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How you scale an organization

I just returned from Black Rock City, NV, better known as Burning Man. Burning Man is an annual event where 70,000 artists, engineers, performers, and makers descend on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. In one week, they build and inhabit a city made of interactive art. Then they dismantle it and “leave no trace.” They take every bit of refuse home with them, leaving the desert the way they found it.

You know what’s even more amazing? It’s all done by volunteers. Think about that: 70,000 people, paying to attend the event, cooperatively pitching in to build and run a city. (Yes, it’s the size of a city. I once thought it was just called that. Nope. It’s a city.)

Burning Man started as a party with a dozen people on Baker Beach in 1986. As someone who loves growing organizations, it fascinates me. So many organizations struggle with growth. How did Burning Man scale from a beach party to an actual city?

Scale requires different people.

The people you need to run a small organization are different from the people you need to scale. In a small organization, everyone knows everything that’s happening. People can pitch in as needed. They may still have different jobs, but if the situation warrants, you might ask the accounts receivable person to handle a customer service from someone they know. You need generalists.

As the organization grows, jobs shrink. The original crowd at Burning Man handled all aspects of what was, then, basically a camping trip. Each person would be part of choosing where tents would go and how things would run. Generalists make the small event run. 

With a city-sized event, just laying out the street grid requires dozens of people. Each person will spend every day, all day planting flags at the corners of streets that will later guide the city construction. The best people for the job are those who enjoy focusing on this one task, and doing it superbly.

Scale requires uniform processes.

When you’re small, you can get away with everything being ad hoc. If Ozzie Obstacle (the most annoying of your 12-person party) is pitching their tent in the wrong place, you can yell over, “Hey, Oz! Move your tent ten feet to the right!” 

When tens of thousands of people are pitching their tents, you can’t just do everything by the seat of your pants. If you yell “To the right!” while someone yells “To the left!”, poor Oz’s head will explode. And at Burning Man, that could mean literally.

Getting large requires that people be able to coordinate at a distance. Doing the same things, the same way lets people coordinate when the ad hoc approach no longer works.

Scale requires explicit process.

It’s not enough for processes to be uniform. People have to know them, which means they need to be documented and communicated. Sometimes this is done informally, through mentorships or apprenticeships. But often, it’s done via classes, checklists, and explicit instruction. 

With 70,000 people constructing a city, the behind-the-scenes organizations (the Rangers, the Department of Public Works, camp Placement) not only have uniform processes, but they have extensive training and reference resources to teach those processes. They have classes, certifications of skill levels, Wikis, and gatherings to explore and deepen the shared understanding of what gets done and how.

When your organization is successful, you’ll reinvest for growth. But pay attention carefully to the changes that scale requires. You’ll need to change who you hire, how they do their jobs, and how they get trained. It changes the nature of the work, but if done right, you’ll be laying the foundation for great success.

Leading by Example: Walking Your Talk … Under a Magnifying Glass

Why don’t my people just do what I say?

It’s a common refrain among my executive clients. Life at the top would be so much easier, if only “they” would “get it.”

In fact, your employees probably _are _doing what you say. You just may be saying things you don’t intend. It’s often not your broad proclamations that give direction; it’s the little things you do that have the biggest impact.

Your actions encourage and discourage behavior

Remember when you were a front-line employee. Executives’ actions were relentlessly scrutinized. A late arrival, a smile, or a nod could introduce chaos. A CEO I worked with was looking over his marketing department’s latest campaign. He frowned at a storyboard before strolling away.

Unknown to him, the team saw the frown, scrapped the campaign, and spent the weekend reworking everything from the ground up. When he found out, he was flabbergasted. He never thought a simple frown would change the team’s direction.

Your reactions to employees and their work will send signals. Remember this! If you notice yourself frowning or smiling, nodding or shaking your head when it may send the wrong message, stop. Think about the message you may have sent, and say or do whatever it takes to make sure your audience knows your intent.

Watch your words, too. A joke may not be a joke. A consulting firm’s Managing Director smiled and quipped “Remember, if you’re not here Sunday, don’t bother coming in Monday.” He was smiling. Everyone knew he was joking. And as one team member later told me, “I felt like I had to come in Sunday. Sure, he was joking. But he’s the Managing Director. Maybe it’s not 100% a joke.”

