The way businesses are being run is changing from containing employees to empowering them. Organizations are realizing that every employee needs to see themselves as the CEO of their own brand. Each employee should be empowered to contribute to the success of their role and be the boss of their own role within the department. This is leading to much discussion about intrapreneurs which are entrepreneurs within an organization. This provides a healthy environment where workers get the opportunity to run their own venture within the company. This empowerment puts the onus of integrity, ownership and accountability over their role and KPIs.
I started at HootSuite in 2011 as their corporate sales trainer. In an effort to have our sales team eat our own dog food, I eagerly explored how to use the platform to gives our team an advantage. This led to a research and exploration phase in which I stepped out of my conventional role in order to find more ways that a B2B sales team could utilize platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and others. My searching yielded very few results outside other than Social Selling University and the great work Koka Sexton was doing. For the first time ever, I couldn’t have just “Googled it” and got all the answers. Rather than be discouraged, I took this as an opportunity and personal challenge to create content and try and shape an idea that I knew would soon have steam.
One of the many reasons why HootSuite was such a great organization for me was that they encouraged me to run with the idea, and got support from the sales and marketing leadership team to plan and execute a webinar which ended up being the most registered and attended webinar to that point in time. The company also provided me the opportunity to blog regularly and input on marketing materials. This type of thinking is what make organizations successful – companies who leverage internal thought leaders and do things as a collective will succeed and leave silo-ed and rigid organizations immobilized while having their competitive advantages and economies of scale reduced as a result.
Some ask what other benefits exist since it seems that it’s hard to justify loosening and readjusting current process that exist to contain employees in their repetitive and process-driven routines? These employees are not driven by money, they are driven by the success of their roles and above all, they are driven by the success of the company. It is this reason why they step out of their given role to explore initiatives outside the box.
These values create a great culture and work environment that breed success. We see many companies forming a “lab” or idea incubator team within their organization. Having intrapreneurs is like doing this organically. You can give them an idea and they will take the initiative to take it from idea to reality with minimal hand-holding.
Make intrapreneurial traits something your organization looks for, hires for, and covets.