Leaders generally regard talent as vital to the organisation’s survival and progress. Every organisation today benefits from a steady stream of fresh thinking and original ideas to drive innovation. An entrepreneurial mindset brings this much-needed creative thinking to organisations.
People who behave like entrepreneurs while working inside an organisation are called INTRAPRENEURS. As we enter the Age of the INTRAPRENEUR I believe the smart forward-thinking organisations will do much more to actively find and nurture their intrapreneurs-in-waiting.
INTRAPRENEURIAL PROBLEM SOLVING
Oft quoted wisdom from Einstein is “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Similarly, William Pollard warns, “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” Or as Marshall Goldsmith might put it, “What got us here, won’t get us there.” All these great thinkers are telling us that if we want to be successful into the future, no matter how successful we have been in the past, we have to change and evolve our thinking and doing. There is an imperative for organisations today to think about the problems that are facing them using different perspectives and also to solve those problems in different ways for better outcomes. Intrapreneurs bring these new perspectives and new ways of problem-solving to their work.
WHY NURTURE YOUR INTRAPRENEURS?
Forbes Magazine reported on research conducted by Brigham Young University’s Entrepreneurship Centre and the Ballard Centre suggesting that instead of trying to engage disengaged workers, organisations should focus more on moving the already engaged 30% of workers to the higher tier of Intrapreneurship. In the article Beyond Employee Engagement – Why One Intrapreneur is worth a Hundred ‘Engaged’ Employees, it is argued that “upgrading even one person from engaged to intrapreneur can create more value than migrating a larger number of disengaged people to the engaged group.” This is because interpreneurs are aware of the strategic, bigger picture and act like leaders through cost-reducing and revenue raising initiatives, and igniting innovation, even if they are not in official leadership positions. To quote management guru Gary Hamel, “In most companies the formal hierarchy is a matter of public record – it’s easy to discover who’s in charge of what. By contrast natural leaders don’t appear on any organisation chart.”
In their book Stretch Willyerd and Mistick reveal that up to 67% of Millennials want to work as entrepreneurs at some point in their lives. The Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2014 placed that figure even higher at 70%. It is not so surprising when you consider that they have grown up in a world where entrepreneurs are rock stars. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey. If organisations can give talented, young people the opportunity to unleash some of that entrepreneurial vision, then they will attract capable, creative dedicated millennials who want to change the world. Millennials are known for turning down well-paid jobs in favor of opportunities that allow them to have a greater purpose and impact. Organisations that have a reputation for fostering their intrapreneurs will attract potential high performers. Millennials want to make an impact through their employers! They want to see the organisations in which they work be contributors to positive change and want to help drive that.
Never before has there been quite such a push for employees to take responsibility for innovating in their corner of the organisation. And intrapreneurs are embracing this opportunity, seeing it as their vehicle to create change and shape the future.
Intrapreneurs are WORTH the investment!
It is the intrapreneurs who will ultimately help an organisation to achieve many of its key goals such as streamlining business processes to save time and effort, enhancing customer satisfaction and engagement, transitioning to digitisation more quickly, diversifying business and delivery models, new product development and generally staying ahead of the curve, all while helping to create positive change in the broader context of society.
Intrapreneurs give birth to new ideas and help bring them to fruition. They are the ‘dreamers who do’. They create and shape the future of their organisations and will be highly valued for their contributions. They are worth investing in!