You lead by demonstration

Of course, the Managing Director was there Sunday, thus insuring everyone would know weekend appearances are mandatory. Your actions will, by demonstration, always be the most significant way you communicate standards of behavior and priorities to your company. The Managing Director cared deeply that his people have an outside life, and said so on many occasions. But his coming in on weekends spoke louder than his words in signaling acceptable behavior.

What you don’t do also matters

What you don’t say out loud, the actions you don’t acknowledge, and the signs you don’t show send powerful messages, as well. The messages sent by omission are harder to detect. After all, there‘s nothing there to examine! But there are things your employees might expect that aren’t forthcoming.

If you don’t acknowledge people, it can send a message that you don’t value their contribution. Different people need different acknowledgment. For some, it’s public recognition. For others, it may simply be mentioning “Hey, you did a really great job.”

If you don’t give feedback when someone does a poor job, you send the message that their performance is fine. If someone is screwing up, they deserve to know as early as possible. Otherwise, they’ll walk away with a message that does neither of you any good.

Common courtesy is increasingly rare, and its absence communicates a subtle lack of respect or lack of individual concern. A simple “Please,” or “Thank you” with a smile and direct eye contact takes only a couple of seconds. If you don’t have time even for that, then people will (rightly!) conclude they aren’t important enough to warrant your attention.

Making decisions in isolation quickly lets people know you don’t trust them. I have worked with companies in which the senior managers are very open with their big decisions, and other companies in which “we can’t tell them that” is a common refrain. As far as I can tell, involvement signals faith that your employees have something of value to contribute. When that involvement is missing, the message of distrust is loud and clear.

Not sharing bad news sends the message that everything is fine. It’s easy to keep bad news quiet, for fear of hurting morale. But framing bad news as a reason to rally builds a team instead of breaking it down. Shared challenge is the stuff of bonding. Use it!

A Great Business Leader Knows His Impact

Matsushita, one of history’s most successful businessmen, knew the impact he had on everyone around him. As this story shows1, he even appreciated the messages conveyed by what he didn’t do.

The father of $75 billion empire, Matsushita was revered in Japan with nearly as much respect and reverence as was the Emperor. And he was just as busy.

One day, Matsushita was to eat lunch with his executives at a local Osaka restaurant (Matsushita Leadership by John Kotter). Upon his entrance, people stopped to bow and acknowledge this great man. Matsushita honored the welcome and sat at a table selected by the manager.

Matsushita ate only half of his meal. He asked for the chef, who appeared in an instant, shaken and upset. The Great One nodded and spoke: “I felt that if you saw I had only eaten half of my meal, you would think I did not like the food or its preparation. Nothing could be less true. The food and your preparation of it were excellent. I am just old and can not eat as much as I used to. I wanted you to know that and to thank you personally.”

Concrete next steps

If you find yourself under the magnifying glass, here are ways of mastering the situation.

  1. Don’t get caught off guard. Schedule five minutes at the end of the day to review your day, note who you came in contact with, and simply ask yourself what messages you sent.

  2. Use the magnifying glass deliberately. At the start of the week, choose a message you want to communicate by example. Spend a moment or two identifying exactly where you can send the message, and how you have to behave to send it. Then do it.

  3. Check for messages of omission. During your daily review, ask yourself who you didn’t contact, but who might have expected it (you may not know who at first, but over time, you’ll learn). What message does the lack of contact send? What message will rumors of what you did do send to those who didn’t see/talk to you?

  4. Review company systems. To make sure you’re sending the same message as your company, review the systems once a year or so. Review your compensation plan: what does it communicate about company goals? What behavior does it encourage? Discourage? Review your decision making and feedback processes. Ask yourself if you’re omitting anyone or anything in those areas.

Communicate well!

  1. Matsushita story excerpted from Dr. Mark S. Albion’s Making-a-Life, Making-a-Living ML2 E-Newsletter #56. Free subscriptions and information on his New York Times Best Selling new book can be found at http://www.makingalife.com. ↩

How everyone can use powerful coaching questions, with Michael Bungay Stanier

How everyone can use powerful coaching questions, with Michael Bungay Stanier

“Strategic Thinking” – The Meaning Behind the Buzzword

It sounds easy: my client wanted to think more strategically. isn’t that the hot buzzword? “Strategic thinking.” Oooh! Sexy. There’s only one problem: what, exactly, does it mean?

