Like organizations we each have our own internal operating system (IOS) that is unique to us. Your own personal IOS powers you to operate in a certain way. It is how you are programmed. Much like the operating system (OS) in your computer or phone.

Exploring your own IOS is the key to understanding your inner intrapreneur.

Thinking you are an intrapreneur is not the same as being one.  You need to ask yourself who you are at the core.  It is not just what we see on the surface that matters.  It is the internal operating system that is driving you in one direction or another.

Why is that important?

The future of work is at stake.  According to Tom Friedman, in his article After the Pandemic, A Revolution in Education and Work Awaits, “The reality is that work is broken.”  It has become a blank slate.

It is not just the advent of a digital technology that is changing the nature of work, it is the human element that is shaping the future.  Technology can solve a lot of problems, but it is talent that will direct the use of that technology.

The path to growth and renewal is igniting the Intrapreneur inside of all of us. It is only through human ingenuity and self-less commitment that Intrapreneurs can recreate, re-invent and drive change for the better.

Normally we would hope our organizations would take the initiative to identify and nurture its own intrapreneurs.  The truth is that most organizations do not know who they are or even how to find them.  So, it is up to you to find your own inner intrapreneur and demonstrate your value through your actions.

Understanding your own internal operating system is the key.  Everyone has the potential to be an intrapreneur.  You just need to explore the breadth and depth of those dimensions that drive you to be an intrapreneur.

Your IOS includes your motivations and aspirations, professional toolkit, and portfolio of experiences that influence and often control your actions.  How much do you know about yourself?  Ask yourself the following questions:

Motivations and Aspirations

  • What excites you about your work?
  • What motivates you to take-action?
  • What inspires you to work harder, smarter, faster?
  • Are you restless and easily bored?
  • Are you willing to explore the unknown?
  • Are you interested in making an impact?
  • Do you find yourself questioning the status quo?
  • Do you want to work on the biggest, most challenging issues?
  • Do you take responsibility for your own growth and development?

Professional Toolkit

  • What are the tools, techniques, and models you use at work?
  • What are the theories and processes you rely on to do your work?
  • What are the rules you live by and those you are willing to break?
  • How do you approach problem solving, making decisions, taking risks?
  • How do your beliefs, values and habits influence your actions?
  • How does your attitude, expectations, and behaviors impact others?
  • Do you take shortcuts to leverage what you have already learned?
  • Do you convey a high level of passion and conviction for your work?
  • Do you motivate and inspire others to express themselves freely?

Types of Experiences

  • What types of work experiences appeal to you?
  • What kind of experiences do you learn from?
  • What experiences have challenged you the most?
  • How many strategic initiatives have you worked on?
  • How many new business ventures have you been involved with?
  • How many of your projects have been stretch assignments for you?
  • Which projects required you to take a cross-functional leadership role?
  • Which projects had high visibility and attention of the board?
  • Which projects have been customer facing endeavors?

The answers to these questions are building blocks that direct you to be more traditional or intrapreneurial. They not only influence what you do, they influence how you do them.  They are the internal control system that powers your thinking and actions.

The foundation for these building blocks is grounded and informed by the types of experiences you choose.

Like the OS in your mobile phone the more applications (or in this case experiences) you have the bigger and more diverse your toolkit.  The more difficult and challenging your experiences the greater your motivation and aspirations.  They evolve together, build upon one another, and increase your capacity to do more, be more and achieve more.

Let’s face it.  The handwriting is on the wall.  The concept of a career ladder is gone.  According to Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn “The old paradigm of climb up a stable ladder is dead and gone.  No career is a sure thing anymore.” That means that you are on your own.  You must create your own path forward.

That is fine with Intrapreneurs.  They are not interested in a traditional career path. Intrapreneurs want to be challenged and stretched beyond the boundaries of what they know.

The career path for an intrapreneur is not linear or sequential.  It is a series of starts, stops, exploration, discovery, roadblocks, dead ends, reflections, and learnings.  It is not something you plan for it is something that evolves.  It might manifest itself as a new opportunity, an unsolved problem, a new insight, or addressing an unanswered question.

The more you do, the more you learn, the more value you provide.  These are things that you take with you no matter where you go or what you do.  It is your own internal operating system (IOS) and like any system it gets better over time.

Today, being an intrapreneur is the key to self-preservation and survival. It is no longer a nice to have but an imperative.

Isn’t it time you explored who you are at the core?  Start by looking at your own internal operating system.

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