Dr. Theresa Welbourne, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration, was interviewed by the online business website StartupNation to get her take on starting a business, overcoming her biggest challenges and creating a productive work environment. Welbourne, a national research leader on the subject of harnessing energy in the workplace, owns her own startup company eePulse, Inc. and teaches management courses at CBA.
Welbourne explained that her business idea emerged from her academic research while she was teaching at Cornell University. There has been a complementary relationship between findings in her academic work and the practical results discovered in her business practice ever since.
“The goal was to commercialize work I was doing that demonstrated the determinants of fast growth and high performance in several large samples of initial public offerings (IPOs),” Welbourne said.
She explained studying thousands of firms and tracking them over time helped determine key growth factors across all companies.
“We had several interesting insights that led to creation of interventions that mirrored what successful firms were doing. The biggest insight was around creating a high sense of urgency culture that allowed employees to be at their best, innovate and help their companies grow,” she said.
It has now come full circle for Welbourne. She brought back what she learned in the corporate world to her current academic position. At UNL, she has helped implement an entrepreneurship specialization in management and has also revitalized the curriculum by tying classroom experiences to student-oriented entrepreneurial events.
The one constant for Welbourne in both her academic and corporate environments is optimizing human resource energy.
“Energy is one of the only human-capital leading indicators we have used, and as such, it gives leaders predictive metrics. They don’t get this with other metrics, such as turnover, employee engagement or employee satisfaction – they are primarily lagging indicators. Energy has to be collected frequently and trended. Employees need to own their energy at work, and leaders need to understand both the art and science of directing energy at work.”
To read the entire interview with Welbourne, visit the StartupNation website