You’d think we would know. But I’ve seen executive teams discuss in all seriousness what the lever does on a piece of machinery. That’s about as non-strategic as it gets. In fact, a general rule is that if you read it in a manual, it’s quite likely not strategic.

What is strategic is when you’re doing something that changes the structure of the business in some basic way. Paint a machine lever red? Not strategic. Decide to outsource manufacturing to China? Strategic, because it changes who you hire, how you manage them, and what they’re capable of achieving. You punt your machines and take on eager young managers who speak Mandarin.

This is the first kind of strategic impact: changing organization structure. This includes outsourcing, selecting vendors (since what you can do now becomes expanded and limited by what they can do), mergers and acquisitions, changing the org chart, going public, and hiring and firing people who will in turn make strategic decisions.

Or consider an entrepreneurial client who insists on answering the phones himself. He’s done it since founding the business 20 years ago and prides himself on knowing everything that’s going on. But now that the company gets a hundred phone calls a day, he decides to install an automated attendant, freeing himself to do other things. This is an example of “business process reengineering,” which is a fancy way of saying “doing things differently.” Changing how a business does something is strategic because different hows give the business different capabilities. If your product is produced on a machine that turns out 100 widgets a day, then you simply can’t bid on a job that wants 500 units by tomorrow. If you can rearrange your factory processes and produce 5,000 units a day, whole new markets open up.

Speaking of markets, choosing the markets to compete in, what to sell, and how to price are all strategic decisions. After all, those decisions determine who you’ll hire, how you set up your org structure, and how you’ll deliver your product or service.

The American Express web site lists 20+ cards. I called a friend in Amex’s strategy group to help me understand the difference between the “Platinum Business” and the “Business Platinum” cards. He said, “I work in strategy. I don’t really know our product lines.” A strategy group that doesn’t know the products? I don’t know what they do, but it seems awfully dangerous to be making organization structure and process decisions without even knowing what your customers are buying.

Everything we’ve discussed so far is cross-functional; they can involve changes that affect many parts of a business. Though it’s possible to make strategic decisions in one area of a company without involving other areas, that’s a dangerous game. If our marketing department starts competing in a new market that cares about delivery time, but doesn’t tell our shipping folks, they can set the company up for failure.

Don’t make the same mistake. Learn when your decisions are strategic.
That means decisions about org structure, process–the HOW–, cross-functional decisions, and the marketing decisions of what to sell and who to sell them to.

If you want to learn more about strategy, my very favorite book is Co-opetition by Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff. I also liked Geoff Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm.” Both books are circa mid-90s. There are 83,416 other business books that will teach you some kind of strategic thinking. I’m not sure the specific strategic approach is very important (though consulting firms will make big bucks telling you otherwise); to me, the value comes from learning to think at a strategic level consistently and integrate strategic thinking into your daily running of the business.

The Key Business Concepts Missing From The National Debt Debate

In business, if you decide to do a project you scope out the project. You estimate what it will cost, over what time frame it will produce results, and so on. Then you decide how to finance it. There are many, many possibilities: you might finance it by paying for it directly. That’s equity investment. You might borrow to pay for it, which is debt financing. You could also finance it in other ways by having suppliers or customers carry part of the cost. Which option is best depends on many factors, including prevailing interest rates, payback periods, and so on.

It’s easy to get people to have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of lower taxes, however. So for political reasons, virtually the entire debate has focused on “do we finance our government with taxes (the equivalent of equity) or debt?” That’s been turned into rallying cries about taxes that candidates use to drive elections.

If we were making good decisions, the national debate would be about how we want to spend our money. In 2011, the only large discretionary category is defense at $722 billion(*). If we include mandatory spending, the other large categories are social security, Medicare, unemployment assistance, and health care.

Once we’ve made that decision, we would decide whether it makes sense to fund those measures with equity or with debt. The consequences of debt default would, of course, be included in the financing discussion.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seems much inclined to cut spending. They cut specific items that they’re ideologically opposed to, but they don’t touch the big items listed above. And not even candidates who claim to advocate small government propose slashing the only large discretionary item in the budget, our $722 billion defense budget.

