Our daily dose of business news is flooded with stories of start- ups and businesses at various stages of their evolution vying for funding. There are many who start their career as entrepreneurs with some of them ideating in college and coming together with friends to do a ‘barsati’ style start-up even while studying. Then we also hear of business leaders who wish to start another innings in their life after having tasted success in a corporate career and possibly have the financial stability to take the plunge. There are many others who in mid-career have been inspired by stories of success and have great ideas and the necessary acumen to get out of the security of the corporate shell and move ahead with ventures.
What about the majority who have the ideas and the acumen, but simply cannot take the plunge due to various reasons – that could be financial commitments, uncertainty of success, ideas that are great but may not find investors due to ‘not being the flavor of the season’. However they remain restless and are eager to make a real impact.
Herein lies the opportunity for the corporation. Why and how can the companies they work for today harness this intrinsic desire and capability to build entrepreneurs within the existing corporate entity where funding and infrastructure already exists.
Here are some reasons why ‘intrapreneurs’ should rise and shine,
- Retaining ‘rising talent’ is something that companies struggle with despite providing great compensation and work culture. The reason being that they are unable to fully harness the potential of the highly ‘talented and restless’ who intrinsically would like to work as entrepreneurs. The company needs to give this talent something to focus on and projects to own with independence to take decisions and drive these projects. Most companies give great projects but fail to recognize the true driver for these employees which is independence of authority to create success. Micro management of these projects is a sure shot recipe for failure
- Many companies are in a state of flux and unable to move forward due to competitive pressures, declining market growth, changing business models that are impacting customer needs and buying behavior. The traditional model would have the management team and other senior leaders coming together to address these challenges and very often it is the same set of people who are brainstorming. But why not use a wider cross section of talent who are possibly closer to the customer and therefore have a better understanding of what needs to be done. It would be very difficult for a consultant to replicate this knowledge pool. Use this talent as intrapreneurs given that they understand market trends and also have a good understanding of the business that could challenge the status quo if given a free hand to find solutions.
- Some great practical and effective point solutions are developed by teams & individuals within the organization. These do not have to be inspired by an innovation tournament but needs to be in the DNA of leaders who wish to drive change. ‘Goliath’ organizations need to be re-programmed as they have a ‘David’ in several corners of the office who need to be identified, nurtured and harnessed to full potential making the organization more future friendly.
The future belongs to organizations and their employees who embrace the entrepreneurial movement. The key questions for business leaders is, ‘how are we motivating and inspiring our employees to maximize their contribution’? And to the employee is, ‘what will get you all charged up to do what you came here to do’?
As I said before, may ‘intrapreneurs rise and shine’