Academic journal article Manager

Entrepreneurs and Administrative Managers - Sworn Enemies or Trusted Allies?

Academic journal article Manager

Entrepreneurs and Administrative Managers - Sworn Enemies or Trusted Allies?

Article excerpt

RM: Can? I say how much I enjoyed the hook (see Review opposite). It's certainly a different approach! As someone working in Leadership and Management, I've made this prescribed reading for my team if only to encourage innovative thinking. In fact, it leads me to my first question. Could you elaborate on "the importance of being clueless" (something you stress throughout the book) for the entrepreneur? Does this mean (by inference) that a good entrepreneur is then reliant on a good manager?

SH: No and yes. First, you need to think Outside the box'. We were given rules from people who were experienced in the trade, but through experience, these people had gathered 'baggage', which meant they thought 'you can't do that'. We set up thinking 'we can do this', and that the rules of others are there to be broken. Later, when we became more concerned with consistency and growth, we could then set our own rules and, as we note in the book, we then needed good managers - but those who could think outside the box.

RM: It is often said that women are better at creative thinking than men, butthat leads to resistance in terms of career advancement. Were you treated differently from your brother in any of your dealings with, say, financiers, suppliers etc. ?

SH: Not at all. I was brought up in a family where gender was not an issue. I have never come across this concept of discrimination or the 'glass ceiling', and certainly would not use this as a scapegoat or excuse. It sets a bad example for future women who need a positive role model, and not positive discrimination. Indeed, I would say my mission is not to use this as an excuse!

RM: Do you have a different perspective now on the qualities that make a good manager, compared to your views before you and your brother started Coffee Republic?

SH: No. True entrepreneurship is about knowing where your weaknesses are, and you need to have a structure of strong management to compensate for the weaknesses. However, you can only attract a better calibre of managers as you grow, so in the beginning, you need to do for yourself some of the things which good managers do. 'Bootstrapping' is the key. You have to compensate, and make 2 + 2 = 5 until you can afford otherwise. There is a constant 'push and pull' culture in SMEs, because the goalposts move all the time: in this atmosphere, good managers need to be able to adapt between big and small organisational cultures. …

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