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Leaders: Three tips for developing an effectual, entrepreneurial team…

I’ve made much about entrepreneurialism and effectual leadership recently, and the improved results that come from applying this perspective when problem-solving.

One of the benefits of visionary thinking, and making effectual rather than causal decisions, is the occurrence of innovation and creative ideas. Sticking with predictable, proven strategies and making plans that feature little risk do not equal radical new approaches. For these, you need to step outside of the norm and look at things from a different angle.

The same applies to effectual leadership. Traditional methods of management are based on specific direction, predictive outcomes and behaviours, and using approaches that are known to deliver great results. Effectual leadership, conversely, encourages risk-taking, and helps teams to see any failures as unique learning opportunities.

The entrepreneurial team therefore has the potential to exceed the results of any causally-led team and having an influence on the company’s direction.

So how, as leader, can you get your team to think like entrepreneurs? Here are my three tips, and why such an approach would be beneficial to teams and the companies they work for:

  1. Encourage rapid prototyping 

The speed that ideas can be tested and measured can be significant in effectual leadership. Too much red tape and unnecessary procedures at prototype stage can be stifling. ID-10011529Innovation is fuelled by creativity, and if little time is spent creating, this mind-set soon switches off. Keep projects under the radar until they’ve proved they have legs, and instil the message within your team that failure is not something to be feared – failure gives team members the chance to learn: what didn’t work, why it didn’t work, and how these issues can be overcome in the next idea or prototype.

The time saved from creating prototypes quickly gives teams, and the companies they work for, a competitive advantage, as they’re able to get to market more quickly with ideas that have proved themselves. And because ideas are very quickly shown to be successful or not successful, cost is also minimised, not just from a labour-saving point of view, but also because fewer tools or equipment need producing for manufacture. Waste is also kept to a minimum for the same reason.

  1. Encourage your team to connect

ID-10065021Whilst traditional leadership focuses on unity within the team, the effectual leader encourages team members to maximise outside or third party help. Therefore, supporting your team’s links to outside networks, or instilling the concept that a collaborative approach is better, will not only help to foster advantageous alliances between internal departments and inter-organisational departments, but also allow access to help individuals or the team may need outside of their own capabilities.

An entrepreneur doesn’t hesitate to join forces with a potential competitor if it helps him get nearer to his goals, and it’s a mutually beneficial collaboration. This same premise can be applied within a team, where the vision and results are paramount, not the route taken to get there. Opportunities arise from widening networks, which may also help to develop individuals and the team overall.

  1. Encourage through organisational leadership

The role of the effectual leader is to inspire and motivate, not dominate. Giving clear direction and helping your team to be responsible for their ideas and actions instils entrepreneurialism, and builds individual resilience. Invite others to propose new projects using effectuation, and allow sub-teams to self-manage their leadership based on the skills and knowledge needed for that stage of the process – help them to see that leadership is mobile in effectual decision-making.

The benefits of an effectual team…

An effectual team approaches problem-solving in a different manner, using logic in the face of unpredictability and risk, rather than cause and effect, and making use of the resources, environment and help that surrounds them. Whilst a causal approach has a specific goal and specific means to reach it, the effectual approach starts with the means and thinks of what can be achieved with them.

Using this concept, the likelihood that teams will realise new or innovative products or services is very high, much higher than a linear process that follows just one route from beginning to end, and which requires deviation from the brief/vision to be innovative. I’ve covered, in previous posts, the importance of innovation in today’s competitive markets; to be innovative, we must encourage the right mind-set, using effectual leadership.

If you’re a manager/leader and you’d like my help to develop your effectual leadership, or if your organisation could benefit from leadership coaching, contact me on 01302 220021, or by email at angela.sabin@executive-life-coaching.co.uk.

Thanks to graur codrin and sscreations at freedigitalphotos.net


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