Babson Entrepreneur Experience Lab

Elements of the Entrepreneur Experience

Team

Distributing Ownership

Entrepreneurs are told to build a great team rather than perfect an emergent idea. Prevailing wisdom is that success is rarely dependent on the quality of the emergent idea, but deeply dependent on how well the idea is executed by the team. But, EI often have little control over the assembly of teams or team building processes. With an organizational emphasis on idea generation and vetting, potential team members tend to be considered as a unit of bandwidth rather than an assortment of individuals with varying personalities, behaviors, knowledge and skills. In this context, EI are often left to the critical, effort-intense task of identifying and building the relationships that produce effective entrepreneurial teams.

Opportunities

  1. How can we make it easier for EI to access the full range of human resources whether inside or outside of the organization?

  2. What systems or tools can we create to better align skills and ideas?

  3. How can we create dynamic feedback systems to create more effective teams?

Seeding a sense of co-ownership

Seeding a sense of co-ownership

Katie

Katie talks about the benefit of having many perspectives expanding on an idea.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvv3KAA.html

Jessica

Jessica talks about needing the expertise of others within an organization.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvv3AAA.html

To gain hands-on help from co-workers in the form of time and expertise, entrepreneurs inside must become great relationship and engagement managers. Patty, a human services EI, now understands “what it costs others to change... especially those who have a vested interest in maintaining business-as-usual modes of operating.” Navigating this “history dynamic” requires understanding the nuances of costs and motivations to find leverage points. Patty states, “Once I find those leverage points, I can then begin testing my ideas to see if I am going to be able to succeed.” Amy has learned that sharing ownership of work builds solid relationships and makes it easier to enlist others in her efforts. “I’ve had more success with one-on-one relationships, building trust and empowering others by sharing ownership of projects.” Eduardo, a development executive with a Chamber of Commerce who is bringing crowdsourcing capabilities to his local community, describes the process as translating acceptance to help into tangible value and recognition for others. “I look for opportunities to make a connection. If I have a strong relationship with them, I am able to move projects in the direction needed. It’s about looking for a way to add value and recognition to {others} work.” EI are aware that it’s not always a reciprocal relationship. One EI puts it this way, “{The relationship is} a give and take, at times... or even just a take. I extract expertise and ideas... and perhaps, I've added value and helped raise the profile of the organization. But I can't {always} say that I've given much back myself.”

Mapping the layer cake

Mapping the layer cake

Katie

Katie speaks on utilizing people's different skills and interests.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvv3KQA.html

Danielle

Danielle describes how she helps others see their capacity.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvvnbQA.html

Jessica

Jessica describes mapping and building teams.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvv3IAA.html

EI tend to be great taxonomists mapping the behaviors of others from all layers of the {organizational} cake.” This classification helps EI develop the right engagement skills and tactics for managing assigned team members. In addition to developing great one-on-one relationships with people who prefer certainty or current ways of doing things, EI sometimes need to adopt avoidance tactics to manage others deemed “red lights”—those people who arenot enjoying their work, unwilling to engage or worse, actively “tearing down others.” Classifying people into categories also help EI identify hidden allies or potential resources that can provide critical knowledge and skills. Finding these specialists can be tough work. Christine, a VP at a research organization, describes it this way, “Right now in most companies, certainly in mine, you either spend a lot of time figuring out who you need, or you happen to find that person by accident. I think an internal referral program, like the 800 numbers they use for finding lawyers would be good. You'd call up and say, "here's where I need help -- I need a financial perspective on my product," or "I need to talk to someone who understands R&D." And the referral service would set you up with an appointment with the person you need to talk to.”

DIY Org Charts

DIY Org Charts

Jessica

Jess describes the meeting when she pitched her new role within the organization.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvyQDQA.html

Mary

Mary discusses getting support from senior leadership.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvyUbAA.html

Jessica

Jessica describes her CEO being a major supporter of her role within the organization.

http://blip.tv/play/h7YEgvv2ewA.html

As EI create opportunities for themselves, they often have the opportunity to pull others along with them. Jess, an entrepreneurial storyteller at a community non-profit, approached a colleague about the possibility of taking over her current role and responsibilities and made this part of her entrepreneurial venture pitch to senior leadership. Her colleague was eager to move into a new area and take on new responsibilities. For flat or community-based organizations who often have an expressed entrepreneurial culture, colleagues who are normally peers, suddenly find themselves creating managerial and subordinate roles to gain traction in idea execution.