What worries me most, structurally, about debt is that debt has to be repaid with interest. An ever-increasing percentage of our national budget is going to pay interest on debts incurred decades ago, whose benefits have long been played out. If we continue funding things with debt, we’ll be piling up interest payments that could eventually wreck us.

Why do people not like high taxes? Because it brings into stark reality the fact that policy choices have real monetary consequences that we must pay for collectively. We like our highways, and our Medicare, and our defense department. But we don’t like to face up to the cost of those things.

Debt allows us to defer taking responsibility. High taxes forces us to take responsibility immediately. That’s why I favor tax hikes. For the ultra-rich? Certainly; they use far more of our infrastructure than the average person uses (e.g. airports, the justice department, the banking system, etc.), and it’s only fair that they pay their fair share of the common resources they’re using. But for all of us. Taxes force us to make smart choices now, rather than giving us the false luxury of waiting for emergency to push us into harried stupid choices.

And above all, I believe in paying $10 for a $10 expense. When we finance with taxes, that’s what we do. When we finance with debt, we pay $11 or $12, or $20, or $50 for that $10 expense. And I don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal, that’s just plain dumb.

(*) You can see the budget numbers here. Try clicking “hide mandatory spending”: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html

Business has a lot to learn from theater people

We wrapped up Evil Dead: The Musical this weekend. I am sad. I miss rehearsal every night. I miss singing and dancing. I miss wondering if that is water in the makeup, or whether Zach’s drool was a bit too enthusiastic. Part of why I decided to start acting was the suspicion that it would be good for me socially and emotionally. I couldn’t have been more right.

The amazing thing about the experience was how quickly we created a feeling of community, shared goals, and closeness. We were all working together on a project much larger than any of us could possibly have done alone. Most people on the project were under 25 (and many were still in college). No one had any formal training in teamwork or group dynamics. No one was using models from Leadership 101, or Good to Great, or … or, frankly, any of the 80,000 business titles that purport to teach people to work together.

And yet, the production demonstrated teamwork that most businesses would kill to have. How could a student theater group on a shoestring budget with no  education or background in training or group process pull this off? It really gives me pause.

Perhaps good teamwork isn’t a matter of training. Perhaps there’s something structural that can produce teamwork, simply by its very nature.

I’m intrigued, and I don’t know the answer. What makes the teamwork “just happen” when flesh-eating zombies are involved, when it takes pushing, shoving, pulling, tearing, and training to do the same thing when soul-eating corporations are involved? What do you think?

What Acting Teaches About Building Reputation

My first acting experience has given me a profound appreciation for how we build reputation (or “personal brand,” to use the 21st century parlance). I just finished my first weekend as part of the ensemble for Evil Dead: The Musical. I play a dancing tree, a headless corpse, a ghost, and a singing zombie. As you can imagine, I draw on significant real-life experience in bringing each of my characters to life (though technically, only the tree is living).

What’s made a huge impression is realizing how little the audience evers see of the actors. When I watch movies, plays, or TV, I leave with a feeling of connection with the characters, and by extension, the actors. While I intellectually know it’s nonsense, being in the play really drives the point home. What the actors bring to the experience is the authenticity of their emotions and emotional choices, but everything that knits those choices into a story—the dialog, the plot, the lights, the band, the sets—is staged and as close to identical as possible night after night. Almost none of it comes from the actors.

Shakespeare was Right—All the World’s a Stage

Then I realized that much of how we show up in the world is the same. No one we interact with gets the experience of us. They get the sum of their glimpses into us. But we expect them to behave as if they know us and our intentions.

Our reputation with any given person is the sum of the glimpses that person has had of us. If we had to reschedule a meeting twice with a prospect due to genuine emergencies, their experience of us is that we don’t make it to meetings on time. If we show up to a meeting with disheveled hair and bloodshot eyes, that’s the impression they have of us. Never mind that we were in a car accident the previous day and are still a bit vague from the drugs… they build an impression anyway.

This works for “good” reputations, too. Every time you put on a suit and go out to a business event where you nod, smile, and talk about the things that are “acceptable” in that context, you’re presenting a small slice of yourself. Never mind that you play in a rock band on weekends and have a complete reproduction of the Mona Lisa tattooed underneath that dress shirt… people at work build your reputation from the little building blocks you give them, that were carefully scripted by the current business culture.

