It is not possible for an organization to grow big, on the ideas of one person. Even if that person is a brilliant entrepreneur.
Once, you as the “founding” entrepreneur have managed to start a business, and it is growing. One of your most important tasks, if you want the business to continue to grow, even for decades or more, and certainly when you have retired, or even died; you must institutionalize a culture of entrepreneurship. And this starts with the ability to identify and recruit entrepreneurs….and also hold on to them.
Let me tell you a secret:
The most important people in any organization, are the entrepreneurs, also known as “intra preneurs”. Some of them are senior executives, some are senior managers, some are top engineers, some are supervisors, some are factory workers, some even sweepers!
“Oh, how I wish all the people that ever work for me, were all entrepreneurs!”
Take a company, like Toyota, GE, or IBM. The founders are long gone, and yet these giant companies can create new innovations, start new businesses. They can identify new opportunities… They can do everything, an entrepreneur can do; but they do it institutionally.
Every year they register thousands of patents, and develop new ventures.
If you ever get a chance to read the stories of great business leaders like Jack Welch, and Ann Fudge, you realize that they were amazing entrepreneurs, and yet they did not own the businesses they were running. Being an entrepreneur, at its best, is a way of thinking.
To be continued…
Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa