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Locate the valuable intrapreneurs of your organisation

At Outside Inc. we know that some of the most valuable people working within companies are intrapreneurs. They generate new business concepts that will create escalating and enduring success for an organization and are the red monkeys that encourage disruptive innovation.

It is important to recruit, locate, develop, facilitate and retain these innovators so you can channel their creativity to your organization’s goals and objectives. Especially in these days we see a lot of organisations where a lack of entrepreneurial behavior is a key barrier for unleashing innovation and accelerating new business development. But how do you identify an intrapreneur?

Howard E. Haller wrote a very interesting book about intrapreneurship. Haller is an expert in intrapreneurship and knows that intrapreneurs are necessary to ignite innovation, expand market share and sustain higher profits. Identifying and satisfying these intrapreneurs makes it possible to recruit and retain key employees and improve job satisfaction. In his book Haller describes 9 habits of successful intrapreneurs.

The first habit is that Intrapreneurs, like entrepreneurs, are risk takers. This does not mean that you should search for your employees in casinos, they usually take calculated risks. This means that intrapreneurs sometimes ignore the rules or break them in order to get things done. This shouldn’t be categorized as something bad, it’s better to allow them to take these risks in order to come up with new ideas or methods for doing things.

Intrapreneurs usually have the ability to think out-of-the box, or even get rid of the box.

By looking at things from a different perspective they see a lot of opportunities. This ability allows them to create solutions and uncover problems within the organization.

When we are trying to indentify intrapreneurs we should look for those employees who generate new ideas. These people are able to drive and foster innovation. Foster a learning environment so intrapreneurs can create new products or services, enter new markets and innovate. It is especially important to consider each concept with an open-mind. But this is something different than randomly accept every idea. A good question here to ask yourself is “how can this help my company grow and guide to ‘blue oceans’?”

Do you have that person who approaches decision making differently? Nourish this quality. Encourage them to find the best path for the solution to be implemented and make sure it benefits the organization. Problem solving is a requirement in becoming a succesful intrapreneur. Constantly challenge your employees to come up with new ideas for products and services  and look beyond their own defined circle of responsibility for ways to make them happen.

Intrapreneurs are usually goalgetters. Rather than pushing them to take action, they are self motivated. They take your organizations purpose and strategies and make them their own. And they are decisive. This makes them ideal to take an idea and turn it into a viable business.

Do you know that one person in your organization who can’t live with a failure and keeps on going until he or she finds success? Chances are that this is an intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs usually are persistant. Its best to support them dealing with uncertainty by acting on it, instead of waiting to see what might happen. In order for the intrapreneurial efforts to become successful they should keep op moving. Set milestones to keep them on track.

It’s is hard to own all qualities needed for success on your own. Therefore intrapreneurs need to be team players. Within a team it’s easier to divide by specialization. The intrapreneur should take lead in sharing the idea and gathering the proper team. He should be encouraging. The intrapreneur should take care of leading discussions via email and in meetings. A co-worker who hears about the idea might just provide the “missing link”. Next to being encouraging, an intrapreneur should be trustworthy, open, positive, supportive and give credit where it’s due.

As an intrapreneur, you might every now and then, encounter a setback or even fail. A true intrapreneur isn’t discouraged by that though. Instead its more useful to learn from every failure. Make it lean so not too much investment is lost. Thomas Edison once said “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

The last habit is that they think as an entrepreneur instead of an employee. Those who research and want to fully understand the vision and mission statement of the organization, those who then not only want to achieve this vision but surpass it, those employees are likely to be true intrapreneurs. A pitfall for organisations is to not embrace the striving ambitions of intrapreneurs and let them leaving the company to realize their dream as an indepent entrepreneur, no longer combining the strengths of large corporations and their entrepreneurial capabilities.

For more info about intrapreneurship contact Marieke den Nijs, see our credentials and propositions for tailored intrapreneurship programs. And of course, read the excellent book with various best practices of Howard Haller, more in http://intrapreneurshipbook.com

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Thomas Hannes