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Leaders need to stand for more than a well-run company

24th August 2017

By Chris Sheppardson, Trustee

As an entrepreneur myself, who has met and dealt with many hundreds of other entrepreneurs over the years, one commonality we all have is that failure has played a central role in our success.  Despite this, so many entrepreneurs have their mind set dominated by a fear of failure that could, in truth, unleash the true power of their potential.

In the UK particularly, there is an underlying fear of failure.  This creates a barrier not just to personal development but also to business leadership.  Innovation continues to be of importance to businesses today and many entrepreneurs want to actively encourage disruption within their sector but how many can truthfully say they have activated real innovation within their business? 

I believe there is two barriers that come into play here, the first being that corporates are generally risk averse.  They have developed strong internal processes to manage business and there is simply no chance that disruption will succeed.  Change is therefore needed; leading strategic thinkers are also moving beyond a focus on traditional product and service categories to seek out innovations in business processes, distribution, value chains, business models, and even the functions of management. So which school of thought is correct and will win at the end of the day?

If the former is true, then it suggests that those with vision and open to taking on risk will encounter barriers along their road. If the latter, then company cultures need to also accept that failure will happen and that there needs to be a major change in the cultural psychology of business - but people need to trust leadership again for this to happen.

Some also believe that the younger generation of entrepreneurs are not accountable but is that really true?  I would argue that perhaps they simply lack the confidence to take risks.  Is the truth more likely to be that the system they grew up in, does not allow for failure? 

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