Entrepreneurs have become synonymous with many of today’s most prolific businesses; they introduced the world to industry giants like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. At the very least, the unique mindset exercised by entrepreneurs has enabled individuals to disrupt entire industries through the founding of a single business. It is worth noting, however, that it is no longer necessary to become a business owner to alter the business landscape.
With a different perspective, employees (and not the owners) are entirely capable of helping businesses realize their true potential; they just need to think of themselves as an intrapreneur. Not unlike entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs bring a heightened level of ingenuity to the table. Intrapreneurs are the single most important catalyst for turning great ideas into actionable practices. The presence of an intrapreneur can easily help a company realize its true potential, which begs the question: Are you an intrapreneur?
Let’s take a closer look at what intrapreneurs are, and how becoming one could elevate your career to a new level.
What Is An Intrapreneur?
In its simplest form, an intrapreneur is essentially an in-house entrepreneur—hence the obvious wordplay. While entrepreneurs are traditionally recognized for building the foundation of new companies, however, intrapreneurs implement revolutionary strategies and ideas to scale businesses from within the rank and file. Truly gifted intrapreneurs will bring original, ground-breaking ideas to the table, all to leave the company better off than when they first started.
To be clear, intrapreneurship isn’t a title or even a position within a company; it’s a mindset. Not unlike the mindset of an entrepreneur, an intrapreneur will exhibit a unique drive to make themselves and everyone around them better. Their purpose is to elevate a company with original ideas and go above and beyond the call of duty. Their dedication to the craft is perhaps an entrepreneur’s most valuable asset and one that’s not easily replicated.
Exhibiting an intrapreneurial mindset isn’t easy (at first). Developing a work ethic that’s parallel to today’s greatest entrepreneurs takes a lot of work, but I believe anyone can do it. Not unlike most attributes someone would acquire through practice and repetition, fostering an intrapreneurial mindset requires employees to hone certain skills and characteristics.
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Characteristics Of An Intrapreneur
Intrapreneurs embody all of the characteristics of today’s most successful entrepreneurs, less the part where they start their own business. Instead of leaving the characteristics of a truly gifted intrapreneur up for interpretation, however, how about we list them below:
Entrepreneurial: Takes ownership in their role as if it was their own business; Proactively seeks ways to add value; Resourceful (comes to the table with not just questions, but with possible answers, having taken the responsibility for doing the work up front).
Strong Communication: Able to meet people where they’re at and communicate effectively in all situations: clients, lenders, business partners, you name it.
Progressive: Sets goals, always looks to learn from every experience in life, reading books, going to seminars, asking themselves good questions.
Engaged: Positive, passionate, expressing themselves through hobbies and activities.
Authentic: Intrapreneurs take humility and sincerity to a whole new level. Their authenticity is perhaps their most enviable trait, as their coworkers always know what to expect. Their authenticity adds a level of consistency that can’t be replicated.
Synergistic: Intrapreneurs have a way of bringing teams together, and making each individual more valuable to the company. Their presence seems to make everyone around them better and strive for greatness.
Networking Skills: Makes a positive impression on potential connections. And, takes every new opportunity as a chance to network.
Creative: It takes a unique perspective to run a business effectively. Intrapreneurs have creative problem-solving skills, business ideas and more.
How Does Intrapreneurship Work?
Intrapreneurship works a lot like work ethic. You could easily argue the terms are interchangeable (at least with good work ethic). If for nothing else, intrapreneurship is a person’s willingness to do whatever it takes to make them and everyone around them better. Doing so will ultimately result in a better, more productive workplace. Therein lies the secret of intrapreneurship: Employees working to make a business better will ultimately make everyone else around them better. In scaling a business to realize its true potential, intrapreneurs bring together the entire workplace.
Example Of An Intrapreneur
Intrapreneurs are not uncommon, but it’s safe to assume many companies could benefit from having them. More often than not, their presence simultaneously makes the company more efficient and better at just about everything. Let’s say, for example, a small business owner is breaking into the baking industry. Their baked goods have built up quite a reputation in their local area; enough to warrant hiring new employees. Now, let’s say one of the new employees was hired to run the cash register right before the pandemic hit.
Up until that point, the employee did a great job doing what was asked of them. However, once businesses took a hit due to the pandemic, they devised a plan to start selling baked goods online. The solution kept the bakery in business and expanded operations, all in one fell swoop. All things considered, the employee didn’t need to do anything more than run a cash register, but it was their willingness to go above and beyond that makes them an intrapreneur.
The Benefits Of Intrapreneurship
Entrepreneurs are known for starting companies, but intrapreneurs have developed a reputation for bringing out the best in a company. More often than not, intrapreneurs will delve into policies, technologies, applications, systems, and processes to identify areas of improvement. It’s almost as if intrapreneurs are there to make the business the entrepreneur even better. If their implementations work it’s entirely possible the intrapreneur becomes an entrepreneur and develops a business to help the existing one.
Why Should You Become An Intrapreneur?
In the event you are not already an entrepreneur, you should consider striving to become an intrapreneur. Not unlike a good work ethic, exercising an intrapreneurial mindset will simultaneously hone your existing skills, help you develop new skills, and enable you to get ahead at work. It’s often intrapreneurs who are considered for raises and promotions. More importantly, however, is the increased likelihood of becoming an entrepreneur. Anyone who exhibits an intrapreneur mindset can become an entrepreneur.
While a generic play on words, intrapreneurs are invaluable components to every company. Their mere presence makes a business better and more efficient. That said, there’s no reason you can’t be an intrapreneur. All of the skills associated with intrapreneurs are learnable and scalable. The hardest part is deciding what you what for yourself at your current job. If the answer is more, then becoming an intrapreneur may be just what you were looking for.
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