On dispensability

There is one fundamental opposition between measures of success in bureaucratic and entrepreneurial organisations. It hinges around one key dimension: dispensability. The successful bureaucrat – whether in government or corporate organisations – is the one who, through networks, experience and knowledge, has become indispensable to the system, and therefore will thrive as long as the collective endures. The successful entrepreneur – by contrast – is the one who, through strategic clarity, systems development and effective delegation, can step out of the organisation, either towards early retirement, or another venture. Therefore, there is a built-in incentive for bureaucrats to guarantee the survival  ineffective project. While the word ‘founder’, like ancestor, shapes an identity that tends towards its own obsolescence.

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