How to Cultivate Intrapreneurs in Your Company

Do you have intrapreneurs on your team? Are you hiring and encouraging intrapreneurs on your team?

Most people understand the qualities that are apparent in a successful entrepreneur. These include leadership, charisma, adaptability, along with a clear vision and the ability to motivate their team to achieve their goals. An intrapreneur, a term coined in the 1980s, has many of the same characteristics as an entrepreneur. But they do so as an employee, working on entrepreneurial activities within that company and taking on a level of responsibility for creating innovation within the company.

Imagine the value of having intrapreneurs on your team; employees who have many of the characteristics of an entrepreneur without the pressure entrepreneurs face of taking on the financial risk. They are working within the structure of your company while still regularly finding ways to innovate and help lead your firm to greater success. These team members have the curiosity, drive and creativity to be willing to think outside the box and the passion to work toward a vision.

Generally, there are three types of intrapreneurs.

  1. Creators – those who are optimistic, always looking for a better, more efficient way to do things and increase productivity
  2. Doers – people get the job done – they are task-oriented, dedicated and take ideas and run with them
  3. Implementers – they view the big picture, are goal-oriented and work well under pressure

How to Find Intrapreneurs

How do you hire or find these potential intrapreneurs within your company? Look for people who are suggesting new ideas, asking questions about how the firm operates, are interested in always learning more and who take the initiative. When interviewing prospective new team members ask for solutions to scenarios that will give you an idea of whether they have the characteristics to become an intrapreneur on your team.

Create an Intrapreneurial Environment

Now, are you creating an environment among your team members that fully develops their intrapreneurial mindset? Do you empower your employees to make decisions and come up with solutions? Be sure they have the necessary training and resources and then let them know you believe in their capabilities. Create an atmosphere of camaraderie among your employees. You want employees to build strong relationships! Include opportunities outside of work for employees to participate and get to know each other beyond work. Positive relationships at work are strong motivators.

Encourage your team members to expand their horizons and get involved in projects outside their normal daily tasks. It not only can boost their personal innovation but can also be a benefit for the company as they may see something different with a new pair of eyes.

Have periodic brainstorming sessions to encourage creative thinking.  These might involve challenges facing the company, sharing new ideas you learned from coaching sessions, conferences, etc. or new approaches to client projects. Remember the importance of individuality – there is great value in variety over a team made up entirely of those who think the same or just say “yes” to everything you say. Welcome the creativity that can come from innovative thinking. Give ideas time to formulate. Encourage your team to let go and walk away from a problem and then come back. The results are usually much more successful than if they concentrate too hard. They must allow their unconscious thoughts to take over.

The time invested in grooming an intrapreneur on your team will likely mean even greater success for your firm. But don’t stop there. Be sure to offer them benefits that reward their dedication and passion. After all, you want to be sure you keep them on your team!

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Drue Lawlor

Director of Business Transformation Coaching Drue leads our coaching and consulting. As a NCIDQ certified designer she and Gail co-developed the 12-month Strategic Business Transformation Group Coaching. The program leads the way in teaching designers how to build or redesign their businesses for profit and success. Outside of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting she is the co-founder of Boomers with a Plan B. She is driven to help clients create a safer and healthier homes. You’ll find her in Senior Magazine and a contributor to the following books: Design for Aging: Post Occupancy Evaluations and Interior Graphic Standards, second edition.
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