The Scripts We Choose Determine the Impressions We Give

People only experience you through the glimpses you give them. What do you show the people around you? Do you let your idea of “expected” behavior be your script? When I was bitten by the theater bug last year, I mentioned it to my friend of 10 years, Steve. Steve’s a sales manager. After our conversation, he revealed he’s a sales manager whose degrees are in stage managing and directing. He directs 4-8 shows a year. He’d mentioned he did high school drama once or twice, but I figured he did it as a volunteer parent. He’d never shown me anything that suggested it was such a big part of his life. He was acting the script of the good, conservative businessman.

My friend Paul is at every networking event in Boston, handing out his card, flitting from person to person. Is it any surprise people know him as a major networker. Yet all he ever talks about is business, so his reputation is purely professional. People don’t feel like they know him, but they do know to call him when they need an introduction. He’s a whole person, but he’s living the high-powered, type-A networker script.

My script is a bit less mainstream. I talk about Evil Dead: The Musical and zombies. I write and produce a funny podcast on personal productivity, and do my best to find excuses to dress in jeans and T-shirts and wear colorful sneakers. That’s one glimpse into me. I also write about leadership, business strategy, entrepreneurship, and psychology. That’s another glimpse. Depending on where you get exposed to me, you’ll walk away with profoundly different impressions. People who love one of those characters may or may not relate to the other. Yet they’re both me.

Who Writes Your Script?

How do you show up? Be careful with your answer. Don’t consider how you want to show up, consider how you actually do show up: your appearance, the things you talk about, how you treat people. Are you brusque? Courteous? Fawning? Assertive? Tentative? Caring? Guarded? Open? Friendly? If you say things like, “people will just have to learn to deal with the fact that I don’t mince words,” have you ever really thought how you’re coming across when you don’t mince words? Have you considered the reputation that builds? Is it the reputation you want. The way you build reputation is by showing up more and more as the reputation you want to build. All the world’s a stage, we’re just actors, and you can let everyone around you write your script, or you can write your own. Your choice.

Stever in Corporate Mode

Richard St. John’s TED Talk on Success. Is it nothing but delusion?

I was just watching a TED talk by Richard St. John on the 8 Rules of Success. Richard interviewed 500 TED attendees to distill down eight principles. His recommendations are depressingly trite: have passion, work hard, yada, yada, yada. You can see the talk here: http://bit.ly/6VxMaC

REVISION: October 25, 2012: I may have found the recommendations trite, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t true and rigorous. I wrote this article originally making several incorrect assumptions about Richard’s methodology. My bad. My very, very bad. I inappropriately dinged him on research methodology when I, myself, wasn’t doing my own homework vis-a-vis verifying that my points were correct.

Richard writes: Hey Stever – Just so you know, I did also interview unsuccessful people and homeless people as a control group and they DIDN’T follow any of the 8 Traits that are necessary for success. They didn’t love what they do, they didn’t work hard, etc. As for the Halo Effect, many of the most successful people couldn’t articulate why they were successful. They’d say “I don’t know.” So I’d look for examples of what they’d actually “done.” I’d ask, “How often do you take vacations?” A lot would say “I don’t take vacations.” I’d ask, “Why not?” They’d say, “I’d rather work.” I’d ask, “Why?” They’d say, “I like it” or “It’s fun.” So it wasn’t like they automatically blurted out the 8 Success Traits. I had to find them through examples. And by the way, I’m not saying everyone has to be a big success. I’m just saying is if you want to succeed at something this is how you’ll get there.
Richard St. John

What follows is the bulk of my original article. I’ve edited it to remove specific examples to Richard’s situation, since it does not apply to his work. It does, however, apply to a lot of what passes for “how to succeed” literature, so the points are still useful to keep in mind.

It’s not his fault his results are trite, however. As discussed at great length in The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig, when you interview someone after-the-fact about why something was successful or a failure, you always get the same answers.

That means, sadly, that such answers are meaningless. If you ask someone who’s a known success how they got that way, they’ll say it was vision, passion, hard work, etc. If you ask their friends, the friends will say vision, passion, hard work, etc. If you ask someone who’s a failure how they got that way, you’ll also get the same stories over and over. Humans seem to have built-in explanations for such things.

