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.
‘intrapreneurs’ possess unique characteristics and qualities that are not commonly found amongst conventional employees
Some of the common traits of these entrepreneurial employees include risk takers, innovators, pioneers, team players, resilience; essentially those people who challenge the status quo and are willing to disrupt the workplace environment to create a better future for the organisation they work, despite the set-backs and challenges they face.
If we shift our attention away from Australia and focus on another region of the world, Egypt, we discover how Millennial ‘intrapreneurs’ are fast entering the workforce and changing the dynamics of the workplace environment. To get a close insight on this topic, I interviewed Egyptian entrepreneur – Maya Madkour (Founder & CEO –Webworx MENA)
A Unique Constitution
Maya best defines the ‘intrapreneur’ as people who are creative, passionate, like a challenge, like to grow, driven, take initiative, love what they do, never quit, and have a long term vision.
When I compare intrapreneurs to conventional employees, it’s like comparing a conventional sportsman to an Olympic athlete. The fundamental difference is their level of skill; commitment to hard work and training; tolerance to set-back, adversity, and challenge; their ability to remain focused on the big picture; and striving for excellence and extreme performance.
intrapreneurs vs conventional employees….. it’s like comparing a conventional sportsman to an Olympic athlete !
The Right Balance:
Despite the attractive skills of intrapreneurs, it’s also essential to have the right balance between the conventional employee and intrapreneur in an organisation. Conventional employees are generally more willing to accept a daily routine from 9 til 5, and perform essential repetitive operational tasks, as compared to intrapreneurs who prefer to innovate and improve the way things are done.
Hire for Culture:
Maya’s philosophy to employing people is to hire candidates who are prepared to fit into the organisation’s culture and are willing to contribute something positive to the team.
(Founder & CEO – Webworx MENA)
The best practice is to remove any hierarchy; encourage teamwork and autonomy, and have fun along the way. Happiness and fulfilment are key ingredients to establishing a healthy entrepreneurial culture within an establishment.
Egypt has a unique chance to pioneer intrapreneurship and leverage on its ‘economic challenges’
Caring for Others:
From experience, the best intrapreneurs I have come across, are those that prioritise the interest and welfare of other employees above their own goals and desires. This viewpoint was also supported by Maya, who claims that by ‘caring and serving others within a team environment, you will foster trust and respect amongst your peers….this creates positive energy and encouragement for others’.
The Future Outlook:
In a closing statement, Maya claims that Egypt has a unique chance to pioneer intrapreneurship and leverage on its ‘economic challenges’, which will give birth to more opportunities, especially for female intrapreneurs entering the workforce.
This article was originally written by Federico Re for The Employer Magazine for the June, 2016 Edition.