The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Strategies for Continuously Creating Opportunity in an Age of Uncertainty

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Harvard Business Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 380 pages
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A Blueprint for Building Entrepreneurial Organizations

Nobody needs to tell you that in the new economy, managers using conventional strategies are losing out to smart, fast, entrepreneurial competitors who move on ideas others overlook and who confidently act while others dither. Are the managers of leading companies simply doomed to let this happen? Not at all, argue Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian MacMillan. The fundamental problem is that the tools, training, and conceptual frameworks that work for business-as-usual can't, and don't, work when your main challenge is to bury old business models and aggressively create completely new ones. To succeed, today's strategists need the thought process and discipline that are second nature to successful entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneurial Mindset offers a refreshingly practical blueprint for thinking and acting in environments that are fast-paced, rapidly changing, and highly uncertain. It provides both a guide to energizing the organization to find tomorrow's opportunities and a set of entrepreneurial principles you can use personally to transform the arenas in which you compete.

Using lessons drawn from leading entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies, The Entrepreneurial Mindset presents a set of practices for capitalizing on uncertainty and rapid change. Like McGrath and MacMillan's bestselling Harvard Business Review articles, such as "Discovery-Driven Planning," the book provides simple but powerful ways to stop acting by the old rules and start thinking with the discipline of habitual entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset will show you how to:
* Eliminate paralyzing uncertainty by creating an entrepreneurial frame that shapes a shared understanding of what is to be accomplished and what would be worthwhile
* Create a richly stocked opportunity register in which you mobilize great ideas for redesigning existing products, finding new sources of differentiation, resegmenting existing markets, reconfiguring market spaces, and seizing the huge upside potential of breakthroughs
* Build a dynamic portfolio of businesses and options that continuously move your organization toward the future
* Execute dynamically your ideas so that you can move fast, with confidence and without undue risk
* Develop your own way of leading with an entrepreneurial mindset to create a vibrant entrepreneurial climate within your organization

The Entrepreneurial Mindset is about succeeding in an unpredictable world. It will help everyone from independent entrepreneurs to managers of large corporations develop insights that others overlook and act on them to build the truly entrepreneurial organizations of the future.


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The entrepreneurial mindset: strategies for continuously creating opportunity in an age of uncertainty

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This somewhat scholarly tome says that uncertainty can be profitable if approached as an opportunity. The authors are Ivy League B-school professors with private-sector experience who attempt to ... Read full review

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Bottom line first: Buy this book. Not only can you immediately implement the tools described, but it will also serve as an excellent reference tool. It is well worth the time invested to read it. Consider it an option on your career with limitless upside.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset illustrates the process for rationally generating, choosing among, executing, and monitoring strategic opportunities in the face of uncertainty. Starting from the premise that no market is so mature that you cannot further differentiate your offerings, the authors offer action-oriented, simple tools that help to assess opportunities for launching new products and entering new markets. And those tools aren't just simple, they're also smart and unconventional, providing insight into the minds of habitual entrepreneurs who have honed their skill in creating value time and again.
McGrath and MacMillan publish the checklists, questions, quizzes, and models it took them years to develop while working with management teams in established firms to discern original responses to business challenges. You can start applying the principles and tools in each chapter immediately, getting some good quick hits even before finishing the book. For example, Chapter 11 alone contains 8 tools for developing leading indicators of the business to help tell if a project is heading in the right direction, long before the results become available. Chapter 10 is a gem too. It is based on one of Harvard Business Review's most popular articles, "Discovery Driven Planning" (written by the authors of this book), which was then developed into a course at Wharton's Executive Education Programs for several years.
Anyone who reads and implements the principles, strategies, and tools outlined in this book is sure create value, regardless of their corporate title, and it is a must-read for any strategy professional or executive manager. If you think your industry or business is too mature to benefit from this book, consider one of McGrath and MacMillan's many case studies that are fresh and actually worth studying: Blyth Industries boosted sales from $3 million in 1982 to nearly $500 million in 1996 by exploiting a mature industry. How mature? More than 5,000 years old: Blyth Industries sells candles.
Creating and nurturing an Entrepreneurial Mindset is a lot of fun and carries a lot of rewards, both professionally and personally. To quote the authors at the end of their first chapter: "If nobody knows what the future will hold, your vision of how to navigate it is as good as anyone's. The future may well belong to you."
-Sean Nevins


Needed An Entrepreneurial Mindset
Framing the Challenge
Building Blockbuster Products and Services
Redifferentiating Products and Services
Disrupting the Rules of the Game
Building Breakthrough Competences
Selecting Your Competitive Terrain
Assembling Your Opportunity Portfolio
Putting DiscoveryDriven Planning to Work
Managing Projects with Uncertain Outcomes
The Most Important Job Entrepreneurial Leadership
The Entrepreneurial Edge When Strategy Is Discovery
About the Authors

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About the author (2000)

Rita Gunther McGrath is Associate Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. Ian C. MacMillan is the Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. They are coauthors of MarketBusters (Harvard Business School Press, 2005).

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