Entrepreneurial Learning: Secret Ingredient's for Business Success: Entrepreneurs Are Skilled at Using Learning to Achieve Their Goals and Fulfill a Vision. the Common Learning Patterns Seen in Entrepreneurial Business Leaders Can Be Adopted

By MacPherson, Mike | T&D, July 2009 | Go to article overview

Entrepreneurial Learning: Secret Ingredient's for Business Success: Entrepreneurs Are Skilled at Using Learning to Achieve Their Goals and Fulfill a Vision. the Common Learning Patterns Seen in Entrepreneurial Business Leaders Can Be Adopted


MacPherson, Mike, T&D


In 1954, a milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc negotiated a deal with the McDonald brothers to take their restaurant concept national. In the first franchise, opened near Kroc's home in Chicago, he and partner Art Jacobs attempted to perfect important aspects of the McDonald brothers' operation. Although the restaurant made money from the start, the new owners encountered a significant problem: they could not duplicate the unique McDonald's french fry.

After extensive trial and error, the fries in the experimental restaurant were still turning out mushy. The idea of a national restaurant chain was based on repeating the McDonald brothers' standards for taste and quality, but Kroc could not even duplicate these qualities in the first restaurant.

Kroc tried everything. Finally, frustrated and nearing the end of his patience, he contacted the experts at the Potato and Onion Association and explained his problem.

Through testing and rigorous problem solving, they finally discovered that in California, the McDonald brothers stored their potatoes in chicken-wire bins located within a shaded garage outside of their restaurant. Without knowing it, the McDonalds had created a natural curing process that allowed the desert breeze to blow over the potatoes, drying them out and transforming the sugars to starch. With the help of the people from the Potato and Onion Association, Kroc devised a curing system of his own.

The rest is fast food restaurant history. In just 22 years, from 1954 to 1976, McDonald's surpassed 1 billion dollars in total revenue.

While this story may sound simplistic--after all, it is about duplicating fries--it reflects this article's key idea: outstanding entrepreneurs are driven by compelling visions and learning, and the creative capacity to acquire and use information is instrumental to business success.

Kroc used problem solving, questioning, reading, thinking, listening, and experts to solve the french fry dilemma. It was a process of self-directed learning, or learning from experience, and team problem solving--clearly a best practice model in adult and organizational learning.

So what else can we learn about how entrepreneurs learn? After reviewing more than 30 autobiographies and biographies of world-class entrepreneurs and business leaders, I found that there are similar patterns to both what they learn and how they learn it. This article presents common themes in entrepreneurial learning, a key ingredient in the recipe for business success.

WHAT ENTREPRENEURS LEARN

Entrepreneurs exemplify nine common areas of learning content: acquiring business-specific knowledge; learning business mechanics; learning about context, customers, and the competition; studying people; studying leadership principles; reflecting on company values; and discovering how to create learning organizations.

1| Acquiring business-specific knowledge. Take a moment to think of a statement or word that describes your business: for example, aviation, coffee, computers, golf, diamonds, oil, insurance, or real estate. Now ask yourself if you know enough about the word. If you answer no, you have already pinpointed a gap in your business knowledge.

Would you open a quilting store if you had never picked up a knitting needle or a golf store if you knew nothing about golf? All entrepreneurs know their "stuff"--their main content area.

One day, 12-year-old Henry Ford and his father were walking along a dusty road near their farm in Michigan when young Ford saw his first steam engine. He was captivated and developed what became a lifelong passion for engines and automobiles. Ford started a shop in a garage on his father's farm, studied for a machinist's trade, read everything pertaining to the emerging field of automobiles, and built his own prototypes from scratch. Through continuous learning, Ford acquired vast knowledge of engines and automobiles. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Entrepreneurial Learning: Secret Ingredient's for Business Success: Entrepreneurs Are Skilled at Using Learning to Achieve Their Goals and Fulfill a Vision. the Common Learning Patterns Seen in Entrepreneurial Business Leaders Can Be Adopted
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.