The rise of the intrapreneur

I was talking with a friend recently about a role she was struggling to fill on her team.

“I’ve tried a few people already in this role and it hasn’t worked. You know who I really want? Someone who is tired of running their own business and wants to work with someone else… I feel like they would get it and have the drive I’m looking for.”

On the other side of the coin, I have another friend who has owned and run successful businesses for over 20 years and decided to temporarily shut down her business a couple of years ago to take a sabbatical.

In her words “I was tired of my business. Tired of the hustle. Tired of the grind. The thought of letting my business go felt like freedom to me, and so I shut it down and spent the next year as part of the executive team for another business.”

There is a middle ground opening up between having a job and having our own business. Between being an employee vs. an entrepreneur.

It’s the intrapreneur.

Put simply, an intrapreneur is someone who brings the characteristics of an entrepreneur into the work they are doing for another business. Talked about often in corporate circles, the intrapreneur has a lot to offer to smaller businesses as well.

Vision. Drive. Passion. Innovation. Ownership. Experience.

They can plug into the vision of the company and see the possibilities.

They have the drive to own a project and make it happen, with the ability to tap into the resources of the company they work for.

They can focus their energy on work they do best, vs. trying to get better at things they aren’t good at.

They take ownership of a specific project or division and have the freedom to create results in their own way.

And if they have the experience of running their own business, they bring a level of insight into ‘what it takes’ to make things happen.

The benefit to the intrapreneur – the ability to do their best work and create results, without having to carry the ‘weight’ of the entire business on their shoulders.

I’ve spoken with countless individuals over the past few years who are done with their business. They are tired of the hustle. Tired of the heaviness of total responsibility. Tired of the constant struggle to find or manage clients. Tired of having to jump in when a team member drops a ball. Tired of working too many hours for what often feels like a small return.

They are also lonely.

And yet – they can’t imagine having to go get a job. Having to fit into someone else’s mold. Being told what to do and when to do it.

What if having to ‘get a job’ wasn’t the only option for the disillusioned business owner?

The benefit to the business hiring an intrapreneur – someone who isn’t afraid to take ownership of a project/division and be responsible for the results.

I’ve worked with small business owners now for over a decade in hiring and building teams, and they are equally as tired.

Tired of trying to find good people. Tired of trying to manage and motivate people. Feeling like they are spending all of their time telling them what to do, how to do it and chasing them down to make sure it gets done. Having high standards of work that it seems no one can meet.

At times it can feel like the only option is to do it all themselves, even when they KNOW they need support to take things to the next level.

The number one request I hear from business owners is that they want to hire a ‘self motivated’ individual – someone who bring the intrapreneur characteristics of plugging into the big picture, seeing what needs to be done and taking ownership to make it happen.

I can’t help but wonder – what is possible when we each stop trying to ‘do it all’ and instead look to come together and bring our best in the pursuit of a common goal?

How much more successful could we be when we join forces? When both the risk and the reward are shared?

There are key shifts to be made on boths sides to ensure this kind of relationship works – if you would like me to write another article on these shifts comment below and say ‘more please’. I’m happy to write a ‘part 2’ if it would be helpful. 🙂

And in the meantime, may you know and own your brilliance… and marinate in the possibility of what is created when we come together.

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