Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely -Held Enterprises–IV. The Entrepreneur in Action

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurs in Closely -Held Enterprises–IV. The Entrepreneur in Action

Given the challenge of making decisions in closely-held enterprises that are filled with unpredictability, turbulence and complexity, many entrepreneurs have either given up on the creation of a unified theory of executive functioning or have grown cynical of any theory that purports to tell them how to make decisions. Contemporary entrepreneurs are inclined, therefore, to dismiss any prescriptive model that identifies a right and wrong way of operating. They are beginning to turn instead to more contextually-based models that address the complex dynamics of most organizations.

Relationships are key here. As Margaret Wheatley suggests, in drawing an analogy (and connection) between quantum physics and organizational functioning, “nothing is independent of the relationships that occur. I am constantly creating the world—evoking it, not discovering it—as I participate in all its many interactions. This is a world of process, not a world of things.”  We are always making decisions in relationship to the environment in which we find ourselves. There are moments and places within a closely-held enterprise when specific types of entrepreneurial functioning are needed; furthermore, each of us can provide certain kinds of entrepreneurial functions in specific moments and places.

Decision-making is likely to be effective in a closely-held enterprise if there is a good match between the decision-maker’s needs and style at that specific moment and place and the organization’s needs and style at that same moment and place. The context for effective entrepreneurship concerns this matching process. A decision-maker may find, for instance, that she must be capable of and willing to shift her style when working with a relatively immature work group or with a group that is highly mature. Within this context, however, and in her working relationship with members of this group, she may help to promote their maturity, thereby necessitating yet another change in style (which may or may not fit with her own ability or willingness to shift).


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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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