Most success talks miss the point by not interviewing people who had vision, passion, and worked hard, and failed. Why? Because most success studies start by identifying successful people who have already achieved success and interview them. It may be that for every 100 people who have vision, passion, and work hard, 99 of them end up burned out, divorced, and miserable, and only one goes on to be successful. But if you select only the successful ones to interview, it’s easy to conclude that those traits correlate with success.

A simpler example: every successful person in the world drank either mother’s milk or formula as a baby. Does that mean that drinking mother’s milk or formula leads to success? Not at all. It just means that pretty much everyone drinks those things as babies.

I know some very rich finance people. Their vision? Nil. Really Nil. Like, no imagination whatsoever. Their passion? To show off and impress the neighbors. Their hard work? Signing checks. It’s tough if it’s not special 24-bond paper made for smooth writing. And then all that waiting and waiting! Years of playing golf, waiting while thousands of people work their butts off so the providers of capital can walk off with the profits (that’s what “capitalism” means–providers of capital get the rewards). In short, I know many example of people who don’t have all those nice, feel-good attributes, and are even more successful than many who do.

Since Richard St. John is giving his talks to high school students, he is in the perfect position to do a real experiment to find out what leads to success. Have half of the students he talks to do the things he recommends. Have them work hard, have vision, and so on. The other half? Have them slack off and meander through life. In twenty year’s we’ll be able to see whether or not there’s a real correlation between his recommendations and subsequent success.

Can a corporation be “entrepreneurial?”

A friend of mine posted a Facebook entry saying his 30,000+ person company is encouraging people to be entrepreneurial. I replied with a remark that I couldn’t imagine a less likely place to find entrepreneurial behavior.

Much to my surprise, he was surprised that I was surprised. But that’s not surprising. It turns out that at his consulting company, they are encouraged to come up with ideas for new products and find new customers. That fits his definition of “entrepreneurial.”

It didn’t fit mine, and I took this as an opportunity to try to define why I had my reaction. Here’s my thinking about what constitutes “entrepreneurial.” Please chime in.

I think we have different definitions of “entrepreneurial.” I hear a lot of corporations use the word “entrepreneurial” as a synonym for “we’re letting you think for yourself and propose creative solutions.” While I applaud that impulse, in my mind, it should be a standard mode of engagement in business and not considered anything to be given a special name.

For me, what you’ve described is being given license to propose new product lines. It fits my definition of “new business development,” and it may or may not be entrepreneurial.

In my definition of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs (a) are free to change their business offerings, (b) have control over their business model, (c) must raise their own resources and enjoy a corresponding participation in the upside, (d) create an organization, organization structure, and its attendant policies and procedures.

Furthermore, often, entrepreneurs operate in unknowable or cutting-edge spaces. They are introducing new products without the knowledge of whether markets exist.

In essence, an entrepreneur’s product is an organization and business model.

If you can go out to Staples and propose a joint venture where you provide flat-rate actuarial consulting to any insurance company that buys more than $1000 worth of office supplies, with you (personally) pocketing 10% of the revenues, that would be entrepreneurial, in my mind.

If you had the ability to acquire smaller consultancies and attempt a “roll-up,” (without needing corporate approval) that would be entrepreneurial.

If you were to discover that restaurant consulting were more lucrative than actuarial consulting and decide to reposition your job to target restaurants based on your theories/dreams/data about the business model, that would be entrepreneurial.

If your business model is limited (e.g. hourly charging with X% overhead charged back to the parent company), if your ability to raise funds and build an organization is limited (e.g. hiring six people with completely different policies, procedures, dress codes, health plan, etc.), and if your upside is limited (e.g. you can’t create a multinational division and then take home the bulk of the profit as your own bonus), then I would consider you to be in a creative business development capacity, but not entrepreneurial.

Similarly, some people consider franchise owners as entrepreneurial. While they take a risk and share in the upside, I would call them “small business people” and not “entrepreneurs.” They generally don’t have control over their processes, capital structure, organizational structure, or brand/marketing/etc. so while they certainly do start a business with their own funds, they’re sufficiently constrained that they’re essentially employees who shoulder the risk and receive a bonus based on profits.

I don’t think there’s any one agreed-upon definition of entrepreneurship, but in the entrepreneurship circles where I travel, resource scarcity and control over structure, process, and business model are key elements separating entrepreneurial environments from corporate environments.