Murray Low on Business Leadership
Professor Low is an experienced entrepreneur and a leading authority on entrepreneurship in independent, corporate and not-for-profit settings. Starting businesses in several industries led him to study how the entrepreneurial process differs by context. His current research examines the dynamics of entrepreneurial careers. As the founder of the Columbia Entrepreneurship Program, he has worked to make entrepreneurship a viable career option for MBA graduates. Low consults to both small and large companies, family businesses and not-for-profits. He teaches executive seminars in the areas of entrepreneurship and strategic management and makes frequent presentations to academic and industry groups. He has published widely in academic and practitioner journals and is a regular commentator in the media.
Murray Low: Great business leadership, I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not that hard to make a lot of money. And I would like to think that all successful entrepreneurs are successful because they are upstanding citizens, and they are highly ethical. But I have too many data points to suggest that that’s the case. To me, when I think about great leaders, I think about people who inspire others to do good things. And one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about entrepreneurship is that the entrepreneur isn’t just creating a business. They’re creating an organization, and an organization has a personality, just like a person does. And that personality can be sort of innovative and creative and open and ethical, or it can be mean and nasty and the wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that you can create an organization, you can create a culture. And by creating a culture, you change the way people live, and you can provide an opportunity for people to pursue their kind of hopes and dreams. And I guess my passion for entrepreneurship comes from the belief that there are many ways to influence social change. But one of the most powerful is to create a successful organization; a successful organization that delivers to customers what they want; that delivers financial returns to investors; that provides a work environment where people want to show up in the morning; and an organization that caters to sort of an evolving world in a proactive way. And in the last 10 years, specifically in the last 10 years, even the last five years, we’ve seen this whole emergence of this group of social entrepreneurs, who are using the principles of entrepreneurship to achieve some kind of broader social mission. And it might be trying to develop a financially self-sustaining model for basically a not-for-profit, or it might be a mission driven for-profit business. And if I think about sort of what’s happened in the field of entrepreneurship in the last 10 years that is really exciting, it’s the coming of age of this idea that making money and doing well for yourself financially is in no way at polar ends to actually providing a good, quality service; being a good citizen; and creating a great place for people to work. And that entrepreneurs-- and some of our greatest entrepreneurs, are really change agents, and entrepreneurs are now embracing that as a world view, and I think it’s just fabulous.
It's about motivating others, says Low.
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