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The Careerist: Making the Most of Intrapreneurship

LearnAlyssa Davis
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

"Throughout history, people with new ideas--who think differently and try to change things--have always been called troublemakers.” – Richelle Mead

The Entrepreneur On The Inside

Intrapreneurship: a concept we love to love. The rebel of the corporate world. The risk-taker. The people's person. The romanticism of the intrapreneur lies in the idea that anyone with a good enough vision can make a difference in any company at any time and strike gold – great in theory, not always so great in practice. So what is it that makes a successful entrepreneur on the inside actually successful?

The team. The myth of the intrapreneur is that they are a lone wolf off to change the world within the safety blanket of a company, but those ideas likely won't come to fruition without the backing of the people that can support the vision and see it through to completion. No man (or woman) is an island. Innovation needs to be ingrained within the company culture in order to promote this kind of risk-taking and forward motion. Here are a few of our favorite ways to improve intrapreneurship in the office:

  • Lead by example. It's one thing to talk about innovation, it's another to implement it. If you lead people, take risks yourself (whether they be financial or operational). Setting a precedent for the types of decisions you make allows people to follow suit. If you don't lead people, you can still take risks within your workspace that inspire your team to take their own risks in their work.

  • Make space for error. Micromanaging doesn't promote healthy risk-taking – no adult wants their hand held while they do their job. Making room for mistakes means having open lines of communication about what worked and what didn't so that there is growth instead of shame. Be honest about your own failures, while highlighting how you're going to change your approach the next time around.

  • Don't get too comfortable. If you're not growing, you're dying. Just because something has always worked before, it doesn't mean it'll work forever. Be a thinker – always consider what would happen if you tried something a different way or approached a problem in another manner. This kind of thinking becomes second nature after awhile and can make you an invaluable asset.