Sunday, May 10, 2015

Conscious Leaders Care about Entrepreneurs

We served on a panel of judges for the Annual Mid-Atlantic Region’s Business Plan Competition, Innovations in Social and Economic Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C. This wonderful event included student teams from over 20 universities participating in a shark-tank-like (ok, maybe a dolphin tank) shoot out for the best business idea. It was not too much of a surprise but almost all of the teams had some great ideas and viable business models. Some were apps, some were services, and some were actual physical products.

The big question all the judges had was: how can we pick a winner? The short answer is you can’t. Great ideas are most often not recognized in the beginning. They are even ridiculed in their infancy. However, once they become successful everyone “knows” it was obvious they would make it. In our case, we looked at the four tenants of Conscious Capitalism, to decide:

Did the team have a compelling Higher Purpose and were they sincere?

Did the team exhibit the traits of conscious leaders?

Were all the stakeholders considered in the creation of the service or product?

Was there a plan to create a culture that supported the business once it was launched?

There is an old saying that investors “bet on the jockey not the horse.” This means, in a business context, that if the team itself is strong they can make an even mediocre business model work. If not, they can have the best idea in the world but success will be unlikely.

How can you bring more entrepreneurship to your work? Is your business more entrepreneurial then bureaucratic?