Be an Intrapreneur – Use Entrepreneurial Skills

Intrapreneur, Entrepreneur

Want to break out of a pattern of slow career growth and enter a higher orbit in your career progression? Be an intrapreneur! Go ahead, build your skills and turbo charge your intra-company venture. Intrapreneurs should be celebrated. They are the harbingers of change and innovation.

Find out how you can succeed by bringing about a shift in how you think about your job and role responsibilities at your workplace. Your work is but a result of how you think so bringing about a positive and remarkable attitudinal shift is bound to put you in the limelight sooner than later. Be an intrapreneur and learn to look for blue oceans inside the organisation.

So, What is Intrapreneurship?

Every leader in a company must think that he is running his own shop and needs to generate profits for everything his team does. The idea is to think the way a shopkeeper does for his business to earn profits.

He knows he needs to keep the end in mind while working every day since his bread and butter depends on it.

Employees, on the other hand, don’t tend to think like this at all. They work only as much as they feel they need to in order to justify the salary they get from the company and avoid extra responsibility.

The key difference is one between an ‘avoiding responsibility’ mindset of a typical employee working for a salary and ‘Earn your keep’ mindset of an ‘Intrapreneur.’

Even the modern-day compensation structures show a strong move towards a low fixed component and a large variable component based on performance, attitudes, efforts, business impact, industry performance and the profitability of the company and team.

In such an emerging professional scenario, the only way to succeed is to become an entrepreneur even while being in employment.

Intrapreneurship is a key lever that drives creativity and innovation—the two game-changers for any company in any industry. If there is little initiative and intrapreneurship, companies stop being fleet-footed and cease to anticipate or react to changes in the marketplace.

Why Employers Love Intrapreneurs

In the modern workplace, it is not enough to just deliver more revenue to the company than you are taking home as compensation. It is only employees with the highest Return on investment who survive in a company in the long run and the best among them rise up the career ladder.

Be an intrapreneur and quickly identify also win points which create visibility in the organisation and allows the team to gather confidence. These quick wins allow you to get more talent into your fold. In intra-company ventures, effective marketing is needed not just for external customers, but also the internal customers.

Essentially, companies like to see their employees exhibiting entrepreneurial skills: drive, ambition, responsibility and devotion that entrepreneurs are known for. Also, remember: every employer is an entrepreneur. We like others who are like us and share a common set of values with us.

Therefore, every employer gravitates towards intrapreneurs in a natural sort of way which translates into growth and benefits for them inevitably. Be an intrapreneur for they are far less exposed to the risk of failure.

Skills Needed for Becoming an Intrapreneur

Besides thinking of the company as his own, an intrapreneur must be good at scanning the external and internal environment and do a good SWOT analysis for strategic planning. More than functional skills as say an accountant or a trainer or an HR professional, an intrapreneur needs to develop strategic management skills.

Once the SWOT analysis is done, an intrapreneur needs to be able to think out of the box and look at contrarian points of view and fearlessly challenge the status quo if that is what his strategic research is showing him.

Finally, an intrapreneur needs to be skilled in presentation and negotiation skills to present his views persuasively to his management and get their buy-in for his proposed course of action.

He also needs to be able to lead multi-cultural, diverse and cross-functional teams to translate his ‘intrapreneurial’ vision into reality through effective leadership.

A Case in Point

It required intrapreneurship to enable IBM to create a human-beating machine—the Watson Supercomputer—in the area of decided human strengths and areas of weakness for machines namely intuitive computing, understanding and responding to moods, humor, sarcasm and wit and beat the human winners of the popular television program ‘Jeopardy.’

While IBM had crossed the petaflop barrier by focusing on its strengths in core computing, it needed an intrapreneur like David Ferrucci to begin from scratch and get into the areas of fuzzy logic and intuition that winning on ‘Jeopardy’ entailed.

In discussions with the IBM CEO and Head of Research, David Ferrucci sold to them the idea that a major victory in the area of intuitive computing would put IBM leagues ahead of its competition.

He put together a talented cross-functional team of scientists, researchers, psychologists, linguists and computer experts to work together towards this end. On January 19, 2010, IBM Watson defeated the human winner of Jeopardy on live television.

Conclusion – Be an Intrapreneur

Finally, the skills learnt as an intrapreneur can be put to good use when one decides to move on from employment to becoming an entrepreneur (either in one’s young age or after retirement).

It is much easier for a skilled intrapreneur who has learnt the ropes and learnt to think and act like an entrepreneur to succeed in entrepreneurship than it is for a traditional ‘entitlement-minded’ employee.

Intrapreneurship can help your company break new ground and get into new lines of business thereby putting you in the limelight and accelerating your career growth like never before.


About the Author

Supradeep Mukherjee is an author, trainer and broadcaster. Educated at Hindu College and the Delhi School of Economics, he has consulted with a number of corporate organisations, radio stations and academic institutions. His areas of interest include Personal Development, Parenting, Relationships and Lessons in Living from Mythology.

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