How many people in your organization are thinking like owners? Is it just you? Maybe the managers or directors? What if everyone was on the same page? This is the idea behind intrapreneurialism.
What Is It?
Depending on which source you choose to believe, 80 percent to 90 percent of businesses fail within the first two years of operation, creating a real barrier to entrepreneurship for those who are risk averse. As a business owner, what if you could harness the inner entrepreneur of those who work with you—mitigating their risk, while allowing them leeway to pursue their interests to help the business grow?
An intrapreneur is someone who takes ownership and responsibility for part of a business, with little supervision, and focuses efforts on that task or process because they enjoy the challenge, they know they will be supported, and they will be recognized for achieving success or solving a problem.
How Can This Be Done?
An easy way to start is simply to look around your organization and see what isn’t being done or where there needs to be improvement. Simply offer up the challenge and encourage someone to lead without authority. Who steps up may surprise you. Better yet, ask your associates what can be improved upon, what system needs tweaking and what initiative needs more attention. Then, appoint that person to the job, get out of their way and let them be creative and manage their own success.
Everyone has a unique skill set, and most people naturally gravitate toward projects that play to their strengths. This redirection of energy can increase engagement, and push associates out of their comfort zone as they think outside of the box in order to address a specific challenge. Leadership skills are also developed in the process.
For intrapreneurialism to be successful, it is important to identify specifically the task at hand, and to make clear the desired outcome of this new focus. How the result is achieved is less important than the result itself – in fact, this is where the intrapreneur gets to shine. They may have a completely new way to address a challenge, and this new way may be significantly better than the “recognized” way. This is where the magic of intrapreneurialism happens.
Why It Matters
When people do work that is meaningful to them, they are happy and more productive. Business challenges are met and overcome. Leaders are developed, work is distributed, and engagement increases, which ultimately leads to less turnover and more business growth.
While you read this article, you may realize there are associates within your business who already act as intrapreneurs. Are you fully engaging them? Prior to the HEMP program, I tried to take on too much and was pulled in too many directions. Nonessential tasks were taking away time from more important endeavors. My highest and best use as an entrepreneur was not being realized. My HEMP mentor encouraged me to delegate and trust my team.
Questions to ask yourself:
- As the entrepreneur, are you helping mentor the intrapreneurs within your company?
- Are you empowering associates to succeed (and fail), while focusing on small achievements and recognition of those achievements?
- Did their efforts make a difference?
Once you harness the unique talents of your team, you’ll find that working with a group of intrapreneurs is fun. Creative juices flow, energy is higher, and morale is elevated. Who wouldn’t want to work in that environment?
The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program pairs established small business owners with more seasoned executives, who help them improve their operations and seize opportunities for growth. Is your small business interested? Learn more here.