Intrapreneurs are a relatively new prospect not to be confused with entrepreneurs. Any employee who develops innovative ideas can be considered an intrapreneur.
What Is the Difference Between Intrapreneurs and Entrepreneurs?
The main difference between intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs is that the latter deal with the risks, as well as the gains, whereas the first doesn’t face any risks — the company does it instead.
Nevertheless, intrapreneurs have access to company resources. Because not everyone can develop innovative ideas as easily even when proper training has been set, intrapreneurs have greater privileges to make financial decisions in the matter of their projects. They are also given the freedom and the necessary time to develop the projects in a much similar way entrepreneurs do.
Contrary to popular belief, intrapreneurs are rarely solo workers. Just like they have access to company finances, they also have access to the personnel and can ask for any expert they think will help them develop their ideas.
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While entrepreneurs are charged with developing a company from scratch, intrapreneurs deal with developing an already established company. Intrapreneurs often come up with unpopular ideas including applying drastic changes to the company culture, products, services, and established traditions. Because not everyone can envision the same goal, not everyone is happy with this prospect.
Where Do Integrators Come In?
While they might sound the same and carry many of the same characteristics, the real difference with integrators is that they are visionaries who come in with innovative ideas, leadership skills, and the emotional intelligence to bring your company to the next level.
In short, they are doers, rather than just thinkers. So, they bridge the gap nicely between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, especially if you have the right integrator. In fact, you’ll discover that many integrators can just as easily change your business for the better as well.
Why do Companies Need Intrapreneurs?
An increasing number of companies are beginning to realize that employing intrapreneurs and allowing them to work as they think they should is the optimum way to improve the business model and help entire companies evolve even faster than you might expect.
An intrapreneur is knowledgeable about technologies and policies that can help a business improve its scope of operations, whether it’s a major corporation or you decided to start your own online business. Simply put, intrapreneurs develop the exact skills needed to solve targeted issues that can make or break a company in a number of ways.
It’s exactly because of that that intrapreneurs sometimes turn into full-time entrepreneurs, especially if their company is reluctant to apply their unpopular model changes (which happens quite often).
However, having an intrapreneur in a company means there will be a reliable, well-informed person capable of making sound decisions in the face of challenges. Intrapreneurs are always up to date and keep analyzing the trends and marketing examples — which can sometimes change unexpectedly fast. Because of that, they can always make educated decisions that help the company stay ahead of the competition.
Having just one intrapreneur in a company can make a huge difference for a business in a competitive field. These people are visionaries, but unlike the selfless visionaries fighting for the common good, they base their decisions on reason and research rather than on moral values.
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It is exactly because of this that their proposals sometimes lead to misunderstandings. But, isn’t this always the case with people ahead of their time? Mediocrities are all around us and there aren’t many people willing to sacrifice their comforts or even make an effort to attempt continual education when they can perform their duties routinely and get stable salaries for that.
Do you see an oxymoron in this fact? If you do, there’s no question whether you should hire an intrapreneur.
How to Best Utilize Intrapreneurs’ Skills for Frontline Teams?
In the beginning, when an intrapreneur has just joined the team, allow some time for employees to get to know his/her mindset. It is also advisable to organize workshops and team-building activities where all employees will have a say. This breaks the tension that may arise from any changes likely to follow. As intrapreneurs come up with the likes of construction checklists, new protocols, and ideas for on-field management software, it’s important that the entire team is on the same page.
Good intrapreneurs often become executives – if they don’t decide to turn entrepreneurs, that is. Because they are capable of making critical changes no matter how unpopular they are, these people can transform whole companies into more successful versions of themselves over time.
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Arguably the most important this is that intrapreneurs inspire growth in people with intrapreneurship capabilities. They know all too well that the more people capable of envisioning the big picture there are, the faster the company will progress and become the best workplace for all employees, even those frontline employees who often feel as if they aren’t lept “in the loop.”
Likewise, the more good ideas there are, the greater the freedom to combine approaches and reach the goals faster and more efficiently, with fewer risks.
That’s why your intrapreneurs should be given the autonomy and the freedom they need to explore new field service trends.
Can Anyone Become an Intrapreneur?
As mentioned above, intrapreneurs are visionaries. Can anyone become enlightened? That seems to be a question for philosophers rather than for business people, but as far as intrapreneurs are concerned, the answer depends on two factors:
- Employees’ motivation
- Employee benefits
Again, unlike other visionaries, intrapreneurs work for money. They won’t move mountains to make everyone’s salary better if they themselves aren’t offered some kind of suitable compensation (which is not always of monetary nature). Some intrapreneurs simply enjoy innovation, but they still need to feed themselves and their families, where applicable.
That is to say, if you build a culture that encourages idea exchange and motivates people to think outside the box, chances are, some of them will discover they have the potential to make innovative decisions that can help the business prosper.
That’s why the opportunity to participate in workshops and get-togethers is crucial in a healthy workspace. Don’t force the employees not interested in the matter; rather, encourage those who are willing to participate.
Typically, intrapreneurs are motivated individuals with keen leadership skills who are versed in innovation. Even when they have daily tasks that don’t stand out much from others, their potential can be pinpointed by noticing their manners. These people are capable of thinking several steps ahead, envisioning long-term results if certain steps are undertaken.
If you notice such employees in your team, encourage them to brainstorm ideas and listen to what they have to say without judging their methods.
Everything considered intrapreneurs are a great addition to any team. The most important thing to remember is that these people should be allowed access to company resources and other means. They should be allowed to present their ideas to inspire others and to choose who is to work with them on developing target projects.
All in all, if you can give intrapreneurs the autonomy they need to achieve the best results, your company is certain to prosper.