As a manager, you are likely constantly looking to identify responsible team members who can turn ideas into profitable, finished products through assertive risk-taking and innovation. These are the people who are huge contributors to the success of your department. What you might not know is that there is a name for this type of team member — an intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs are almost always present in companies that embrace the spirit of innovation. Virtually everyone has some internal creativity waiting to be expressed. Empowering these individuals by offering opportunities to express their creativity is one of the easiest ways to expand innovation in your department.
Employee Versus Intrapreneur — What’s the Difference?
Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking isn’t every team member’s skill set. Recognizing the difference between those who possess these abilities (your intrapreneurs) versus those who don’t (your employees) is a key management skill.
So, what are the main differences between an employee and an intrapreneur?
Employee — This team member fulfills the duties of their job description. An employee is focused on succeeding at his or her current position within the company rather than on the overall success of the company or upward advancement. An employee can be quick to run off when a higher paying job comes along due to a focus on what is presented at the time of hire versus the opportunities that may occur down the road.
Intrapreneur — Generally, what you will see in an intrapreneur is a person who creates a broader and more robust job description for himself or herself. An intrapreneur really embraces that caveat at the end of the job description that reads “other duties as assigned,” and eagerly self-assigns those duties! The intrapreneur is focused on looking for ways to grow the company and advance his or her career with leadership experiences rather than just fulfilling the duties presented and getting paid. An intrapreneur will likely stay with a company long term to help grow the business, therefore making it possible to earn a higher salary as the company’s profits increase. The intrapreneur sees the whole picture and knows that as the scales tip for the organization, personal fortune grows as well!
5 Common Characteristics of an Intrapreneur
How can you be certain that you have a true intrapreneur on your team?
Intrapreneurs generally possess the following common characteristics:
- Intrapreneurs are mission-oriented. — Intrapreneurs naturally possess a sense of mission. They are the team members who believe in your company’s mission and have the ability to help you set goals that will successfully grow your department.
- Intrapreneurs are enthusiastic. — Intrapreneurs have a passion for their career. They love the path they have chosen for themselves and work to continually fuel that passion by pushing themselves to be inspired, creative, and successful.
- Intrapreneurs are freedom-seekers. — Intrapreneurs are people with a genuine desire for freedom within their career. They seek opportunities that promote freedom of creativity, as well as flexibility within their environment to enable them to contribute their best to your department’s efforts.
- Intrapreneurs are knowledge-thirsty. — Intrapreneurs are always looking into the future and learning about how they can continually improve. These team members are true lifelong learners.
- Intrapreneurs are visionaries. — Intrapreneurs have a vision for your department. These team members are prepared to share their new ideas for your department and your company.
A strong candidate profile will help you understand the type of person you need for your department before you start interviewing and, as a bonus, you’ll be able to tailor your interview questions and format to find the best qualities for the job.
Want to learn more about how to successfully establish and promote intrapreneurship in your company to generate new business growth, as well as support and sustain innovation? Head on over to Amazon and order a copy of my new book, A Manager’s Guide to Unleashing the Intrapreneur.