Entrepreneurs are the heroes of today, making great strides in the business world by introducing new ideas to their industries. However, the intrapreneur is a bit more of an enigma; they create commendable ideas within their own organization. In fact, your organization probably has its own intrapreneurs. How do you take advantage of their skills to your business’s benefit?
Simply put, the intrapreneur is an employee that can see past the short-term and look at what must be done in the long-term. They understand that their ingenuity can help your organization achieve its goals, and they go out of their way to make sure that their ideas are used for the benefit of the entire organization.
Tim Beerman, CTO of Ensono, describes to CIO what exactly makes a good intrapreneur, and why organizations should look to individuals like them for helpful insight: “These are the employees who want to get their hands dirty and are often the first people to volunteer for a job. Intrapreneurs are not content with the status quo. They often see how things could be part of a bigger picture and come up with ideas to realize this new vision." Who in your office fits this profile?
Here are a few more characteristics that business owners should look for when identifying their own intrapreneurs.
It’s clear that any intrapreneur will be easy to spot. They are naught but your most loyal, motivated, and thoughtful employees. The real question from a business owner’s point of view is what to do with them. They’ll challenge you to the best of your ability, whether they mean to or not. Will you step up and embrace this challenge, or will you feel threatened by their contributions?
The best way to take advantage of intrapreneurs is to encourage them to step up and communicate their ideas. In particular, you need to make sure that there are various ways that they can communicate their ideas to management. If they don’t, you’ll simply crush the spirit and nobody will be benefitting from their good ideas anymore--certainly not your business. These employees will just put in the minimal effort, get paid, and go home at the end of the day, rather than use their intuition to help your business improve. In a worst-case scenario, they may even leave and find another company that’s more willing to hear them out.
IT professionals can make it much easier for your intrapreneurs to express themselves. Beerman explains: “An intrapreneur might see inefficiencies within his or her company's workflow, but may not necessarily have the experience to fully develop a solution. The IT department can then act as a partner to find the right recommendation. When intrapreneurs and IT teams are communicating regularly, there are more windows of opportunity for collaboration. Innovation and collaboration will eventually become business as usual, once initial bridges are crossed."
This type of collaboration doesn’t have to be difficult, but can, as expected, require a major change in your company’s culture. If you want quality communications solutions that can help your organization benefit from each and every great mind behind your operations, reach out to us at (858) 509-1970.