Army of Entrepreneurs: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth


Advance Praise for Army of Entrepreneurs

“Jennifer Prosek offers an insightful guide for leaders in every type of business. She shares her perspective on employee engagement, motivation, and recognition in a way that is practical, relevant, and actionable.” — Michael Serino, Executive Director, Human Capital Development, Cornell University, ILR School

“A thoughtful book overflowing with actionable advice for entrepreneurs. In today’s rapidly changing economy, you must empower your employees to innovate in order ...

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Army of Entrepreneurs: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth

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Advance Praise for Army of Entrepreneurs

“Jennifer Prosek offers an insightful guide for leaders in every type of business. She shares her perspective on employee engagement, motivation, and recognition in a way that is practical, relevant, and actionable.” — Michael Serino, Executive Director, Human Capital Development, Cornell University, ILR School

“A thoughtful book overflowing with actionable advice for entrepreneurs. In today’s rapidly changing economy, you must empower your employees to innovate in order to achieve market leadership.” — Maria Pinelli, Americas Director, Strategic Growth Markets, Ernst & Young LLP

“An excellent, accessible, step-by-step guide to increasing staff teamwork, motivation, and results.” — Stuart Diamond, Practice Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Army of Entrepreneurs offers a plan for the smallest companies to punch big, and the biggest companies to harness the power of small. Read it and convert from an employee that adds value to an idea person who’s leading an enterprise.” — Tim Sanders, author of Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

“Prosek’s vision is matched by her insightful pragmatism and personal experience. She ignites the imagination and then lays out the pathway to achievement.” — Amir Ziv, Vice Dean, Professor of Accounting, Samberg Faculty Director, Columbia Business School

“Prosek provides a sensitive and insightful walk through her own experience as an entrepreneur who successfully engaged the hearts and minds of her employees.” — Leslie W. Braksick, Ph.D., cofounder of CLG, author of Unlock Behavior, Unleash Profits and Preparing CEOs for Success

“There has never been a more important time to unleash the talent residing in all organizations. Jennifer Prosek’s powerful story and examples will guide the way.” — Frank Brown, Dean, INSEAD

“Prosek has written a refreshingly clear, experience-based, and sensible guide to business creation.”— Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean, Yale School of Management

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Small-business owners will find much of value in public relations consultant Prosek's claim that employers should harness the energy and initiative of their workforce to drive new business rather than being strapped with sole responsibility. Prosek recounts how she successfully transformed her company into an environment that empowered, motivated, and rewarded employees to pitch business and pursue clients themselves. Using case studies from such companies as Edward Jones and Harley Davidson/Buell, she maintains that in both large and small businesses, employees can be empowered to become an "army of entrepreneurs." The theory, and even application, of employee-based growth is credible when applied to small businesses, but may be less feasible in larger organizations. While the opening chapters advance her argument by concentrating on the potential of employees as rainmakers and use her business as a template, she drops the thread in subsequent chapters, which drift to broad cultural and structural issues faced by larger companies, including how to create a formal training program and recruit and retain talent. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

"Jennifer Prosek not only takes a fresh look at business as usual, but gives the reader immediate tools to create a true partnership between employees and management." --Bay Area Business Magazine

“Prosek has extracted the essence of entrepreneurialism and turned it in to a management system for the new economy….It’s a must read for small businesses.” --New Age Retailer

Army of Entrepreneurs…lives up to—and exceeds the expectations—of its title.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814416730
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 2/2/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 886,992
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

JENNIFER PROSEK is the founder and CEO of CJP Communications, an award-winning international public relations and financial communications consultancy with offices in New York, Connecticut, and London. In 2009, Prosek was named an “Emerging Power Player” by PR Week magazine. CJP Communications was recognized as one of the “Top Places to Work in PR” by PR News in 2009 and named “Small Agency of the Year” in 2008 by The Holmes Report.

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Read an Excerpt


I was a few weeks into my maternity leave when I realized it:

My company was not going under.

That had been my recurring nightmare leading up to the birth of

my daughter, that the company I had joined when I was twenty-two

and co-owned by the time I was thirty would founder if I were not

there to run it—six or seven days a week, as was my habit.

But here I was, transitioning into motherhood, preparing for my

new role as a working mom, and my company was not only doing

fine, it was growing. Instead of stumbling, the firm was thriving.

This was not, I knew, a matter of luck, or even hard work. The

spurt of success at my firm CJP Communications was the direct result

of a strategy I had been percolating for years. Even before my

expectant-mother panic, I had been working on a new way to configure

my business, one that tapped the tremendous talent of the

seventy-plus people in my company and inspired them to rise up and

face the challenges of the day whether or not I was in the office to

see it. I had amassed, trained, and deployed an Army of

Entrepreneurs (AOE).

A what? I’ll explain.

