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Seminar emphasizes entrepreneurs can be anywhere

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 6, 2011 at 5:06 a.m.

Tony Woodlief discusses market-based management Thursday at a seminar hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria and Invista. Market-based management is a business philosophy that centers on the principles that allow free societies to prosper.

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To learn more about market-based management, visit http://www.mbminstitute.org or read "The Science of Success," by Charles G. Koch.

Entrepreneurs can be anywhere, from businesses to nonprofits to universities and more. It just takes focus and commitment to get people thinking along those lines.

That was the message Tony Woodlief, past president of the Market-Based Management Institute, relayed Thursday.

Woodlief spoke to about 45 people inside the University of Houston-Victoria Multi-Purpose Room during "Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Potential of Your Organization," a seminar co-hosted by Invista and UHV.

The daylong event was aimed at educating community, business and nonprofit leaders on market-based management, a concept Invista believes helped lead the company to its success, said Amy Hodges Invista's regional director of public affairs.

Market-based management is a philosophy that helps organizations succeed long term by applying vision, virtue and talents, knowledge process, decision rights and incentives, or the principles that allow free societies to prosper, according to "The Science of Success," by Charles G. Koch. Koch developed the philosophy.

Woodlief likened a company's vision to water running through a pipe. Although a small amount travels slowly, water picks up speed and momentum as more joins the mix.

"The clearer the vision, the more coherent it is, the more potential power it has because everyone is moving in the same direction," he said.

He encouraged those present to consider the pros and cons of detailed rules versus guiding principles.

Detailed rules allow for documented compliance, such as when employees sign off on cleaning a bathroom, and also lay out clear expectations and action steps, the crowd ventured. The more open guiding principles, however, show employees a level of trust, encourage creativity in problem solving and also give a sense of ownership for tasks at hand, it said.

Woodlief did not recommend one method over another, but urged leaders to be aware of the trade-offs.

UHV business professor Stephanie Solansky, who attended the Thursday event, said it was a good way to spend her day.

The underlying message was theoretical but useful, she said, and not just for business owners.

"I think these are valuable tools for everyone," she said.

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