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For a long time, I’ve had the opinion that ‘intrapreneurship’ is a term and practice that most business owners or leaders in Australia prefer to neglect or even ignore. This is despite the fact that ‘intrapreneurs’ continue to be the driving force of innovation and growth of companies around the world, including Google, Pixar, Disney, and evenAirbnb.
‘intrapreneurs’ continue to be the driving force of innovation and growth of companies around the world
My ongoing efforts to educate and explore intrapreneurship amongst Australian business leaders has always proven challenging and often frustrating. However, my feeling changed when I interviewed Andrew Coronis (Managing Director – Coronis Group), and discovered how Andrew is leveraging on his entrepreneurial employees to achieve accelerated growth.
For the past 20 years, I have witnessed the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, owning and running a number of successful business ventures in Australia, as well as employing and managing a number of people that have added value to the organisations I founded.
Upon reflection however, I have to admit that only a few of these individuals have contributed something remarkable or truly powerful to my business ventures. I call these people the ‘intrapreneurs’ of the workplace.
From experience, the intrapreneurs I have worked closely with possess unique characteristics and qualities that are not commonly found amongst conventional employees. In my opinion, they are ‘rare species’ and constitute less than 5% of the workforce in Australia.
It was back in 2014, that I compiled an article titled “The Myth of the Intrapreneur”.
I was inspired to write this editorial piece after reading Michael E. Gerber’s famous book “E-myth”. This book provided excellent literature about the behaviour, mindset, and unique qualities of ‘entrepreneurs’, but made no specific reference to the terms ‘intrapreneur’ and ‘intrapreneurship’, and how this was relevant to SME’s.
After reading his book, I was compelled to start my own long term legacy of educating business owners in Australia about ‘intrapreneurial leadership’. Ultimately, it was about instructing these business owners to embrace intrapreneurs within their business and foster innovation.
It was back in 2013, that I first compiled an editorial around ‘intrapreneurship’. The article was titled: ‘Intrapreneurship versus Entrepreneurship’.
My objective was to outline the differences between the two terms, and start my long term legacy of educating CEO’s in Australia, of the critical importance of ‘intrapreneurial leadership’. Ultimately, it was about empowering and instructing these leaders to better manage their ‘intrapreneurs’, to foster more innovation within their organisation.
After more than two years, I find myself writing and demystifying intrapreneurship once again, this time with the help of my client Matt Browne(CEO – DoneSafe) on my online radio program.
Before I relinquish my exact definition to the “I” word covered in this story, I would like to provide a few clues behind the significance and importance of this mysterious word, which so many Business Owners, CEO’s, HR Managers and Executive Recruiters within Australia are still so unfamiliar with. I shall refer to this word as ‘Intra’ for the time being.
‘Intra’ has been in the dictionary since the 1970’s, and has been embraced and adopted by business leaders and serial entrepreneurs since this time, within highly successful companies around the world, like Google, 3M, Lockheed, Toyota, Twitter, etc. ‘Intra’ has a direct correlation to the word ‘entrepreneurship’ and is focused around innovation, pioneering of new ideas and products, and boosting the competitive position and spirit of an organisation.
Federico will uncover why ‘intrapreneurs’ are urgently needed for the future success and prosperity of every organisation.
I recently attended a networking event in Melbourne, geared towards business executives including CEO’s, Company Directors, and HR Managers. When asked the question about my profession, with my response being that I specialise in ‘intrapreneurial leadership’, I received a perplexed look of intrigue, confusion, and amazement from the majority of participants.
I soon realised that the use of the word ‘intrapreneurial’ was the root of my problem, despite that fact that I was dealing with professionals with substantial human resources experience, and considerable knowledge of business leadership. Again, I witnessed the interesting phenomenon that a very large percentage of business professionals are still unaware of the meaning of intrapreneurship and the high importance this has in the Australian workforce for business leaders.
We all know that entrepreneurial leaders are passionate individuals, with a zest for life, and a willingness to conquer opportunities despite the risks. They typically enjoy operating outside of their comfort zone to chase their ‘dream’.
Despite these positives, entrepreneurs are also challenged by continual setbacks and sometimes failure to pursue their long term aspirations. This might include dealing with sceptics, managing cash-flow issues, and an avalanche of day-to-day operational issues.
Even more challenging is learning how to effectively manage their entrepreneurial employees, or ‘intrapreneurs’, to create a harmonious and productive workplace environment for all those involved.
Innovative companies like 3M, Google, Apple, Toyota, Lockheed, and Virgin, would have not existed so successfully if it hadn’t been for the innovative ideas of their passionate intrapreneurs, and the effective leadership by the management team.
I continually remain perplexed by the number of people in Australia, and especially those within the business community, that are still not familiar with the meaning of the term ‘intrapreneurship’.
Thousands of people proudly claim the title ‘entrepreneur’, but have ignored the entrepreneur's little brother: the ‘intrapreneur’.
We also know that entrepreneurs can be stereotyped as mavericks, adventurers, visionaries, risk-takers, experimental, and much more. But exactly what traits do intrapreneurs possess, and what value does this offer an organisation that employs them ?
Federico Re explores why Millennial employees need to be handled with care, and why they can be asset to your organisation.
We all know that entrepreneurs are passionate individuals, with a zest for life, and a willingness to conquer the unknown despite the risks.
We also know that entrepreneurs typically operate outside of their comfort zone to pursue opportunity; they challenge the status quo; whilst dealing with failure, plenty of sceptics, and an avalanche of issues on a day to day.
Another core challenge for the entrepreneur is how to effectively manage their personnel, and ensure that the entrepreneurial spirit continues to manifest throughout the workplace.
Even more challenging is keeping a harmonious relationship between the business owner (the ‘entrepreneur’) and the entrepreneurial employee (the ‘intrapreneur’).
Federico Re is an Entrepreneurial Coach and founder of creativeentrepreneur.com.au. For nearly two decades, Federico has assisted an array of fast growing SME’s in Australia, focusing on entrepreneurial leadership and innovation.
Federico will uncover why you should hire entrepreneurial employees (or intrapreneurs) within your organisation to remain competitive, as well as ensure long term survival.
Federico Re is an Entrepreneurial Coach and founder of creativeentrepreneur.com.au. For nearly two decades, Federico has assisted an array of fast growing SME’s and retailers in Australia, focusing on entrepreneurial leadership and innovation.
Federico will uncover why you should hire entrepreneurial employees (or intrapreneurs) within your organisation to ensure you survive another decade within the hostile retail environment.
What is Intrapreneurship ?
The word 'intrapreneur' has been in the dictionaries since the 1990's ?
Wiktionary defines 'intrapreneurship' as: "the practice of applying entrepreneurial skills and approaches within an established company; being creative with ideas and procedures".
Intrapreneurship allows for innovative progress and development to occur in a speedier way within an organisation.
The key advantage of intrapreneurship is that the intrapreneur (or employee of an organisation) can leverage on the support and resources of the organisation itself, that would otherwise not be available if that person was an entrepreneur working on their own business venture.
What exactly is an ‘intrapreneur’ ?
How often do you come across this word, compared to the more conventional, more widely known word ‘entrepreneur’ ?
My experience is that more than 90% of people have never heard the word intrapreneur before. When I describe its meaning, I often get a look of amazement and curiosity !
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