Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises–V. The Assertive Entrepreneur

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises–V. The Assertive Entrepreneur


Assertive entrepreneurs focus on ideas and action. They typically are intolerant of groups—especially nonproductive groups! They are impatient with extended expression of feelings or images of some amorphous desired state. They also tend to grow impatient with extended review of financial or production data, alternative proposals, critical analyses or systematic planning strategies. They want to get on with their work, are willing to devote considerable energy to getting the job done, and are not afraid to get started and readjust the plan once they are underway. Assertive entrepreneurs are usually willing and even eager to take risks. Yet they also want to establish clear lines of authority and responsibility so that nothing will distract them from getting the job done. If the action is not successful the responsible party can readily be identified, provided lines of authority and responsibility are firmly established.

Heifetz suggests five primary tasks for what we are calling the assertive entrepreneur.  First, the assertive entrepreneur should direct attention to the central issues of the closely-held enterprise. Second, he should ensure that information about the organization is gathered and tested. Third, the assertive entrepreneur should manage information and use this information to frame the central issues of the closely-held enterprise. Fourth, he should help to identify and bring together, that is orchestrate, the conflicting perspectives of the organization. Finally, the assertive entrepreneur should pick appropriate decision-making processes with regard to addressing the central issues and conflicting perspectives of the closely-held enterprise.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. 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.

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