What image comes to mind when you think of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders? In the age of globalisation, the age old question sneaks its way into conversation: are they born or are they bred? Many experts will voice opinion for and against each concept with the general consensus being that you need a bit of both in order to be an effective leader and establish yourself in a specific field.
So what makes successful business leaders and entrepreneurs in the modern era?
With the pressure to be the best in one’s field, the need and social expectation to attend a reputable business school takes pride of place. 15 years ago, the concept of grad school was developed in South Africa in a bid to cater for the changing social, political civil interaction within successive generations with the result that programmes such as the MBA has become pivotal to move up in the world and fundamental to success; this however needs to be considered in an atmosphere where a leader must apply psychosocial logic and key management concepts in order to become an effective business leader.
Lately, studies have been geared towards ethical teachings in order to effectively combat the high rate of corruption which can tend to undermine the growth of a field once it has hit its market ceiling; it has been found that people who have the characteristics of leaders within developing worlds have had a positive return on the investment of attending a grad school which in turn facilitates their natural ability to enter the market and sustain themselves within it and in turn help with the upliftment of their community as found with the case of Archbishop Tutu leadership fellowship programme. Business Schools then put a spin on the essential functional work experience required in order to manage a business. Such studies act as a starting block for young graduates who have no work experience to grasp the fundamental skills required in business today. For the older generation, grad school fortifies years of knowledge within a programme such as the MBA which emphasises up to date skills and implementation of logistic, management and ethical skills.
Many would argue that personality trumps what is taught within the halls of a business school, that passion and innovation are so intertwined with the leader that without it, this would spell disaster as there would be no spark to motivate the strive for success. I would argue that whilst innovation is the basis for leadership, the drive to put innovative ideas into action in an atmosphere where daily tasks and long terms goals are met with many bumps in the road would spur a leader on.
It is said that ships are safe in harbours, but that is not what they are meant for. Leaders often take risks and show a willingness to take risk, more often than not businesses fail or face great adversity due to the phenomenal growth in competition, Innovation is key here but the way in which you choose to face such adversity can often determine the outcome of long term success and legacy of one’s action. Many leaders take bold action, whilst others wait on calculated risk stemming from their natural inclination towards business, experience or taught skill and often a combination thereof. One’s natural ability to do well in business is not a determining factor of every business being a success, but rather how failure and the unexpected bumps mould you into handling the changing face of business effectively so as to obtain the optimal performance and results from everyone who partakes in your venture.
All in all, what makes a leader is not whether you are born or bred but rather how you apply yourself to your field of interest. Where your interest is peaked, would you not rather apply yourself to expand on the image which you have envisioned? Learning how to be a leader is invaluable in one’s business in order to be successful, to rise from the adversity faced on a daily basis and learn from failure, how to mould, package and market oneself and what one is selling. Growth from negative feedback can be a combination of strategic planning which is taught or natural traits such as resilience and forward thinking.
Thus, one cannot just study to be successful in business, but must also have the drive to want to be successful. And visa versa, just having the drive, without a defined base of understanding would leave you high and dry when “crunch-time” comes around.
Successful Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs are not simply born or bred, or even “spawned” from business colleges, they mould themselves utilizing the resources that they are presented with and grow into that role accordingly.