"When you grow up and you have this sense that you have a duty in the world, you have responsibility, and you probably are very aware that you have a lot of ableness to do things. That agency, that personal understanding of who you are, gets coupled with that and now courage is born. But the real
key is this triangulation of knowing who you are and out of that your personal agency coming about, in regard to something that really matters. That's what gives [entrepreneurs] the courage and then you can't stop them," says author Carol Sanford. Sanford, author of The Responsible Entrepreneur,
informs executives and entrepreneurs about a special understanding in both the characteristics and practices needed to achieve dramatic, impactful change. In this interview with Soundview, she discusses the characteristics shared by entrepreneurs, the historical significance of the four archetypal
leadership roles, and the role of disciplined improvisation among entrepreneurial archetypes.
Soundview: What are some characteristics that are shared by entrepreneurs?
Carol Sanford:The most important [characteristic] is one that we all have. It's really untapped in us, which is, they're in touch with who they are. A part of what keeps people from exercising this entrepreneurial energy is they aren't clear about their essence, like the DNA of who
There's a second characteristic, which gets couple with that. You have to have both of them to take on an entrepreneurial spirit. That second characteristic is that you do what is called external considering.
Soundview: What is the historical significance of the four archetypal leadership roles?
Sanford: The roles in the book are drawn from very ancient archetypes. I have given them modern archival names, which also correlates with something else that I've noticed.
Many entrepreneurs and small business people do great work. They create a great business, it may be in a community, it may be in a region, but the people who bring about significant change, who actually shift quantum leaps of what something can do, work in a different nodal point, like a different
The first of those is they actually change industries. There are everyday ordinary people who actually begin to shift in industry. This group is the realization archetype because they work with reality. This can be displayed as a warrior of the ancient archetypes.
The second are something called Social Entrepreneurs. They are the ones who actually decide to change a social system. This archetype is actually drawn from the clown or the court jester. As you know, the court jester always made people see things they couldn't see, like changing the social system.
The third one looks at the cultural paradigms or belief systems that we create — from the history of our religious upbringing to our families to our own attachment to things. This level shakes lose the cultural paradigms that we are locked into that tend to exclude people and make them not
whole or not human. This is the reciprocity archetype, which is built off the hunter.
The fourth archetype works on changing the connection. We have founding agreements like the Constitution or even our marriage promises, and when we move away from that, we become unable to govern.
My fourth and final archetype for the entrepreneur at this level is called the regenerative entrepreneur. That means because they regenerate the spirit that goes with that founding agreement. The regenerative entrepreneur is based on the headwoman or headman archetype.
Soundview: Does disciplined improvisation occur between the four leadership archetypes?
Sanford: In fact, one person in some cases will play all of them and that is actually an improvisational process. You have to stay in the present moment.
Imagine when you've got a group of leaders in a room. You will see them beginning to pick up clues and start to build an idea that becomes bigger and they can build off of one another. They can build that kind of fluidity when they're willing to improvise, or improv. Improv brings the archetypes to
life either in one person, or a group of people in the room. Improv throws out the idea that everybody is tied down to a role.