Unlike most business books churned out by publishers these days, Army of Entrepreneurs: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth by Jennifer Prosek actually lives up to—and exceeds the expectations of—its title.
Prosek isn’t a household name in the business world, although Army of Entrepreneurs may soon change her status. Instead, she is the founder and CEO of CJP Communications, a mid-sized, independent communications consultancy headquartered in New York City. For this reason, I admittedly wrote off the book immediately upon receiving it. What could Prosek possibly teach us—business owners—what the greats haven’t already?
When Army of Entrepreneurs finally came up in my book review rotation, I read the inside flap first. “With your own Army of Entrepreneurs™, every employee becomes a powerful force for growth within the organisation,” it says. I immediately recognised Prosek was describing intrapreneurship—or internal entrepreneurship—a concept I have long supported and encouraged. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad read after all.
By the end of Chapter 1, “Creating a Commission for Life,” I was hooked.
Commission for Life™ is a reward system whereby any employee—from intern to CEO—who sets up a meeting that results in new business for the organisation receives five per cent of the revenue from the account for the life of the business, as long as the employee remains with the organisation. Although there are plenty of naysayers, as Prosek points out in an entire chapter devoted to their arguments, the system works.
“The Army of Entrepreneurs starts with a Commission for Life,” writes Prosek. “But there’s much more.” Indeed. The book goes on to offer a step-by-step guide to creating your own Army of Entrepreneurs within your organisation.
- Creating a Core Culture
- Thinking Entrepreneurially—Even If You’re a Big Company
- Teaching Your Employees the Business
- Training the Troops
- Recruiting and Retaining Talent
- Using Technology
- Measuring Success
- Officer Training
- Maintaining Momentum
- Managing Disaster
If the details provided throughout the book aren’t enough for you, Prosek ends each chapter with “Six Steps Forward,” a list of six actions you should take immediately after reading the chapter. The first “Step Forward” at the end of “Commission for Life” is “Make a list of your goals for the company—this year, two years out, five years out. Where do you want the company to be?”
Prosek ends the book with 10 questions you should ask yourself to find out whether or not your organisation is ready for an Army of Entrepreneurs, including “Do you have support for the cause?” and “Are you ready to give up control?”
All in all, I highly recommend Army of Entrepreneurs to every business owner and manager who wants to take their organisation to the next level. Prosek will definitely help get you there.
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