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Does your business have an intrapreneur or could it benefit from one?

Posted on 12th September 2016 by Alexis Outram

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Whilst you shouldn’t answer a question with another question, it is probably the starting point here in that perhaps it would be helpful to answer what is an intrapreneur?

A simple definition is ‘the employee of an existing business and someone that has not founded or is an owner of the business itself but who, to all intents and purposes, has the characteristics and behaviour of an entrepreneur.’

Whilst a business full of intrapreneurs might be challenging to say the least, the benefit of having at least one in terms of driving growth and business improvement can be significant.

Typically an intrapreneur has many of the characteristics of their entrepreneurial counterparts, in the sense that they welcome a challenge, seek solutions to problems, take calculated risks and are often creative, innovative, highly motivated and self driven.  High levels of integrity, loyalty and persistence, equally synonymous with the business owners, are often part of their DNA, with a work ethic not limited to the normal working day.

In contrast to an entrepreneur whose focus is on the business as a whole their internal counterparts are more likely to be focused on undertaking project or task driven initiatives. This may include developing a new product or market, a new business opportunity or introducing a new process.

Whilst the entrepreneur often operates alone, or in isolation, our insider often benefits from being able to draw on the expertise of their colleagues and the resources of the organisation to achieve their goal along with those of the organisation.

Success is measured in terms of their ability to deliver the project or task in line with objectives, on time and profitably. Often the completion of one project leads on to another one.

Intraprenuers are often more motivated by the desire to achieve or deliver as opposed a pure monetary reward.  There is, however, the possibility that they are approached by another business and offered enhanced remuneration attracting them away.  Therefore ensuring your business provides recognition and a conducive environment is key to their retention.

The ability of the business to capitalise on the skills of their intrapreneur are to a great extent dependent on the management’s ability to allow such individuals to have the freedom to deliver but also control and support them to achieve shared aspirations.

For those with their own in-house intrapreneur, hopefully the points hit a chord. Others may now recognise the traits of such people amongst their employees, and others may now be considering what an intrapreneur might do for them. Certainly they can make a significant impact on the bottom line, but the challenge like finding any good staff is exactly that, finding one.

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