What is an intrapreneur?
You’ve heard of an entrepreneur, but what about an intrapreneur? An intrapreneur has all the dynamic, creative aspects of an entrepreneur but they are people who work within a company as an employee – not as a business owner. The intrapreneur shares that business-focused mindset and is willing to give their all to a company. He or she often comes up with great ideas that can be applied for the greater good of a business. Intrapreneurs are invaluable members of your team – people who can help push your business forward.
Now let’s look a little closer at some of the traits you should look out for to determine who are the intrapreneurs in your workforce.
First and foremost, an intrapreneur has to be confident enough to break the mould and share their ideas. This confidence is key to getting you thinking about your business from a new perspective, and could help improve the success of your business in the long run.
Confidence is not to be mistaken for cockiness. Intrapreneurs have the self-assuredness to have their say, but also the self-awareness to know when to put their head down and get on with their work.
Creativity is a key trait in intrapreneurs. This gives them the ability to see things differently, and see the potential in aspects of your business which maybe you haven’t yet discovered.
This creativity also allows your intrapreneurs to be patient with ideas, and hold onto them until they form into fully-grown plans of action. This is called ‘greenhousing’, and helps you and your business hugely. Intrapreneurs can greenhouse ideas which you might be too busy to linger on.
They take calculated risks
This is part of that classic entrepreneurial spirit that intrapreneurs share: the willingness to take risks without letting the fear of failure stop them. A good intrapreneur is willing to take risks for the good of the business, rather than for their own personal gain.
For intrapreneurs, it’s all about tenacity. They are entrepreneurs within a business, and are therefore able to try and try again – even in the face of repeated failures – until they do eventually succeed. Finding someone who can and will take risks could be a crucial part of taking your business to greater heights.
They’re not all about the money
It’s a fair assumption that when entrepreneurs go out with the aim of starting up their own business, they are motivated – at least in part – by the promise of profit and making money. Intrapreneurs are different. Money doesn’t drive intrapreneurs to work hard and take risks – their end goal is to obtain a sense of fulfilment in their career path.
Personal and professional growth is what pushes intrapreneurs to try, and gives them their optimistic, persevering attitude. They want to be seen as a creator or innovator, regardless of what monetary rewards come with this reputation.
This is possibly the most important trait in an intrapreneur. They should act with authenticity and integrity, meaning that they genuinely want your business to succeed. A member of your team can possess all these other traits – the confidence, the creativity, the willingness to take risks – but without an authentic passion for your business they cannot be described as a true intrapreneur.
This integrity isn’t something which can be learnt, but it is something you’ll instinctually know is true if it does appear in your team member. Intrapreneurs must be willing to learn from you, and have a desire to better the business as well as themselves.
And what do intrapreneurs want from you as the business owner: be the entrepreneur they deserve
If you are lucky enough to have a true intrapreneur as part of your business, then make sure you are a leader they can count on. You too should be creative, a risk taker, and also genuinely want to see your employees grow both personally and professionally.