Home Concepts Organizational Theory Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurial Professionals in Closely-Held Enterprises

Theory E²: Working with Entrepreneurial Professionals in Closely-Held Enterprises

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What is the entrepreneurial challenge when roles remain diffuse? Typically, we find that the lack of boundaries and differentiation can lead to burnout. In closely held enterprises, burnout results neither from a lack of recognition for the work one does nor from a more general psychological alienation from the organization where one is employed. (These sources of burnout are more common in corporate life or in government.) Burnout in closely held enterprises is more likely to come from working too many hours, assuming too many responsibilities and finding no time away from the job—even when at home with “the family.”

The key factor is pacing. The entrepreneur can’t do everything, be everywhere, or achieve every goal at one time. While the solution to the problem of burnout seems obvious—quit working so hard—it is remarkable how often in coaching sessions, it all comes down to this one basic issue:  “How do I, as an entrepreneur, serving in a leadership role in a closely held enterprise, find time for my family, for my personal restoration and for moments of reflection on the enterprise that I am leading?”

2. Tacit (Informal and Obvious) Intentions

A second major theme is voiced by many entrepreneurs in closely held enterprises: the intentions of the enterprise (Mission, Vision, Values, Purpose) are very important—but are not often discussed or even articulated. Why is this void the case and what are the implications?

First, there is often very little conversation about intentions, because (as we mentioned above) there is little time to discuss these matters, given the time pressure felt by everyone working in the enterprise. They are all working on behalf of the mission of the enterprise, even if they are not sure what this mission is!

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