I want to combine my 4 years experience as a business entrepreneur in the human capital development space and project consulting with my knowledge in high quality management popularly known as ‘Lean Six Sigma’ to discuss one of the budding concepts that my mentor has been promoting lately- LeadPreneur

My direct mentor Taopheek Babayeju has been writing a lot recently on the concept of LEADPRENEURSHIP and I find this very exciting. This concept as spelt out combines an entrepreneurship with business leadership.

The challenge is how differentiate a business entrepreneur from a business leader. Coming into a unique business market with leadership to innovate and create a lasting system is what identifies you as a LeadPreneur. While an entrepreneur innovatively run a business, a Business Leader finds a new market space and dominates it.

May I say that a LeadPreneur is that person who identify a new market niche or new problem and innovatively creates a system that consistently addresses that challenge and yet maximizing profit.

While Social Impact is what distinguishes a social entrepreneur, a LeadPreneur is identified with Superlative leadership. Leading in a new space is demanding. May I share some 10 essential qualities of a LeadPreneur with you?

In few years, I engaged few business entrepreneur- great guys running great businesses but it’s really been tough identifying those who thrive as LeadPreneurs among them. What separates a LeadPreneur from the population of business entrepreneurs. The same is what separates a Project manager from Lean VI Sigma Champions. What do you look out for? In just one sentence, a LeadPreneur combines Innovation with Efficiency to optimize the potential of a new market space and opportunity.

So what are the 9 key characteristics I look for in my LeadPreneur?

Characteristic #1: A “Can Do” Attitude

Threatened by dreadness of a new market, a LeadPreneur is a worshiper of his board. In his room, you often see a board with a mesh work of his plans and most often people do not understand his obsessions. It’s tough to determine why he/she has decided to waste his time around this unattractive market space. For other entrepreneurs, there is something more appealing, for a LeadPreneur, there is no other way out. Just like every Six Sigma Champion who are often mistaken as worshippers of spreadsheets, a LeadPreneur is a servant of his vision. To some extent, this is true – after all, “In God, we trust. The rest need to bring idea”. However, an effective business leader needs to believe in what he does. They are self starters, motivated, have initiative and have a positive personality. In adverse situations – which, let’s face it, occur in most businesses – they are expected to be cheerleaders, push when the business is not moving; negotiate with investors and other stakeholders. A true LeadPreneur will lose sleep if the business project is in the red and do everything possible to bring it back to green status.

Characteristic #2: Change Leadership Skills

This is critical. Black Belts always relentlessly challenge status quo. This is one of the factors that separate a LeadPreneur from everyone. As a LeadPreneur about his quests and he will tell you how managed an exceptionally adverse project situation and turned it to the advantage of the business. That’s a litmus test.

Characteristic #3: Effective Communicator

Just like every excellent Black Belts, LeadPreneurs are always oral and written communicators, which are essential for the many roles they fill: trainers, coaches, and mentors. To become a LeadPreneurs , you should be able to speak intelligibly to all types of audiences, simplifying complex concepts so that it is easily understandable to anybody within the organisational hierarchy. That’s how businesses are grown in such horrific market and that’s how investments are sourced. Apart from that, good writing skills and effective presentation skills to stakeholders and other parts of the organisation are an absolute must. Communication needs to be tailored depending on who is in the audience. LeadPreneurs understand that and that is one reason you see them adapt to everything easily.

Most professional project manager recognise that and allocate sometimes up to 90% of time and bandwidth for communication related activities during projects.

Characteristic #4: Understanding of the Business

I can shout this so many times.. No one understands his business like a LeadPreneurs. The leadership in them makes them standout and they only do that excellently because they have deep knowledge of their spaces. It is important that LeadPreneurs understand business imperatives. Only then can they link projects with the strategic goals of the company.However, I must add a caveat to this – a truly effective LeadPreneurs will have diverse work experience as well. This will enable them to appreciate more than just one aspect of a process improvement

Characteristic #5: Technical Aptitude

The LeadPreneur is a master of his art. He is never lost in the complexities of his job and he often stays top when discussing with his technical crew. My mentor, Taopheek is a all rounder and when it comes to the technicals of his work you will be amazed to experience his vastness.

Characteristic #6: Team Player and Leader

A LeadPreneurs must possess the ability to lead, work with teams, be part of a team and understand team dynamics. In order to effectively lead a team, a LEADPRENEUR must be likeable, get along with people, have good influencing skills and motivate others.

Characteristic #8: Result Oriented

Leadpreneurs are expected to perform and produce tangible financial results for the business. They need to be smart and quickly gauge the low hanging fruits in the process and demonstrate quick wins to generate buy-in for the business. In today’s economic climate a good LeadPreneur is cost focused and must try to always maintain the positive cost benefit ratio for each project he undertakes. He needs to prioritise his opportunities ruthlessly and pick up only those projects which have a high impact: effort ratio.

Characteristic #9: Fun

LEADPRENEURS should enjoy their jobs if they are passionate about them. By having fun, you encourage others to do the same.

You can also share some with me.