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Can an entrepreneur be less of a manager and more of a dreamer

This is indeed a conundrum faced by many would be entrepreneur’s, i.e., to strike the right balance between generating new ideas and opportunities and effectively managing the outcomes. In today’s complex business environment, an entrepreneur needs to work in multi-dimensional context sniffing opportunities on the go and yet still have the skill set and governance to manage the outcome to ensure success. This is especially true when the entrepreneur is involved in asset intensive businesses like in the Oil and Gas and in Aviation sectors. In the former sector, I have come across many entrepreneurs who don’t understand the assets they are managing be it an OSV, or a rig, the people issues surrounding it, the complexities in the tendering process, the maintenance of these assets often have a direct impact on the cost structures over the life of the contract which maybe detrimental given the higher cost of funds experienced today with local banks. Managing assets require an “owner’s touch” to be well involved in all aspects of the operations even if at some stage, these elements may be outsourced to a 3rd party. At least you know what you are “outsourcing”. “Outsourcing” a function that is a problem will become a bigger problem if given to a 3rd party simply because the issue gets layered with unnecessary structures and hierarchies. The key to overcome this issue if you are a dreamer is to dream a team that will be able to support all elements of the business but yet be incentivised like an owner and thus like in the yesteryears of the “Dot-Com” era and now of the social media generation, more industries have realised that skilled resources are more and more adept to entrepreneurial instincts and remuneration but in a “risk-maanged” environment. Though it sounds like an oxymoron, all it means is that a collection of skilled resources maybe sufficient to create an entrepreneurial team which as a unit will be effective in affecting an outcome or achieve a shared vision because they have complete control or visibility of what needs to be done in the chosen industry supply chain. That being the case, hiring for “C” class employees will become increasingly more challenging given that CEOs require an effective team to support the way they vision, strategies and execute and hence parachuting someone from outside may not necessarily bring the desired impact even if it looks good on paper. Whether hiring a winning team or building an entrepreneurial unit requires shareholders or board members that are open to new possibilities beyond the conventional approach. Let’s hope this will be the new mantra of corporate malaysia in years to come…

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