Ever thought that you’d like your team at work to be just a little more involved? What is it that makes one workplace dynamic and full of life while another feels like tumbleweed could roll by any minute? Well, if you are a manager, chances are you have something to do with it. Helping the intrapreneurs in your company can make a seemingly indifferent employee, flourish at work. You can foster entrepreneurial spirit within your company and there are good reasons to do so.
Intrapreneurs and Why We Need Them
Most successful entrepreneurs start out working for other people. What if you could get them to stay in your business? An intrapreneur has been described as an “inside entrepreneur” or someone who uses their entrepreneurial mind within someone else’s company. Back in 1987, Gifford Pinchot coined the word “intrapreneur” to describe “dreamers that do”. There are a number of reasons to hang on to such dreamers.
• Intrapreneurs can turn good ideas into profitable ventures for your company
• They can bring people with them; encourage other staff’s talents
• They come up with new ideas which they can pitch, develop and manage
• An intrapreneur is an asset when they stay, rather than a threat when they leave!
How to Foster and Keep the Talent
There are some people within your company who have great ideas and a lot of talent. Maybe they want to use that talent without having to leave and set up business on their own. Some people can have the skills without wanting to take on the associated risks and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur. These are the people who just might be the intrapreneurs, but only if you develop a company culture of nurturing their talent. It’ll be good for both of you.
Google famously allows developers to spend 20% of their time on projects that interest them. Dreamworks train their own staff to pitch ideas to executives. Clearly their success proves that letting a bit of entrepreneurial spirit into the workplace works.
So how do you go about it?
Be An Intrapreneurial Manager – Show how you strive to come up with new ideas and take time to make them work. Lead by example. Don’t be afraid to change course, even when the original idea to be changed is yours. Be ready for engaging in conversation and being open to new or even quirky suggestions.
Know Your Team – This means being aware of the talents and potential of staff. The person who performs one specific role, may have creativity in another area good for your business. Find out where the undiscovered talent is.
Put the Time In – A culture of intrapreneurship doesn’t just happen. You need to invest some energy into fostering business ideas. Find out what people like doing and how you can set some time for them to look into how that could help all of you. If it means a little bit of re-organising to make sure productivity remains, then do it. In fact, the more people are engaged and valued, the less likely a problem with absenteeism or stress.
Let Creativity Flourish – This also means giving people the space to forward ideas which you might not initially see the benefit of. Some won’t work, but some will. Trust your staff. An intrapreneur is someone who needs a bit of autonomy in the workplace. A survey by monster.com showed than less than a third of workers feel they had the freedom or resources to be come up with new ideas. Make sure your company is in the other two thirds.
An intrapreneur will have the business acumen to come up with an idea and take it further. They can test and help bring an idea to fruition. They can network, find collaborators and even be more productive in their core role, as a result.
We often hear how companies do not use some of their best resources, their people. If you’re not sure how to best use staff skills, the first step is to find out what the skills are. Nurture talent and you may just have some potentially highly successful staff in your business that you never knew were there.
If you are thinking about fostering a culture of intrapreneurship within your company, OMT Global can help you with training, advice and projects. Contact us at any time and we’ll be glad to help you find the intrapreneurs in your workplace and how they can help your business flourish.