In the last decade, if you were the most important, experienced corporate kid on the block, you were the main ingredient for success. However, in 2020, companies that lack the responsibility and potential for strategically leveraging size and experience will see these
traits as vices instead of virtues.
The new decade demands an entrepreneurial mindset. The competition will come from anywhere at any time. Technology will enable smaller, more agile competitors. The days of unwinding, expecting and depending on corporate size and reliability to draw business are over.
The correlation between size and entrepreneurial behavior doesn’t have to be an inverse one. People like Elon Musk have already proved convincingly that huge companies like Tesla can be as proactive and determined as the most entrepreneurial start-up. Entrepreneurial practice can no longer be the sole representation of just the budding start-up. Everybody has to get in on the act.
Entrepreneurship is like dieting: Everybody is in support of it on paper, but only a few have the intestinal guts to do what it takes to harvest the rewards. In my view, the primary obstacle is cultural and is rooted in our fear of failure.
The new decade calls for a far more entrepreneurial corporate culture, one where experimentation, risk-taking, and even failure are permitted and honored. After all, the only real alternative to testing and risk is failure and decay.
The nature of risk is the probability of failure. Acknowledge your shortcomings. Evolution can be thought of as precise error management. Read about any thriving entrepreneur, and what you’ll find is that it is someone who failed a time or two.
The emerging rigidity of the new decade leaves us little choice. We must experiment and testing carries with it the near certainty of at least rare failure. In a genuinely entrepreneurial society, failure tends to be a learning opportunity, a vital pre-condition to ultimate success. The status quo is not an option any longer. You can stand still if you like, but your opponent probably won’t.