Managers & Entrepreneurs: Same Species, Different Animals

Though both parties share many tasks and at times entrepreneurs must manage, fundamentally, they are different.

Managers seek to develop, maintain, utilize existing resources and attract more. They seek to prevent chaos from occurring and, rather, seek to maintain. Where chaos does occur, many managers will seek to eliminate it–to fire chaos-makers, in order to help make operations run as smoothly and effectively as is possible.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are chaos makers. What chaos are they making? They are defying the status quo. What is the status quo? It’s the existing state of affairs. At one point in time, there was likely another state of affairs…but then the change makers came along and re-created the status quo, by breaking it.

In order to create something new, something must first be broken. Let’s look to nature. The seed breaks to make way for the potential of the tree. If that seed is in the ground and does not break, it will likely mold and decay.

This putrefaction of the seed can be compared to the call of adventure on experiences in their own heroic exploits. When a call to adventure, when a new impulse, passion or desire is ignored or stifled, a part of us putrefies–just like the seed that does not realize its potential to break and grow into something far more interesting and complex.

Entrepreneurs are change-makers. Entrepreneurs can either kick the sh*t out of the status quo in their delivering of new products, innovative ideas, new and more efficient models of monetizing visions. This is quite threatening to the status quo. Amazon.com reinvented how books are sold, printed, bound and delivered. Amazon has in-house printing and binding. When you buy a book from Amazon, it is printed and bound on site, removing the need for large warehouses that hold books that may or may not be sold.

If you seek to go the path of the entrepreneur, you will, inevitably, come into contact with the status quo and as you do, expect push-back. The status-quo is heavily invested in maintaining itself because change is scary. Change can mean layoffs. Change can mean shakeup and a lack of certainty.

But, change is inevitable. It is happening all around us and those who resist, those who seek comfort and security above all else, stand to go the way of the planted seed that never realizes its great potential.

So, how do we realize our respective potentials and what are those? Well, we find out as we go along and that is all part of the adventure. But first we must decide. First, we must commit and commit. Then once you start, be adaptable, be willing to change, but do not give up. Keep going.

Jim Hart is the Direct of Arts Entrepreneurship at SMU, Southern Methodist University, and the founder of TITAN, The International Theatre Academy Norway.

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