Since 2000, famous billionaire investor John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has often discussed an important aspect of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.
In an interview reported by Knowledge@Wharton, Doerr described the five characteristics that distinguish truly great ventures.
- The greatest companies are led by missionaries, not mercenaries;
- They have top-notch, passionate leadership;
- They operate in large, rapidly growing and under-served markets;
- They have reasonable levels of financing; and most importantly,
- They work with a sense of urgency.
Burke Alder, VP of marketing for Lendio, emphasizes the following points in a missionary leadership:
- The concept of missionary leaders starts with the “why” of the organization.
- In a missionary culture, people matter. A missionary-focused company wants to make people’s lives better.
- Missionary leadership is about building a company based on solving a problem that needs to be solved—a problem big enough that you’re willing to focus on it for the very long term.
- Missionary leaderships focuses on collaboration. A missionary style company appreciates two-way feedback. Much of the company’s desire is to help people and to improve their lives. In a missionary culture you can make a mistake and still be okay.
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