneurs offer their team members a larger share of a vision for a future payoff, rather than a smaller share of the meager resources at hand. Opportunity is the only real resource you have.”

This characteristic represents the greatest challenge for an entrepreneurial leader. Many team members/coworkers value present, tangible actions more than future opportunities. It’s easy to become frustrated when others do not want to drop or reallocate their time to pursue a new venture or project, and to minimize the importance of daily tasks. Those that can communicate the future opportunities as well as the importance of daily tasks become influential.

“You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.”

A team can dramatically improve their results by spending time dreaming about the best option. Too often current resources are the primary factor in team decision making. In order to achieve significant results on a regular basis the best option must always have a place in the conversation, and a leader foolish enough to believe it can happen.

Would you call yourself entrepreneurial? What challenges do you face as you pursue new opportunities? 


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