National Business Incubation Association; Your source for knowledge and networks in business incubation

Wanted: Awesome leaders to build awesome organizations

by Carol James

October 2002

It's never been more apparent that some corporate leaders aren't fulfilling certain responsibilities. Allegations of poor corporate accounting, embezzlement and insider trading – proven or not – have resulted in public rebuke of business in general.

"Some CEOs have behaved very badly," says Jana Matthews, president and CEO of Boulder Quantum Ventures. "I'm incredibly disappointed, and I feel sorry for the thousands of CEOs who are great leaders and have behaved ethically."

Matthews speaks not only as a CEO but also as an authority on entrepreneurial leadership and business growth. She is the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership's high-growth expert, and her own company helps entrepreneurs develop their companies' growth potential. Also a writer, Matthews most recently coauthored with Katherine Catlin Building the Awesome Organization: Six Essential Components That Drive Entrepreneurial Growth (Hungry Minds/Wiley Publishing Inc., 2002).

One component of building an awesome organization is awesome leadership, Matthews says. Becoming an outstanding CEO – and remaining so – is "all about how you lead, how you work with people, the examples that you set," she says. In their book, Matthews and Catlin assert that the key to outstanding leadership is fulfilling eight responsibilities that they have identified through years of work with entrepreneurs. Those responsibilities provide "a job description of what a CEO is supposed to be about," Matthews says.

Fulfilling the job description isn't easy, but it's essential to running a successful growth company. As you manage your incubator and work with clients, check out how well you – and your clients – perform each of the following eight responsibilities.

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Keywords: business financing, capital access, in-house loan and equity financing program, partnerships -- organizational/corporate

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