As discussed last week, Intrapreneurship is the practice of bringing ideas to life within a company. This week, we will be showing the best methods to create the ideal environment for the Intrapreneur to prosper. Today’s post will be the first part on the top methods for successful Intrapreneurship, and will focus on establishing the proper culture and infrastructure for Intrapreneurship to succeed.
The act of encouraging and establishing a culture to support your young Intrapreneurial workforce can be difficult. How do you change a stable structure and culture that has served to grow your company and its profitability, so you can foster the innovation of the Intrapreneurial spirit? There are a number of methods to make sure the Intrapreneurial spirit succeeds in your company
1. Trust is the first step. Creating an environment of trust has so many beneficial properties that it alone will increase your company’s overall well being and profit. In Dr. Paul Zak’s article, “The Neuroscience of Trust”, he maintains that trust is a measurable metric that will always benefit your company. A comparison between high and low trust companies revealed that high trust companies had:
-74% less stress
-106% more energy at work
-40% less burnout
-13% fewer sick days
-76% more engagement
-29% more satisfaction with their lives
-50% higher productivity
A fifty percent increase of productivity is astounding. Employee well being, through a high trust environment, not only guarantees productivity, but also creates great public relations as 88% of employees would recommend the company to family and friends. In Dr. Zak’s article, he explains the Eight managerial traits necessary for trust to grow. The two traits that companies’ managerial staff scored the lowest on were the ability to recognize excellence and the ability to openly share company information. If your company starts experimenting with these two traits, by incorporating them into your managerial staff, you will see the greatest return, and from there you can begin to incorporate the other six traits.
2. Build an infrastructure, alongside your current one, designed to support and mentor your Intrapreneurs. This may seem unnecessary, especially if you already have a perfectly functioning infrastructure. However, companies who set up a defined system for their Intrapreneurs to succeed saw the greatest results. As discussed last week, Intuit created positions whose function was to mentor the young Intrapreneur. That is a great first step. By having mentors who imbed trust and responsibility into their young employees, while imparting them the skills necessary to succeed, you will have developed a wide base for agile growth in your company’s future, while still maintaining the corporate culture that made your company great to begin with.
3. Set aside funding so that the ideas becomes reality. Marion Chamberlain’s article, “How to Drive Intrapreneurship Within Your Business to Create Truly Great Innovation”, describes how Adobe changed their methodology for funding innovation. Instead of spending millions on a limited number of projects, they used their red box initiative to fund hundreds of projects with smaller amounts. Typically Adobe placed 1000 dollars in each red box, in addition the vital candies and coffee. What great endeavor could succeed without sugar and caffeine? Just as you diversify your assets portfolio, you can diversify your innovation. Intuit also follows this model as they help their employees develop a “product of one”. This “product of one” is a prototype that is designed for a particular customer. If the product is successful, Intuit will scale with the product as it succeeds.
4. Encourage scavenging. Your company is going to have underleveraged resources. By encouraging scavenging, your young Intrapreneurs will capitalize on resources that have been overlooked. Not only will this make underused assets useful, but it will also develop non-traditional problem solving skills that will further lead to unexpected innovations. However, you should not constrain your Intrapreneurs to either a seed fund or a scavenging mentality. Professor Samuel Bacharach of Cornell University, and of the Bacharach Leadership Group, examines how Intrapreneurship can succeed in his article, “Developing and Retaining Your ‘Intrapreneurs’” The seed fund shows trust in your employees and gives them an initial boost to their idea, but in business you can not be constrained by what resources you initially have and must look to other methods to solve problems. So by setting aside seed funds and encouraging scavenging you will tackle developmental constraints from multiple angles, and generates motivation.
While these methods are only a fraction of the many your company can employ to create a successful Intrapreneurial culture, they will begin to generate the results you desire and advance your company’s goals. Stay tuned next week for part two of the top methods to foster Intrapreneurship–where we will go in depth on how to properly recognize your Intrapreneurs and how to organize the creation of Intrapreneurial projects.