Can an “Intrapreneurial” Approach Lead to Success?

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Everyone knows about Entrepreneurship! But it’s “Intrapreneurship” that can take your small business to the pinnacle.

In fact, Google’s “20% time” rule reflects this type of spirit. As Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin put it in 2004:

“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.”

Coined by American entrepreneurs Gifford Pinchot III and Elizabeth S. Pinchot in the late 1970s, the term Intrapreneurship refers to a system that allows an employee to behave like an entrepreneur within a company or an organization.

It can provide a “disruptive” environment and technologies for enhancing and reengineering your organization’s internal processes. The goal is to identify new and parallel products and services and become a leader in your industry. It takes Agile and LEAN continuous improvement to another level!

It is based on the “submarine disruption” theory because it starts at the bottom, not with leadership. Success does rely on senior management and ownership to empower individuals and teams to seek and make change even at the risk of possible internal discontent.

Steve Jobs described it as “a group of people going back to the garage, but in a large company.”

Not everyone is meant to be or wants to be an entrepreneur. Most employees will not be interested in taking the personal or financial risks associated with starting their own business. They are perfectly happy with their careers and a regular paycheck.

But they might be very interested and committed to making meaningful change in the community and the organization.

Intrapreneur Characteristics

Intrapreneurs have high leadership skills and think outside the box. They take risks and drive changes to enhance goods and services to the customer. They are not satisfied with the status quo and always look to make meaningful changes.

Often, a significant obstacle is that the disruptive results and new opportunities and income streams are sometimes not well accepted by ownership and other internal departments that may prefer to back the outcome for the firm.

Intrapreneurs have the same entrepreneurial spirit as visionaries and small business owners but exhibit their skills within the organization and usually do not have the financial risks. They are not afraid to make waves and are often seen as “troublemakers!” But they can assist leadership in making significant advantageous disruptive “change.”

The 3 Types of Intrapreneurs

There are three types of intrapreneurs. Creators, Doers and Implementers, and there will assuredly be others.

Creators are, hopefully, all around you. They always look to make things more efficient. Cherish them. They will make your business successful.

Doers look to work with Creators and implement meaningful change. They understand the change and get it done.

Implementers understand the high-level goals. They are often pressure and goal-driven and strive to make the company “great,” as do all of your Intrapreneurs.

Build and reinforce a culture of creativity, disruptive innovation and brainstorming! You hired them for a reason. Support them! It will only benefit you and your mission!

Intrapreneurs are right under your nose and should be supported and rewarded for making your firm the best it can be. If you are lucky, you will lose your good Intrapreneurs to the world of Entrepreneurship, where they belong!!! You cannot stifle them. But utilize them while you can.

Give me a call — I would love to discuss your Intrapreneurs with you!

About the Author

Currently a Fractional Leader assisting SMEs with growth and operational excellence, William (Bill) is an entrepreneurial, results-driven “C” leader with over 30 years of success leading all areas of “the business,” including Accounting & Finance, Sales & Marketing, IT, Operations and Supply Chain Management in various industries. You can contact Bill via LinkedIn or at 484-390-1105.