John McGrath

CEO of American Collegiate Acquisitions (ACA)

Category: Intrepreneur

Entrepreneurs & Intrapreneurs work together to build success

Entrepreneurs & Intrapreneurs

In the 1980’s, management consultant Gifford Pinchot coined the term “Intrapreneurs” in reference to employees who are given the opportunity to develop new products and ideas from within a company. If identified and fostered properly, intrapreneurs can play an invaluable role in keeping the company highly competitive.

Teamwork creates success in a business

Teamwork creates success for a thriving business

Especially useful for businesses that rely on innovation, intrapreneurs are the individuals behind the internal ideas being explored. They are generally more comfortable for exploration within the structure of an established institution.

Forbes contributor and Fishbowl founder David K. Williams identified several common traits of successful intrapreneurs, including an exhaustive interest in finding non-economic ways to prove their own value, an intrinsic and determined ability to grow ideas without fearing failure or change, and, most importantly, confidence, humility, and deep-seeded integrity. “Tomorrow’s world of work ecosystems will be driven by the increasing ranks of intrepreneurs [sic],” Williams concluded.

Intrapreneurs especially thrive in a fast-paced  environment. They typically are naturally observant, reflective and adaptive — they love finding creative solutions from multiple points within business constructs. The intrapreneur’s mind is always working. They are architects of new ideas, new plans and generally better at  executing strategic plans. They often work very well with an entrepreneur.

Many entrepreneurs are also intrapreneurs. They are not mutually exclusive talents within one individual. The best way for a company to succeed is to encourage both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial spirit in its culture. Challenging the status quo often leads to positive paradigm shifts within the organization.

Entrepreneur in the Digital Age

The Entrepreneur in the Digital Age

Digital advances are meant to increase productivity and efficiency.

But do they? Yes and no.

Indeed, the ‘office’ has expanded outside the brick and mortar environment so prevalent just a decade ago. Tech savvy entrepreneurs are mobile, no longer confined to any one workspace. Business travelers can receive most (if not all) publications online, including major news sources, accessible through laptops, smartphones and tablets. CEOs and Presidents can stay current — all the time, constantly, and quickly.

Digital has become so essential that $1.36 trillion will be added to the top ten economies by 2020.

GDP digital uplift by year 2020

GDP digital uplift by year 2020

However, there comes inadvertent drawbacks from too much technology, which may encumber certain aspects of work, and life.  A study by PLoS One revealed that too much web interaction can increase unhappiness, and that face-to-face time with people improves mood, trust and communication. Unfortunately, that news may present major complications. An entrepreneur can never be “offline”, there is no such option.  ‘Connection’ is omnipresent, but can wireless connection actually connect a business head to his or her employees?

In order to do so, successful entrepreneurs have to play a pivotal role in keeping passion and inspiration in the workplace where it belongs. By creating changes in daily operations, leaders will increase authentic (non-Cloud-based) manager/employee connectivity.

Decoupling Productivity & Employment Chart

Decoupling Productivity & Employment Chart

According to a New York Times article on Decoupling Productivity and Employment, “[…] we can improve their [employees’] prospects greatly by investing in infrastructure, reforming education at all levels and encouraging entrepreneurs to invent the new products, services and industries that will create jobs.”

So how does an entrepreneur or intrapreneur accomplish this?

Talent Cultivation. Leadership should offer educational initiatives within the company to inspire employees and keep them engaged in the mission statement of the organization. When a leader invests in the well-being of his or her workers inside and outside working hours, this investment can act as a vehicle for the maintenance of transparent communication.

CEO in the Middle. Transparency should be another name for trust, but oftentimes, it is not. A CEO who looks at employees from a management level can exert transparency but trust is critically important. Intrapreneurs who are the most successful at obtaining trust are ones who are in the trenches alongside their workers. Those who roll up their sleeves and work through the middle have the most success than those who work from atop.

The framework of the work culture has changed drastically in just two decades, mostly for good, but the checks and balances of the increased efficiency must be monitored and tempered regularly by senior level executives. Shifts which encourage more face-to-face interaction can change the work dynamic in positive directions.

Research contribution: A. Anderson

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