The best remedy for the world’s ills, the best antidote to combat intolerance or the clash of cultures, or to neutralize bad foreign policies, is to develop good managers, create new businesses, innovate and generate value and wealth at all levels of society. What the world needs now is good entrepreneurs, good managers, and good business leaders.
A few years ago a newspaper in Mexico City ran a story on the creation of a museum dedicated to business leaders in the country. This unique institution intended to house photographs, films, and other documentary material, along with interactive exhibits that will tell the story of Mexico’s most illustrious entrepreneurs, among them Carlos Slim Helú (one of the world’s richest men). The aim of the museum was to encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs by example; to show the best face of management, given that the business stories that appear in the media are often too negative.
Entrepreneurs have probably been the category of managers most neglected. Research into their function and economic impact as individuals is relatively recent. Joseph Schumpeter was probably the first economist to put entrepreneurs under the microscope. His theory of creative destruction highlighted the entrepreneur’s role in stimulating investment and innovation.
However, in today’s constantly changing business environment, the new heroes are the entrepreneurs – the people who create wealth for society, either by creating new companies or by rejuvenating big corporations and even public institutions. By their nature entrepreneurs tend to operate outside of the existing norms or rules. They are the creators of their own rules; they change society and cause new ways of organizing and structuring human activity. Consider Google –whose founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin were awarded an MBA Honoris Causa at my school as featured in the attached photograph. Wikipedia, or Linkedin, all of which were created by entrepreneurs are now truly shaping our society. Indeed, in the coming years, entrepreneurs will be the architects of the new social structures – and the engines of social progress. Furthermore, Carl Schramm, who heads debatably America’s top entrepreneurial think tank, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, had an insight into what causes an economy to grow: “The single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.”
Museums are the temples that society erects to celebrate the arts, the sciences, technology, or the knowledge of earlier cultures and civilizations. There are museums dedicated to just about every human or natural activity, yet until the Mexicans came along, there wasn’t one dedicated to business leaders. Neither are there any Nobel-style prizes for business leaders recognizing their work in creating wealth or running organizations. There may be prizes rewarding their philanthropy and commitment to the arts, but not for their contribution to business and management. How come? Should we assemble firms here in Linkedin to support the creation of a yearly Nobel Prize for the best CEO or best Entrepreneur?
I believe that would be just fair. Management can be one of the noblest professions in the world. It creates growth, wealth and development in society, provides jobs, fosters innovation and improves living conditions.