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a hand holding a tablet with a list
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How to Transition from Entrepreneur to People Leader

a 4 rower boat on water

Many New Zealand startups are successful because their leaders dare to take risks, are prepared to do a 180-degree turn, and are willing to persevere when we mere mortals would have long given up. These are all characteristics of an entrepreneur that are indispensable in a startup. But it also has the downside of ‘key person dependency’.

In our experience, it is exactly the successful characteristics of an entrepreneur that often prevent a successful start-up from long-term prosperity. Once a start-up has reached a critical point, the business needs to ground itself and stabilise its operations. A very different set of leadership skills is needed at this point. In this phase the business needs to create work routines, it needs leaders with attention to detail, patience, and system thinking. The organisation needs to stabilise, or as I heard someone put it, “Made Mundane”.

Leaders that continue to operate as entrepreneurs in an organisation that is past its start-up phase, will limit or even cause damage. The frequent and unexpected change of direction will demotivate and confuse their people and produce associated errors, delays, and frustrations.

It is the time of transition from the entrepreneurial growth phase to sustained business success beyond the entrepreneurial leader when the introduction of Lean management philosophies and systems can propel the company into a new era of success. It is rare to have the characteristics of both the entrepreneurial leader and the people and systems leader combined in one person.

Ask yourself, what type of leader are you? What is your strength? Are these the skills that your organisation needs right now?