Understanding what it means to be an intrapreneur is one thing but having what it takes is something entirely different. There is a growing temptation to want to be an intrapreneur without understanding the implications of taking on that role. The decision to be an intrapreneur, especially in a large well established company should not be taken lightly.
One millennial in particular, seemed to understand this and decided to prepare herself for the journey.
Despite the fact that intrapreneurship is gaining traction as a growth strategy in some of the largest organizations. And that there is growing recognition that intrapreneurship is a factor in attracting and retaining talent. There is less focus on developing the individual capabilities that are required for Intrapreneurship. The focus has been on building organizational capabilities with the intent of changing individual behavior. Perhaps we need to turn this around and look at how individual behaviors build organizational capabilities.
Being an intrapreneur is not a destination, it’s a journey. It is a process of learning and self-discovery. This is the story behind one particular individual who did just that.
It was over a year ago now that Megan accepted a job with a major consulting firm. Even before joining the company she had decided she was going to be an intrapreneur in her new role. Although she had never been an intrapreneur before she felt that she was destined to be one. With that in mind and before stepping into her new role she contacted us to take the Intrapreneur Scorecard. It was clear from her results that Megan had many of the capabilities that would be needed but she wanted to know more.
So she reached out again to us to get a more in-depth look by taking the Corporate Entrepreneur Profile. The profile provided a detailed assessment that looked at the seventeen competencies and thirty three behaviors that are needed for intrapreneurs to be successful in that role. Once Megan completed the profile we went through the results in great detail which helped her to see where she was strong and which areas needed further development. The profile enabled her to realize that she had the capabilities to be an intrapreneur in a large organization. The real proof would be demonstrating her intrapreneurial capabilities in her new role.
Armed with this knowledge Megan moved forward. It was a new position in the company, one where she was responsible for identifying new opportunities and services. Her confidence had been boosted by the knowledge that she had what it took to be an intrapreneur. She was also aware of those areas that needed further development so it was easier for her to focus on improving them.
Megan said that, “during the first year I was constantly aware of identifying new opportunities and suggesting new service products.” Even though she worked in the lower ranks within the company she didn’t wait for instructions from her superiors but kept pushing forward – some things worked, others did not. She remarked how many people complain about the lack of opportunities and interest in large organizations. That was not the case with Megan. She used her creativity and took the initiative to create opportunities. It was what kept her motivated.
Part of her challenge in her first year was learning about the culture of the company and how to fit in as an intrapreneur. It was clear that what she was doing and how she was doing it was different than business as usual. By understanding this and knowing what it takes to be an intrapreneur she didn’t settle in or act as a typical employee. Instead, she demonstrated through her actions what it took to be an intrapreneur. To her surprise she said, “I managed to transfer this way of thinking and acting to my manager.” Megan was creating a new way of working not only for herself but the company.
Well, it has been over a year now and Megan is totally engaged in presenting new service opportunities to the company. Although the past year has presented a number of challenges, Megan always looked at them as opportunities to learn more about herself and the company. In doing so, she has a deeper and richer understanding of what it takes to be an intrapreneur in an established organization. She can look around and see other employees who are not motivated, not engaged because they have been doing the same thing for years.
Now that Megan has settled into her new role she is taking the time to reflect back on the past year. She can see how the Corporate Entrepreneur Profile gave her the confidence to be an intrapreneur and transfer that same intrapreneurial spirit to her team. Plus it helped her in being fully satisfied with her job. But is also made her realize that by taking the profile other employees like herself can realize their own entrepreneurial potential and will be able to change. That they too can have a more meaningful career while at the same time supporting the growth strategy for the company.
So it wasn’t surprising when Megan contacted us and wanted to take the Corporate Entrepreneur Profile again to look at her progress over the last year. Megan had started this journey with a clear understanding of both her strengths and weaknesses as an intrapreneur. Plus she knew that the work experience itself had helped her grow into the role. Megan felt she had made progress but thought it was important to see if and how things had changed. So she took the assessment again.
It was clear right away that Megan had made significant progress. The results were impressive. The overall increase in her competency scores was forty plus percent. Her total score was higher than the average for all the intrapreneurs in our database. Her behavior scores remained solid and showed a number of areas of improvement. In some cases the results showed that Megan actually did better than she would have rated herself. She commented on the results. “I am really happy for the results and more confident in my job. Having already worked in a large organization for a year I was really surprised to find out how accurate these results were especially regarding areas that I need to improve.”
Megan’s desire to take responsibility for being an intrapreneur should be applauded. She set out to be an intrapreneur and made sure she knew what she needed to be successful in that role. This was not something her company did, it was something she did on her own. With a solid year of experience behind her and a significant increase in her capabilities Megan can continue to influence and drive the change that is needed within her organization to become more intrapreneurial.
It wasn’t an organizational capability that changed Megan, it was Megan that changed an organizational capability.