There was an interesting study released last year that found “58% of managers are either very willing or extremely willing to support employees who want to capitalize on a new business opportunity within their company.”
Why would managers want to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit in employees?
Because they realize that instead of letting these innovative thinkers go, it’s better for business to have them remain on the team.
If you find yourself in this situation, because you’re a intrapreneur, then you may want to try out these five strategies that your CEO will definitely fall in love with.
Go to events and research disruptive technologies and companies that will affect your business.
With the rise of the mobile office, and with more and more work being done from home, a lot of people view successful 21st century companies as being made in the garage and with the bulk of the work done in your pjs. While this may be true in those early startup days, it’s not true of most companies. You have to get up and work your tail off to make it work.
Industry events are where the future of your business lies – both at the actual conferences but more importantly at the bars where the real handshakes occur after the sun goes down. This is where the movers and shakers meet, where the hot new companies unveil themselves, and is exactly where you need to be in order to find all the new players in your corner of the world that are going to change the game for your business.
Write a report about how your company can positively change to take advantage of the growth opportunities.
There are two kinds of companies in the world; the first kind thinks it’s the best at what it does and tends to focus on maintaining the status quo; the second is just as good at getting the job done but knows that in order to grow and remain a healthy company, it must continue to provide better value to it’s clients and customers, create more efficient processes, and overall continue to adapt to an ever-changing world. Guess which company will thrive in the long term?
Once a year, prepare a report for your entire company that addresses change and how each department and employee can embrace that change in order to keep the business moving in a positive direction. This change starts with the CEO and continues down the totem pole. Discuss adapting to new technologies (you know, the ones you learned about at that industry conference!), new operating procedures, and overall new way of thinking about the business. Motivate your team to follow suit and your company will continue to grow.
Research how your competitors are innovating and adapting and develop strategies for your company to do the same. Often people like the CEO can not ask competitors how they are doing things but lower level people across companies can share.
People tend to view competition as the enemy, and while that sometimes can be true, there is that old saying about keeping “your friends close and your enemy closer”. The reasoning behind that is that in business, much like in war, the one with the knowledge of what the competition is doing will often be the one that prevails.
Develop processes and documentation to gain insight on what your competitors are doing, from both their internal developments with things like technology and operations, but also their PR and marketing efforts. Have scheduled meetings to discuss the competition and how your own efforts stand up to theirs. In every business knowledge is power and those with their pulse to the ground will have the upper hand.
Be an innovator and organize a company creative session to see how the company can move forward and innovate. Start an intrapreneurship group of people who want to make positive changes.
Not everyone in your company is going to share the same enthusiasm and zeal that you do when it comes to innovation. As a matter of fact, you’ll find that some employees simply do not have the character trait to think about what may be best for your company down the road. That does not mean they are not a good fit for your team — they just might have other talents and abilities and should focus on those tasks that they provide results with.
You’ll want to find the true innovators in your team and organize a special mastermind group for them. Schedule monthly meetings for this group where the sole purpose of each meeting is to introduce and follow-up on new ideas and innovations. With all the positive energy each team member brings you’ll start to see these ideas come to life and impact the direction of your company.
Find out how your CEO wants to move the company forward and how you can work as an intrapreneur to make that happen.
Now that you have some actual methods to your innovation madness, it’s time to talk to the boss and find out how to lay the groundwork for your company. There are a lot of roads that you can take, and without a high-level outline of which one you should take, you may end up innovating your way to failure.
Talk to the CEO — there is a good reason he holds that job title. He is the one with the vision and gut instincts that ultimately drive all the decisions that get made in your company. He might not have all the answers, which is why he or she hired you to do the grunt work and find out what works best for the business. Let his ideals and direction guide you in determining the goals you want to target, and then ultimately determine which new tools and strategies you’ll need in order to achieve them.
Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, business advisor, and a columnist at Inc.com and Entrepreneur.com. He runs a PR agency Influence People based in San Francisco and is the author of “How to Get PR for Your Startup: Traction.”