Tom Nies; Tomorrow's leaders Featured

8:01pm EDT September 30, 2011
Tom Nies; Tomorrow's leaders

Successful entrepreneurial leaders create a compelling vision of where organizations should head. They continuously communicate how to proceed and energetically guide and encourage the development of the organization’s capabilities to advance that vision in a relentless pursuit of success. Unshakeable will, undaunted determination and a relentless pursuit of desires and goals are key hallmarks of these endeavors.

It’s hard to foster the entrepreneurial spirit over time, many are born with the desire to create, to innovate, to differentiate and to lead. But what does it take to be the entrepreneurial leader of tomorrow now?

Self-confidence, not arrogance

I think that all truly great leaders are marked not only with an exceptional sense of self-confidence, which encourages and stimulates others but also with a sense that penetrates deep into the subconscious of a leader and permeates all that a person is or does. I do not think it is possible to overstate the power of such a type of conscious and subconscious self-confidence.

The entrepreneur’s self-confidence cannot be merely bravado or arrogance, but must be infectious and inspiring to his or her followers. This self-confidence makes it easier and more natural to bear the responsibilities of leadership and to make the tough decisions essential for leadership.

Focus on differentiation

Being self-confident is only one piece of the puzzle — an entrepreneur’s idea or product must be viable, as well. They can’t rely solely on innovation either, as differentiation is just as important.

Innovation focuses upon the provider’s offerings. Differentiation, on the other hand, focuses upon the value, satisfaction, utility or delight that the innovation uniquely provides to the customer. Innovation, without the differentiation that entrepreneurial energy generates, seldom produces optimal appeal and value to customers, nor does it create the optimal advantage and preference for the seller necessary for success.

When these differentiations are significant, whole new categories of business opportunities can be and are created. It only takes one person to begin a category before it can boom as new opportunities are provided to others to improve and expand the possibilities spawned by the original entrepreneurial leadership.

Play nice with others

Burning bridges isn’t recommended in any business setting regardless of job title, but it is especially important for entrepreneurs to not do so. All entrepreneurial activity involves a number of human beings.

Engagement is crucial as like-minded individuals can help troubleshoot challenges and difficulties and stimulate positive constructive responses to help leaders expand themselves, their business and their ideas.

It is also important to understand that each person has strengths and weaknesses. Each person is as good as the best that they have done and bad as the worst. A successful entrepreneur will recognize that people are a mixture of an almost endless variety of contradictions. The best will develop a realistic view of humans and learn to take a person as they are rather than as they may wish or imagine them to be.

Follow your rules

While everyone would love the liberty and freedom to pursue our own heart’s delight, there must be public laws, rules and codes of conduct that restrain and regulate us lest we damage the freedoms and liberties of others. However, there are also personal regulations: honor, integrity, conscience, ethics, values and morals.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that these personal regulations and codes of conduct are at the same time both regulators and energizers. Acting contrary to your personal beliefs will only cause delay as doubt or guilt sets in.

With these few thoughts, I’ve only tried to offer some ideas, which may help in your various leadership and entrepreneurial endeavors. I hope these ideas will help, even if only in some small ways, to aid all of us to change our world for the better.

Thomas M. Nies is the founder and CEO of Cincom Systems Inc. Since its founding in 1968, Cincom has matured into one of the largest international, independent software companies in the world. Cincom’s client base spans communications, financial services, education, government, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and insurance.