More and more, we are hearing the concept of intrapreneurship within firms. In this article we will offer three ways to program entrepreneurial thinking in your staff to capture those benefits for your firm.
1) Challenge everything.
Entrepreneurs instinctively question processes and the status quo. They aren’t being combative or belligerent. They just don’t have the feature installed in their brains that prevents them from asking why. This feature can be uninstalled in the brains of your employees by simply giving them permission to ask why and making sure that your management team removes the corresponding defensiveness when a question is asked. Make sure it’s clear that “that’s how it’s always been done” is acceptable as an answer, but only as the means to begin a conversation as opposed to a strategy to end it.
Encouraging this type of thinking encourages more circulation of ideas from the bottom to the top, as opposed to traditional top-down only communication. If it’s clear that anyone can simply ask why things are done a certain way without fear of reprisal, and even propose a potentially better way, employees will find their opinions and thoughts to be even more valuable.
By encouraging your employees to network with each other and connect outside of work, not just socially, but in regards to side hustles or passion projects, you can help them build the rich interconnective tissue that most entrepreneurs have had to build by necessity, not just by choice. You can encourage your staff to take opportunities each week to introduce colleagues from the company to those in their own personal networks that share an interest or passion. Many entrepreneurs consider their networks one of the most valuable parts of their arsenal, and encouraging employees to network — without counting the cost — will give them that enduring and rewarding feeling of connecting others.
3) Encourage autonomy.
The more important effect of this is creating autonomous employees who are able to offer tweaks to the business that could increase profitability and process with much less friction and process.
It is clear that while entrepreneurs tend to consistently think and act in certain ways, it doesn’t mean that non-entrepreneurs can’t emulate those behaviors to everyone’s benefit. By taking the lead in encouraging your staff to think entrepreneurially, you’ll not just differentiate your company as a challenging and engaging place to work, but you’re likely to birth great innovations from within your own firm instead of reading about how other firms came up with them first.