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What is an Intrapreneur?

By Alicia Croke

    Sun, Feb 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM Accountable Leaders & Teams

    Recently, I have been running into the term intrapreneur over and over again on LinkedIn. So, I decided to What is an Intrapreneur?educate myself and see what all the fuss was about.

    The proper definition of an intrapreneur is "an employee of a large corporation who is given freedom and financial support to create new products, services, systems, etc., and does not have to follow the corporation's usual routines or protocols." Intrapreneurs are different from your typical employees.

    Here are a few ways you might find the intrapreneurs in your business:

    1. Financial gains do not necessarily drive them. According to an article in Forbes"An intrapreneur 'gets it' and does their work in a way that shows the organization they are someone it can’t afford to lose. The money and advancement finds them." 

    2. They understand trends, and they know where they need to take the company. Who wouldn't want an employee to be forward thinking? According to an article in Inc, "Any successful company must have some intrapreneurs to see future trends and meet them before their competitors do."

    3. Intrapreneurs do not fear change or failure. According to the Forbes article, "It isn’t outward bravado that drives them but an inner confidence and courage that every step takes them closer to their ultimate goal." 

    4. They are creative, which ties in nicely to their lack of fear of failure. According to an article in Entrepreneur"Unlocking creativity and finding that spark of ingenuity is how successful intrapreneurs separate themselves from the pack." 

    5. Balancing is one of their core characteristics. They like to innovate, but they also understand the needs of the company. The Entrepreneur article stated, "A key component of intrapreneurship is the ability to balance multiple, often completely separate skill sets and responsibilities." 


    At Rhythm Systems, we have quite a lot of intrapreneurs; our employees know they have to take risks to solve complex problems. Patrick Thean likes to say to our new hires, "I can't wait to see you fail big!" Once they get over a shock like that, they usually see that we mean it. We can't grow and innovate if we aren't constantly trying new things!

    How are you encouraging your employees to be more intrapreneurial? Do you allow them to take risks, more importantly, do you allow them to fail and fail often?

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    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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