An AOE is, in short, an internal force of committed employees. It

is a structure and a mindset that enables a business to grow beyond

you—the business’s founder, owner, or CEO. My goal has been to

empower every member of my staff to use his or her own resources

and initiative to help the business succeed. Each person develops an

‘‘owner’s mindset’’ and becomes a powerful force for growth within

the organization. An AOE is the concept that changed my company

and my life.

I’m writing this book to tell you that story because you can do

what I did. What I discovered was not just a way to run my own

business, but perhaps a way to run any business. This is more than

just a story of how I got through my maternity leave without losing

my shirt. It’s about how a business can survive challenging economic

times and come out the other end as an engaged, motivated, growing

company. Over ten years, I had been developing a strategy for a new

kind of management model. The birth of my daughter crystallized

the need for this—and also showed me that it really worked. I drew

on the elements that had been the bedrock of my own personal success

and that of my firm to come up with a plan. As I worked on it,

I realized how far-reaching the concept of an AOE could be.

Why This Book Now?

The timing for this strategy could not be more critical. As business

people, we face a tough financial landscape. The economy behaves in

ways we don’t always recognize. The truisms of previous generations

are not holding up. Companies ‘‘too big to fail’’ have failed, and

throughout the business world layoffs, losses, and dampened expec-

tations have become the norm. To say the environment is challenging

is an understatement.

I have been living through the same economic turbulence you

have, and I can attest to the fact that my business model didn’t just

grow my company, it saved it. CJP would be half its current size if it

were not for the new opportunities identified and secured in the

depths of our recent downturn, not by one person but by the major-

ity of our staff. It was everyone in the boat, pulling together at the

oars, that has enabled the survival of my enterprise.

Even in the teeth of the recession, mine was a firm that eked

out growth. Our Army is not only profitable and productive—our

company has grown from one office and about $2 million in 1995 to

three offices and $15 million today—its participants are happy and

fulfilled by their contribution. What’s more, through the worst of it,

we were named among the best companies to work for in our industry

by the Holmes Report’s annual PR Agency Report Card.

The Army of Entrepreneurs is more than just a process for my

own firm. It’s one that already works in other firms and can be applied

to a much wider array of corporate situations. If you are looking

for a growth engine, a source of innovation, and an insurance

policy against downturns and unexpected dips in the economy, this

is your book. If you are a manager and you want a way to make your

division or department or team more engaged and productive, I can

help. In these pages, I’ll show you how I did it, how you can do it,

and why this is the right time for you to make this move. Like many

of you, I’m not just interested in surviving. I’m in the game for the

big prize. You shouldn’t settle for anything less either, especially

when the tools for your success are already within the walls of your

company. They are your people. The trick is to transform them from

staff members to soldiers, from order takers to entrepreneurs.

What This Book Will Deliver

More than just education and inspiration, Army of Entrepreneurs is a

practical guide to how to begin and implement a program that delivers

tangible results quickly and consistently. Whether you are a small-

business owner looking to grow your company or you are running a

business unit and are looking to stimulate innovation, this book unveils

a time-tested model for success.

What you’ll get in these pages is:

• An easy-to-follow, replicable plan of action that can be instituted

quickly and inexpensively

• Anecdotes and case studies that illustrate the AOE model in

real-world situations

• Statistics, research, and commentary from experts in the business


And while my first goal is to increase your revenue and profit, I also

promise to increase psychic income—for you and for your entire

team. Nothing, and I underscore nothing, has brought me more per-

sonal pleasure at this point in my career than identifying, nurturing,

and watching the entrepreneurial spirit grow within my company—

especially among those who didn’t think it was possible.

Join me and prepare to march forward.

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Darren Hardy, SUCCESS magazine ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1


Chapter 1 Creating a Commission for Life 7

Chapter 2 Creating a Core Culture 18

Chapter 3 Thinking Entrepreneurially—Even If You’re a Big Company 31


Chapter 4 Teaching Your Employees the Business 47

Chapter 5 Training the Troops 62

Chapter 6 Recruiting and Retaining Talent 82

Chapter 7 Using Technology 98

Chapter 8 Measuring Success 113

Chapter 9 Officer Training 130

Chapter 10 Maintaining Momentum 144

Chapter 11 Managing Disaster 160


Chapter 12 Addressing the Naysayers 177

Appendix A: Ten Questions to Ponder 191

Appendix B: Additional Resources 193

Index 199

About the Author 209

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Army of Entrepreneurs

    You must constantly think of ways to improve your business and maximize your employees’ resourcefulness. Public relations and communications consultant Jennifer Prosek explains that competition now is too intense and market changes too rapid for organizations to become complacent. Wise employers cultivate an entrepreneurial mentality within their workforce while empowering employees to be daring and creative. While Prosek’s notion of an “Army of Entrepreneurs” isn’t groundbreaking, her belief that many organizations’ leaders lack vision reads true. Your success in making the transition from old beliefs to an entrepreneurial mind-set depends on whether your company proves too conventional to change or is willing to embrace new, exciting methods. getAbstract recommends Prosek’s guide to those considering shaking up their business’s old belief system to ensure long-term growth.

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