Blog: Dave LeggettThomas Stallkamp

Dave Leggett | 11 December 2003

I must admit to being quite impressed by Chrysler's Stallkamp in the past. He speaks directly and clearly and has a bit of charisma. What's he up to now? I got this in an e-mail inviting me to review a book yesterday. It's a standard e-mail, but it says I can interview the publisher or the authors. If I did speak with Stallkamp it's fair to say I'd have some more interesting questions in mind than what is at the bottom of this MBA thesis-type gobbledegook. Apologies to all concerned if my initial take on the 'SEU' is overly cynical. It would help if the publisher's blurb was just a bit more descriptive about how the SEU actually operates.

"Now, Thomas K. Stallkamp, former Chrysler president and vice-chairman, has teamed with Joel M. Shulman, a leading researcher and professor of entrepreneurship, to develop a better mousetrap for nurturing growth from within big companies like U.S. car companies. Their new book, Getting Bigger By Growing Smaller, advocates extending corporate growth by setting up strategic entrepreneurial units (SEUs). The SEU model provides opportunities for entrepreneurs both internal and external to a big company to partner with it for their mutual gain and for long-term growth.

As the book explains, the SEU borrows the best of other attempts to drive internal entrepreneurship and from the venture capital model while solving the shortcomings of these approaches. In particular, the SEU overcomes problems with both compensation incentives that reward short-term actions and the focus of VCs, investment bankers and managers on short-term deal "harvests" at the expense of long-term strategic growth. The book cites Microsoft, Baxter, 3Com and others for successfully employing some or all of the techniques of an SEU"


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