My companies are values based. We have twenty values, or ‘tenets’, that provide us with guidelines that enable us to operate without strings. They are part of our Outside-In® culture. Everyone knows it is up to us to live them and reinforce them at work. This is the “village rules” mentality!
From a practical standpoint, we focus on one tenet every week. This is our way of bringing each one to life as we live it, reward it, recognize it and hold all to be accountable to it. Our tenet for this week is Intrapreneurial. We are often teased because it seems like a made-up word, but that’s okay – Shakespeare made up words for his plays all the time! Over 1,700 in fact. Do the words advertising, champion, or fashionable sound familiar? Yep, Shakespeare invented them.
So, made-up word or not…what does intrapreneurial mean anyway? Well, we recently decided to put the skepticism to rest once and for all, and look up the word in the dictionary. The definition we found for intrapreneur was, “A person within a corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.”
So, there you have it. Intrapreneurs are entrepreneurs within a company. Is your head spinning, yet? If it is, stay with me. Being intrapreneurial is when employees take an entrepreneur’s mindset, an ownership mindset. Entrepreneurs take risks, make decisions, explore new ideas or create unique products or solve challenging business problems. Why can’t employees do that too? They can and…they do.
We have an environment that mimics entrepreneurship, where everyone has an ownership mindset, without the financial risk of course. We want our team to know how to think and make decisions as entrepreneurs. To gather information and analyze it. To know what it takes to be one.
Our tenets have value to more than just our employees. Being intrapreneurial means our customers interact with employees that are empowered to make things happen, to make informed and thoughtful decisions. Have you ever heard an entrepreneur say “Sorry, I have to ask my supervisor.”? No. And I never want my staff to sound, or worse yet, feel that way in business.
We just want our team members to take direct responsibility. As a team of intrapreneurs, we add value to our teammates, our environment, and our customers. We desire innovation and we encourage risk-taking – the same kind that Shakespeare showed when he decided to add 1,700 new words to the English language. Imagine what the editors and colleagues in his theater company thought when he unveiled these new words.…Who is this guy? What type of person has the guts to do that?
My answer? An intrapreneur.