BE 701—Assignment #6


Craft an essay of about five double-spaced pages explaining how to generate alignment behind an entrepreneurial value proposition within a firm (the firm’s mission or purpose). Your experience will inform your own ideas related to this topic, but, for obvious academic reasons, the assignment is to thoroughly ground your exposition in the themes and arguments presented in the readings. Here are some ideas and guidelines:
Ideas (Set Up):
• We have discussed two ideas: (1) the economic problem is a coordination problem (because of the knowledge problem) and (2) coordination within a business can be trickier than coordination in the open market because inside a business coordination must take place as the result of administrative systems rather than decentralized price systems.
• Collins and Porras argue that: “Building a visionary company requires 1% vision and 99% alignment.” Think of alignment and coordination as the same basic challenge.

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• A key element of “disciplined pluralism” is the notion of incentive alignment (in the context of authentic feedback loops). And, of course, a key element of performance is the discovery and remediation of hidden costs, which is often the result of entrepreneurial perspective that can come from any place within organizations.
The default essay question is to explain how and why the 3M story represents the operational idea of disciplined pluralism, as applied within an organization. However, you may prefer an alternative: past students have found value in applying the ideas and principles in the readings to their own experience. If that sounds interesting, I encourage you to apply the ideas to your current or former place(s) of business.

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Regardless of how you choose to approach your essay, make sure your exposition incorporates the following elements—and explains how they work together as a mutually-reinforcing set of forces:
• The yin and yang rubric used by Collins and Porras.
• The primary ideas expressed by Collins and Porras related to “Try Lots of Stuff and Keep What Works”—especially (a) the complementary notions of BHAGs and “purposeful evolution” and (b) the interlocking nature of the “tangible mechanisms” within 3M.
• The key ideas about core competence expressed by Goddard.
• The ideas about entrepreneurship within organizations expressed by King and Manne. (Pay more attention to Manne’s description of the challenge than his remedy related to insider trading.)
• The operational importance of “Architecture,” as expressed by John Kay, and how it complements the arguments made by the other authors.
Avoid merely summarizing the arguments in the readings. The challenge is to weave together the main arguments of each reading into a system for driving alignment. Use quotations from the readings to support your exposition.

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