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Achieve Commercial Success and Personal Fulfilment:
Entrepreneurship that can benefit both individuals and the enterprise
By Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

Would you like to run your own business or professional practice? Are you sensitive to the entrepreneurial aspirations of your colleagues or staff? Colin Coulson-Thomas author of ‘Individuals and Enterprise’ a handbook for achieving both commercial success and personal fulfilment suggests that helping people to achieve their dreams might enable you to participate in any new ventures they create. Enabling entrapreneurship can benefit both individuals and organisations.

Employers need to recognise that many individuals consider a change of direction. Some seek a more equitable balance between work and life, or want more control over their destiny. Others harbour a desire to become entrepreneurs. They become fed up being a piece on someone else’s chess board and want to play their own game.

For reasons as varied as apprehension concerning a new role or a mid-life crisis people question what they are doing with their lives. Sometimes the imagined or available alternatives seem to bring their own problems and uncertainties. People weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different courses of action. They assess whether the risks and costs involved will outweigh desired benefits. They wonder whether the grass will be greener on the other side of the fence.

Certain business trends have implications for both individuals and employers. For example, as more customers demand bespoke responses front line staff dealing with them increasingly need to think and act like entrepreneurs. This creates an opportunity for enlightened entrepreneurs to reconcile personal and organisational goals.

An investigation into emerging opportunities for entrepreneurship has examined how people and companies can best respond. The findings - along with self-assessment exercises and checklists - are set out in ‘Individuals and Enterprise’, a guide for intending entrepreneurs*. They reveal the satisfaction and excitement people can derive from discovering their inner selves, breaking free and changing course.

Giving people opportunities to be true to their ideals and beliefs can be the key to retaining the allegiance of ambitious spirits who might wish to start a new enterprise or make fundamental changes in their current organisation. Challenges such as falling sales of existing products and the threat of redundancy can be turned into exciting opportunities for individuals to go it alone or collaborate with an existing employer to create a new offering or launch a new venture.

Let’s look as what people who succeed financially while also being personally fulfilled do differently. Firstly, they acknowledge that all is not well with their existing lives. They recognise that something is missing. They assess their current situation and decide that enough is enough.

Life’s winners also recognise the dawn of a new era of opportunity. They search for what is latent and tease out what is hidden. They are alert to trends such as falling barriers. They view emerging concerns, current problems and likely changes as potential arenas for entrepreneurship. They consider how such developments will affect them and others, and assess what new qualities, lifestyle options, strategies, offerings and markets will be required to cope with them and benefit from them.

Next, our winners look at what it would take to succeed in the new arenas of opportunity they identify. They consider changing requirements, the limitations of current approaches and potential conflicts of interest. They assess themselves and review their current circumstances and obligations in relation to the essence of what will be required for an effective response.

The most fulfilled are more self-aware than others. They seek to understand the person within and assess which opportunities - if pursued - would most allow them to be true to their inner selves and excel. Organisations too need to assess themselves in relation to new requirements and opportunities, and consider the implications for ways of working and future relationships with people whose aspirations are changing.

Smart intending entrepreneurs consider opportunities for collaboration before they burn their boats, leave their employer and launch out on their own. They explore options for cooperation, buy-out possibilities and the scope of working with rather than for organisations. Confident companies do likewise. They consider whether they should become a sponsor or business partner rather than an employer, and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to become internal intrapreneurs or joint venture colleagues.

Successful entrepreneurs look at the world differently from others. They retain a sense of wonder and excitement at the possibilities. They question, probe and explore. They bring new combinations of elements together and assemble winning formulae. When the time is right they seize the moment and have a go.

Winners appreciate collective endeavour and understand the value of the right networks and relationships. If appropriate, they collaborate with others. They are not afraid to ask for help, but select colleagues with care. They avoid leeches and parasites. They seek soul mates who share their visions. They attract contributors, energetic business builders with complementary qualities.

Rather than imitate and copy others the most fulfilled ‘do it their way’. They recognise individuality, both in themselves and in others. They achieve a healthy balance between reflection and action, and secure flexible access to the capabilities they need to turn their dreams into a reality. They avoid siren voices and the vanity of size, seeking a scale of operation that is right for the opportunities they pursue.

Confident business leaders view the entrepreneurial aspirations of their people as an opportunity rather than a threat. They encourage and benefit from them. They call for proposals and back the most promising and commercial ideas. They provide corporate support services to help intending entrepreneurs get started. In return for a share of new ventures they offer finance, development advice and access to a customer base.

© Colin Coulson-Thomas, 2005


Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas
Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas
About the Author:

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, an experienced company chairman, has advised over 90 boards and management teams on director, board and corporate development. Formerly the world’s first Professor of Corporate Transformation and Process Vision Holder of major transformation projects, he is the UK’s first Professor of Competitiveness and can be contacted:

Tel: 01733 361 149
Fax: 01733 361 459
Email: colinct@tiscali.co.uk
Web: www.ntwkfirm.com/colin.coulson-thomas

*‘Individuals and Enterprise: creating entrepreneurs for the new millennium through personal transformation’ and ‘Shaping Things to Come, strategies for creating alternative enterprises’ - a guide for creating new offerings- can both be ordered from Blackhall Publishing by Tel: 00 353 1 6773242, Fax: 00 353 1 6773243, email: blackhall@eircom.net; or from: www.ntwkfirm.com/bookshop

Transforming the Company: Manage Change, Compete & Win
Colin Coulson-Thomas shows that to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality, business people must make far-reaching decisions about the value to them and their companies of particular theories, past assumptions and traditional approaches. Based on original research, the first edition of this was ahead of its time and predicted many of the current management trends. The author now brings the text bang up-to-date for the 21st century. This second edition of Transforming The Company shows how to turn theory into practice by highlighting the obstacles and barriers that confront companies when trying to bring about change. For management at all levels faced with this task, this thought-provoking book will inspire and enlighten.

The Knowledge Entrepreneur: How Your Business Can Create, Manage and Profit from Intellectual Capital  by Colin Coulson-Thomas

Buy UK   Buy US

The Knowledge Entrepreneur: How Your Business Can Create, Manage and Profit from Intellectual Capital
In many companies knowledge management has focused almost exclusively upon the packaging of existing knowledge. This book is designed to help readers boost revenues and profit by significantly improving the performance of existing activities and also creating new offerings that generate additional income. It shows how practical knowledge-based job-support tools can transform work group productivity, and reveals the enormous scope for addressing contemporary problems such as "information overload" with imaginative responses. Additional information includes: a list of possible commercial ventures; detailed checklists that can be used for identifying and analysing opportunities for knowledge entrepreneurship; and exercises for assessing entrepreneurial potential and "scoping" possible products and services. The free CD-ROM packaged with the book gives examples of particular knowledge-based job support tools that have dramatically improved desired results in crucial areas such as winning more business.



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