Theory  E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises IX: Interplay Between Entrepreneurs and Maturity, Tasks, Problems and Environment

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely-Held Enterprises IX: Interplay Between Entrepreneurs and Maturity, Tasks, Problems and Environment

Type I

Many entrepreneurs define their problems primarily in technical and machine-related terms and look primarily for solutions of a technical and machine-related nature. Heifetz identifies these as technical situations (Type I) in which the knowledge of experts is critical.  In organizational settings that focus on Heifetz’s Type I problems, there is typically a strong need for information regarding the ongoing operations of the organization.

As many enterprises become more automated, employees are less often in the business of actually producing something and more often in the business of monitoring the operations of a machine or trouble-shooting technical problems when they do arise. A thoughtful entrepreneurial leader is likely to thrive in such a setting. She is needed to further nurture the technical problem-solving and decision-making skills of all members of her closely-held enterprise.

Secondarily, this Type I organizational setting often needs some assertive functioning, for thoughtful entrepreneurial leaders often produce too much caution and bureaucracy. Technology-oriented employees often get stuck in a particular mind-set, having finally mastered the intricacies of one complex machine or computer system. An assertive entrepreneurial leader encourages continuing exploration of even more advanced technology and the movement from technological speculation and the hi-tech drawing board to risk-taking, entrepreneurial ventures.

Type II

A second kind of problem is one in which “the problem is definable, but no clear-cut solution is available.”  Both the expert and person with the problem must be engaged in finding an appropriate solution. Decisions regarding human issues have often tended to be of this type. Although this second kind of problem is often fraught with difficulties and conflict, some entrepreneurs recognize that long term commitment to employee welfare is good business. Hence, increasing attention is being given to this second kind of problem, even if it is difficult to solve. Over the long run, this new emphasis on commitment to employees hopefully will lead to greater competencies on the part of all members of contemporary organizations in handling Type Two people problems.


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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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