We are reaching a tipping point where internal and external forces are transforming companies whether they like it or not. One of the forces at work include Intrapreneurs that are stepping up and speaking out about how things need to change to deal with a rapidly changing world.
Intrapreneurs are not content to sit back and wait for change to happen. They are impatient, frustrated and disappointed with the slow pace of change and lack of progress. They believe that they can make change happen more quickly given the chance. But their success depends on having the skills and competencies needed to bridge the gap between the old way of doing business and the new way. A gap that pits these two worlds against one another.
A common mistake Intrapreneurs make is thinking that if they have the capabilities of an Intrapreneur, that is all they needed to succeed. This is only half of the picture. That’s not to say that it isn’t important to have the right skills and competencies. It is. What is more important is understanding how your capabilities complement, contrast or conflict with others in the organization.
What many intrapreneurs fail to realize is that the gap between the existing business and creating a new business is greater than you can imagine. It isn’t just about systems, processes, policies, practices or structure. It’s about mindset, attitudes, expectations, behavior, emotions, beliefs, values, habits, experience and actions. You have a certain frame of reference and so does everyone else. The more you understand your own frame of reference the more you will understand everyone else.
“Individuals and organizations do not resist change they resist disturbance to their frame of reference.”
This is the great divide that separates you from others in the organization. It is the gap and disconnect that exists and can prevent you from achieving your goal. The first step to address this situation is to look at your own frame of reference. Then identify the gaps between you and everyone else. What are you asking them to change? How many things are you asking them to change? And What impact will the change have on them?
The more intrapreneurial you are the wider the gap between yourself and everyone else. It is up to you to bridge the distance not the other person. This is a gap that most intrapreneurs struggle with most of their working life. Getting other people to see what you see, grasp what you’ve learned, believe in what you are doing, relate to your experience, adopt your thinking and accept the premise for your idea. It is one of the most frustrating aspects of being an intrapreneur. Yet it is the essence of what it means to be an intrapreneur.
We often hear Intrapreneurs say that they know they have the competencies required to be an intrapreneur. But do they really. Many of the Intrapreneurs that have taken the Intrapreneur Scorecard acknowledge that it helped them confirm their own belief that they have the competencies to be an intrapreneur. That’s only part of what it takes to be an intrapreneur. The other part is understanding everyone else’s perspective, their capabilities, and competencies. Then understanding how you will bring them into your way of thinking and acting. Your success will depend on it.
You’ve developed a set of capabilities and competencies through the experiences you’ve had. Not everyone has shared in the same experiences. Nor do they see things the same way. Their thinking, decision making, risk taking, and actions will be different than yours. Like you they rely on their own past experiences to guide them. It is what influences their actions.
As one intrapreneur said, “they can’t see what I say or understand what I do. They could not put themselves in my shoes. They had no experience with this type of situation. They didn’t have the intrapreneurial experience to understand the complexity and ambiguity of what I was trying to accomplish.” It wasn’t until this intrapreneur put herself in their shoes could she understand their view of the situation, their reaction to it and their resistance to adopt the premise of her proposal.
The gap in capabilities and competencies between individuals and groups is what slows things down and puts the brakes on progress. One thing you can do to deal with this type of disconnect is to take an inventory of your own capabilities, competencies and fit. You can do this by taking any number of assessments that provide greater insight into your capabilities and competencies. Then look at the capabilities and competencies of those individuals you must connect with to be successful.
Often this will help you understand how much effort and energy you will need to expend to close the gap. It’s like a sliding scale. Either you must pull back or move them forward. It’s a matter of understanding how intrapreneurial you are and how traditional they may be.
Everyone has the potential to be an intrapreneur but not everyone has had an opportunity to experience being an intrapreneur. It is up to you to understand the gap. It is the only way you will understand how to close it. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about them.
As an Intrapreneur it is incumbent upon you to invest in your own growth and development. You are the product. You need to build your own portfolio of capabilities. You cannot leave this up to the organization. It is only through experience that you learn what you know, don’t know and need to know. And the only way to do that is in the work you choose to do. Choose wisely.
Your experiences turn into skills and competencies that translate into value in a talent-based economy. The more you come to understand yourself, the better able you are to understand others and the distance you must go to close the gap.
The prediction that Intrapreneurs would be ‘the most sought-after talent in the 21st century economy’ has now become a reality. It is up to you to develop yourself as a brand, market yourself and demonstrate through your experience that you are an intrapreneur whether you are inside or outside of an organization. Your true value will be reflected in both your successes and the lessons you take away from failure.
It isn’t always about winning, it’s about learning. Learning to close the gap between you and the rest of the organization.
Closing the gap is the key to success.