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Commercial spirit

How can you create the commercial spirit that will help airports to recover the ground lost during the pandemic?

In our work with organisations and organisation culture we have met and worked with many successful entrepreneurs. Most have run their own companies, but a few have been successful inside corporations.

Whatever the setting, they have all had characteristics in common that make them entrepreneurial and distinguished them out from the mainstream.

What can be learnt from them? What are their qualities, and can they be cultivated?

Take the Irish entrepreneur, Liam Young, as an example. He was working in a major telecommunications firm and spotted a business gap in service. The organisation was not interested in his idea, so he left, found a backer and a business partner, and ended up creating a major directory enquiry service in Ireland and in Europe.

He eventually sold this enterprise making over €40 million. And he did not stop there. He went on to become a ‘serial entrepreneur’ investing in start-ups, taking more enterprises to success.

  • Entrepreneurs like Liam demonstrate the ability to both spot business opportunities and act on them. The second part of this is critical. Many people have good ideas but do not have the courage or the tenacity to turn them into reality. Consequently, their ideas never get off the starting blocks. Having the will to succeed, being resilient in the face of obstacles and possessing self-belief and self-efficacy are key parts of the mindset that differentiate the successful entrepreneur.
  • They also demonstrate the ability to be persuasive communicators. Entrepreneurs have the capacity to bring others along with their ideas, including investors. They can create a compelling vision for the future and motivate people to follow them
  • They tend to set their own goals, are driven to succeed and are open to learning and feedback from others. They are prepared to try things out and are not afraid of failure.

The British inventor and entrepreneur James Dyson, for example, has used learning from experience as a key part of his business model. Speaking about the development of his vacuum cleaner, he says: “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right, but I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So, I don’t mind failure.”

It is easy to see how established organisations might benefit from this innovative perspective, but how easy is it for them to hold on to people with an entrepreneurial mindset?

It’s difficult but not impossible. All entrepreneurs we have met have a drive to be self-reliant. They prefer to think independently and like to feel in control of their own destiny. Consequently, many do not really like working for someone else and do not stay in corporations.

But there are others who can enjoy working within an established organisation for a broader purpose, with a ready network of skilled colleagues and access to resources.

Organisations that value challenge, encourage diversity of thinking, allow for experimentation and failure and are not bureaucratic are more likely to foster entrepreneurship and keep such individuals. Some organisations create hubs of enterprise allowing ideas to flourish, bringing ideas from the edge into the mainstream and fostering innovation.

Arrivals and Departures

The search is on for a new CEO for Berlin Brandenburg Airport after the supervisory board of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB) reluctantly accepted Engelbert Lütke Daldrup’s request to terminate his employment in September 2021. Lütke Daldrup is leaving because he says that he has fulfilled his role of overseeing the opening of Germany’s new €6 billion gateway. Chairman of the supervisory board, Rainer Bretschneider, stated: “Engelbert Lütke Daldrup took on great responsibility at a very difficult time for FBB and has lived up to the hopes and expectations placed in him. The fact that BER went into operation was largely because of his work. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.”

IATA has a new director general after former IAG CEO, Willie Walsh, officially succeeded the outgoing Alexandre de Juniac in the role on April 1, 2021. Walsh said: “I am passionate about our industry and about the critical work that IATA does on behalf of its members, never more so than during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Stephen Thompson is the new airport manager of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (TYR) in Tyler, Texas, USA. He moves from Denver International Airport where he served as its manager for airport safety.

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