Intrapreneurship has been an evolution not a revolution. As it has matured so has our understanding of the nuances, contradictions and conflicts inherent in the role of intrapreneur.

Intrapreneurs have been on their own trajectory. Evolving at their own pace, in their own way to achieve a deeper and richer appreciation for what it means and what it takes be an intrapreneur. The role has also evolved as organizations have started to adopt, embrace, and integrate Intrapreneurship into their organizations.

For years the evolution of Intrapreneurs and Intrapreneurship have been out of sync but things are coming into alignment.

At a time when much of the world seems out of balance we find that Intrapreneurs in particular are personally and professionally striving to find the right mix, balance and path forward for themselves and their organizations.

Consciously or unconsciously Intrapreneurs have been moving their companies forward toward a more intrapreneurial orientation.  They have been the pioneers charting a new course and exploring the depths of what is possible and not possible. It has always been a balancing act for intrapreneurs.

A key part of this is the energy and effort that Intrapreneurs have put into their work to learn the ins and outs of being an intrapreneur.  Often they have been on their own, learning as they go, testing ideas and experimenting with new ways of working.  Pushing the limits of what is acceptable behavior and testing the patience of their bosses and the organization.

They now understand what it takes to be on the other side of the great divide between the core business and the new.  They see the business more clearly through both lenses. These valuable lessons have given them the insight to understand the limitations of the core business and those of the new businesses they are building. These experiences have been invaluable.

The value lies in finding the right balance between all the potential conflicts that exist between these two worlds.  For intrapreneurs it becomes a more personal and professional challenge or choice.  They must decide where the stand and then work from that vantage point to address the issues inherent in their role. Every intrapreneur will have to find their own balance.

Here are some of things that intrapreneurs must come to grips with in their role. They represent both sides – the core and new business. Most of them are at odds with one another and create tension, conflict and division between people and in the organization.

Balance Issues Include:

  1. Passion – Core versus New Business – Where is your passion?
  2. Leadership – Traditional versus Intrapreneurial – What are your leadership traits?
  3. Posture – Loyal or Independent – How do you relate to the organization?
  4. Approach – People or Process – How do you approach work?
  5. Goals – Profit or Purpose – What are you trying to achieve?
  6. Priorities – Short versus Long Term – Where is your focus?
  7. Results – Revenue versus Value – How do you define success?
  8. Competence – Conformity or Differentiation – What makes you stand out?
  9. Creativity – Incremental versus Disruptive – How visionary are your ideas?
  10. Compassion – Tough Minded or Empathic – Are you realistic or compassionate?
  11. Relationships – Competitive or Collaborative – How do you relate to others?
  12. Presence – Poised versus Passionate – How do others perceive you at work?
  13. Engagement – Direction or Autonomy – What keeps you engaged?
  14. Self-Awareness – Confident or Competent – How well do you know yourself?
  15. Motivation – Exploitation or Exploration – What keeps you motivated?
  16. Mindset – Challenge versus Possibility – How do you see the world?
  17. Thinking Process – Logical or Creative – How do you collect and process information?
  18. Decision Making – Factual or Intuitive – How do you make decisions?
  19. Taking Action – Task or Action Oriented – How proactive are you at work?
  20. Influences – Knowledge or Experience – What inspires you to take action?

Of course there are other things we could put on this list but these are some of the things that Intrapreneurs deal with every day.  The list is not what is important or which side of the balance sheet you find yourself on.  The list represents all the things that co-exist simultaneously.  Things that by their very nature are out of balance.

The goal is not to be on one side or the other but to understand the dynamics that exist between them. Recognizing that many of the obstacles and roadblocks that Intrapreneurs encounter revolve around these differences.  To know them you must first experience them and that is what Intrapreneurs have been doing over the last several years.

Only by knowing where you stand on each of these aspects of work will you be able to see them more clearly in others. Take a minute to go through this list, answer the questions and decide where you think you are.

When we think of Intrapreneurs, we think of them leaning more to one side than the other when it comes to this list but in reality we are seeing Intrapreneurs finding a middle ground that works for them and the organization.  They are leveraging what they’ve learned and weighing the tradeoffs between moving forward and standing still. As a result they are more effective in their role and able to move their projects forward more quickly.

The key to true intrapreneurial leadership is learning how to co-exist in both the core and new business at the same time and finding common ground that enables things to keep moving.  It is a balancing act.

Not only for the intrapreneur but for the organization as well.


Note:  To download a PDF chart of these balance issues click here: Finding Balance


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