Entrepreneurship is the ability to take initiative*
By Marco Yagüe**
There are many different aspects of an entrepreneurial project of which the variety of reasons for participating in this workshop give an insight: specifying the base, finding guidance in the mission, meeting like-minded people, renewing enthusiasm for the project and getting fueled to develop a strategy ... even vital and personal issues, the necessity of reflection and personal development.
Etymologically the word entrepreneur comes from Latin (prendere) and means adventurer. Time and circumstances have given different connotations to the word, based on trends and conditions of the adventure. In the Anglo-Saxon world the word entrepreneur refers more to an investor, putting emphasis on the financial risk, whereas in French it is related to a businessman making reference to the action and the risk of the undertaking. Today, however, the word is associated with results, the generation of profit, which is probably the least adventurous of all.
Let us look, therefore, at entrepreneurship as the ability to create or take initiative to carry out a transformative action. The driving force behind this kind of action has to be our uniqueness. At the same time it has to activate cooperative capabilities by being a joined project, causing a transformation in its existence, and show a coherent attitude between the personal values and the way it is carried out. Returning to the essence of the expression and eliminating anything superfluous, we define entrepreneurship as the ability to take initiative (being) to perform a transformative (enjoying) and personal (feeling) action (doing).
Obviously handing in notice, but continuing doing the same on an individual level, without any innovative contribution, only a new tax number, cannot be considered entrepreneurship. Talking about entrepreneurship when referring to freelance and making money, amounts to a mutilation of the true concept of an entrepreneur. Means and purpose get mixed up, and the true potential of entrepreneurship is forgotten. This approach does not take into account enhancing cyclical and structural factors of the social fabric that promote entrepreneurship. So, when we talk about entrepreneurship we refer to a personal project deriving from a situation of disagreement, that leads us to carry out a transformative action – to transform the situation, to transform ourselves - in order to achieve the desired situation. The gap between these two situations serves as the activator of the transformative action and originator of the project. As Hoffman says: "Entrepreneurs do not write a 100 page long business plan and execute it one time; they are always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn.” A business plan is a factor of no failure, but never of success.
If we want to adopt entrepreneurship as a natural way of living our life, we must identify and manage those values that enhance it, like trust, responsibility, error as a source of variability, sharing, commitment, leadership, cooperation, the you and us before I, enjoying, etc. Every entrepreneurial project is based on contacts, either to test the idea, to improve it, to find synergies and cooperate, help opening doors, etc. Therefore, it is essential to give great importance to team management and networking, but also to empathy, to be human ... The fact that entrepreneurship has been developed above all in self-reliance and not in a team is the direct consequence of the shortcomings of a social and business culture that is based more on fear and authority than on outcomes.
Entrepreneurship is not to be carried out in isolation. Today it emerges as a key element to get us out of the crisis and to lay the groundwork for a new way of life. A way of life that puts life quality before results, a way of life that is based on how you feel and not on how you are. It is necessary to replace provisions as GDP and CPI by others that account for the quality of life. Transform what you are doing by what you are contributing. It is better to speak of life quality than life expectancy.
Thus, entrepreneurship is associated with innovation, leadership and organization: three essential concepts to achieve best and sustainable outcomes. Entrepreneurship only results in innovation with the right kind of leadership, one that allows and encourages it, and organizations that adopt the new rules.
* Article elaborated with the method CO. Participants of the workshop Entrepreneurship, held at hèlix3c October 2011: Albert Jove, Christian Obregon, Martina Tichenor, Yolanda, Marco Yague and Monràs Pere.
** Marco Yagüe is 51, lives in Lleida, Catalonia, is married to Anna, and is Casteller (member of the human tower group). At the age of 21 he did research on snail farming. With 35, he managed a citric company. 2 years ago he initiated his transformation process, not wanting to remain the same.