Isn’t it time we recognized corporate entrepreneurs (Intrapreneurs) as a new profession? If yes, then why aren’t organizations proactively acknowledging this role?

If you search the most popular career web-sites you find that none of them post jobs for corporate entrepreneurs or Intrapreneurs. If you look at corporate web-sites you find the same thing.

Talk to executive search firms and they use other labels to describe these individuals.

Sure some organizations may use different terms to identify these people but titles like business development don’t do justice to these individuals. Call them what they are – Corporate Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, Social Intrapreneurs, Entrepreneurial Leaders. Recruit them for what they do and openly acknowledge the contribution they are making to the organization.

One corporate entrepreneur said she had to define her own job spec because the human resource department didn’t know how to define what she did. The reality is that she didn’t fit the profile of the traditional employee, manager or leader. Corporate entrepreneurs don’t fit, that’s the point.

According to the article Competence in the 21st Century, “most organizations with over three hundred employees use some form of competency assessments.” The problem is that these competency models do not adequately reflect what it takes to be an internal entrepreneur. Job specific competencies are needed to identify and develop internal entrepreneurs.

A few progressive organizations are developing new competency models for their leaders that include some of the competencies that corporate entrepreneurs possess. That is a start but it does not go far enough. Organizations must distinguish between those competencies that make sense for the core business and those that are needed to build new businesses. They are different.

Corporate entrepreneurs possess a unique combination of competencies that set them apart.

Organizations have been doing a great job of identifying high potentials for the core business, now they must do the same with corporate entrepreneurs for their new businesses. It is often the depth of a competency that distinguishes and entrepreneurial leader from a traditional leader. It is a fine line.

Corporate entrepreneurs exhibit greater depth in the top competencies needed for this role.

It is because of this that most corporate entrepreneurs take ownership for their own growth and development. They know what they need to do to grow and be successful. They take the initiative to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They are willing to look at themselves in the mirror.

Corporate entrepreneurs want to know what behaviors and competencies are important for their success.

They find it difficult to get good feedback especially from traditional leaders who can’t relate to what they do. They seek advice, counsel and mentors outside of their organizations. They find courage and strength from other corporate entrepreneurs who understand their plight. They face the same issues.

Corporate entrepreneurs are banding together in networks and communities to support one another.

There are no career paths for these individuals in most organizations. They often feel as if they are on their own. They do not wait for the organization to hand them an opportunity, they actively look for new and challenging situations. They will look inside or outside their organization.

Corporate entrepreneurs are restless and need to be consistently challenged to stay engaged.

For these reasons it is exciting to see competency models becoming the benchmark for best practices in talent management. They not only support the overall goals for an organization they enable workers to align their skills to the needs of the workplace and the marketplace. According to the Human Resource Systems Group, “Competencies are effective because the go beyond the basic requirements of a job to identify the behaviors that top performers demonstrate. …Competencies describe how a highly effective worker will achieve success.” Specific job profiles are key.

Nowhere is this more important than where it comes to corporate entrepreneurs. The growing demand for experienced and competent corporate entrepreneurs is on the rise. Organizations that do not proactively identify and recruit these individuals will be at a disadvantage. The 21st century workforce is changing and corporate entrepreneurs are leading the way. They are transforming the way we work.

Collectively corporate entrepreneurs must stand up, speak up and lead the way.   Ultimately it will be up to them to establish the role of Professional Corporate Entrepreneur.

It will only be through their efforts that organizations see the value of the professional corporate entrepreneur and their impact on the 21st century economy.

Take the Corporate Entrepreneur Profile™ to see if you have what it takes to be a professional corporate entrepreneur. Corporate Entrepreneur Profile™

Updated and reprinted in 2015.

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