The rise of the intrapreneur (part 2)

Mar 23, 2019

This is part two of an article I shared last week re: the rise of the intrapreneur. (You can read the first article here if you missed it.)

There are 3 shifts to be made as we come together in this new way of working. But first I want to clarify one thing.

Intrapreneur is a MINDSET – not a role.

There are many different roles that an intrapreneur can play in a business. They might be tech focused or marketing focused. They might be coming in to manage projects or make sales.

One of the key distinctions of an intrapreneur is that they OWN their expertise, and are clear on the value they bring to a business. Which leads to our first shift…

Shift #1 – paying for the RESULT and not the time it takes to do the work

When hiring an intrapreneur you are hiring someone who is clear on the RESULT they can create in the business, and they are willing to OWN this result.

Imagine you want to create a new website for lead generation and you have two choices:

  1. Person A who does great work at a reasonable rate, but doesn’t make any promises as to whether or not the website will work for you.
  2. Person B who does great work at 4x the rate of the first person, and they also include a guarantee that the website will bring in a minimum amount of leads within the first 6 months, with a bonus structure for meeting certain growth goals beyond that minimum.

The first instance is (still) the most common scenario in many cases, as it is based on the ‘old school’ method of paying people for time. Paying people to ‘get stuff done’ regardless of how effective it may be.

The second instance asks us to step up on both sides.

  • It’s asking the intrapreneur to ‘put some skin in the game’ and own the results they are being hired to create.
  • It’s asking the hirer to invest more upfront and to be willing to pay an incentive as certain milestones are met

It is a shift in the balance of risk & reward – when the intrapreneur is willing to take on more risk (to OWN a result) they get to share in more of the reward (the amount being paid.)

Shift #2 – FREEDOM to do it their way

If you have solid processes and systems that you want people to follow – aka “here’s how we do things around here” – an intrapreneur is probably not going to be what you need (in that particular role at least.)

When someone is willing to own a result, they also need to be free to create that result in their own way. In the way they know works. Or to experiment with ways to do things differently to get to the same result (especially important when we are asking them to bring creative thinking and innovation to the table!)

An intrapreneur is going to be driven by freedom – and if you stifle that freedom they aren’t going to be able to do their best work, and probably won’t stick around for long.

This may mean they do things differently than you would do them and that can feel uncomfortable for some of us. So long as they are producing the result you have mutually agreed upon (as per Shift #1) it’s good to give them all the freedom they need.

Shift #3 – working WITH vs. working for

Intrapreneurs want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to make a meaningful contribution to a big vision. They need to know that they work they are doing matters.

The old school way of ‘working for a boss’ is demotivating for the intrapreneur. Of being put in a box based on their role. Of feeling like their contribution isn’t valued or their ideas aren’t welcome.

Likewise this puts all the pressure on the leader as the person ‘at the top’. To be the one making all decisions. Being the hub of the business. Responsible for everything in a ‘buck stops here’ kinda way.

When we shift to a working WITH mindset we are sharing the journey together. Making decisions together. Brainstorming together. Problem solving together. We openly invite ideas from all sources in the business. When we honor each person for their strengths and contribution.

A culture of working WITH opens up the door to another level of success for everyone involved.

I’m curious…

Are you looking to BE or HIRE an intrapreneur? Which of these three shifts is most important to you or feels like the biggest challenge?


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