Not all entrepreneurs are wide-eyed dreamers who strike it lucky. They’re very often just people particularly driven by opportunity.
They may exist in your organization, and you don’t even know it.
We call them intrapreneurs and they are different from entrepreneurs in that they take their idea-seeking spirit within a large organization. When that spirit is applied to business issues it can help invent, innovate, and keep the organization successfully managing change.
Intrapreneurs will change your business.
So how do we identify these people within organizations? There are six good indicators you already have some intrapreneurs that can add value to your innovation mission:
1. Seeks the counsel of others Intrapreneurs follow the beat of their own drum, yet the successful intrapreneurs will respect those people who have more experience than them. They will consistently seek advice and insight from others.
2. Perseveres when others would quit Intrapreneurs set good habits for themselves. When given a task, they stick to it. They are passionate about their projects and strive to overcome any obstacle, frustration, or setback that may come their way.
3. Holds a positive outlook Intrapreneurs are enthusiastic. They are the people who hold your organization together when things are not going well. For example, when a project fails, a positive intrapreneur views the setback as a learning opportunity and applies that lesson toward solving a business goal.
4. Knows learning is a journey “You are not a finished product. If you don’t keep evolving, you start dying,” says Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. Intrapreneurs are constantly looking for new ways to learn, and they almost never turn down an opportunity to try something new. They may choose to surround themselves by people, specifically groups they know either nothing about or actually oppose, and talk with them.
5. Faces uncertainty head on Intrapreneurs don’t succumb to pressure. They follow their instincts with a strong sense of pragmatism and resilience. “You are made that way; you do not know how to do it otherwise,” says Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani.
6. Asks for forgiveness, not permission Intrapreneurs would rather act first and seek approval later. They have the ability to see something that doesn’t yet exist and will try to move their idea forward. They have the courage to promote their ideas even when others may be hesitant.
Overall, intrapreneurs integrate themselves as a part of a team structure, embracing and embodying the culture of their organization. They are employees waiting to be challenged. Present them with an interesting opportunity, and they will naturally surface.