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The Top 10 Steps to Create an Intrapreneurial Environment

What would be the results of everyone in your business actively seeking for the corporation new opportunities, new markets, additional sales, increased billings? There are two Phases in creating the intrapreneurial workplace. This Top 10 addresses Phase I, development of the corporate intrapreneurial environment. See also the companion Top 10 addressing phase II, The Top10 Steps For Developing Intrapreneurial Staff.

1. Understand what you mean by intrapreneurialism in your corporation.

Before setting out to create this environment you had better know exactly what is sought. What are you looking for from your staff and what are the desired results?

2. Revisit your corporate mission, vision and values (or develop them!).

Appropriately chosen and fully understood, these help staff understand where your company is going and which opportunities might represent the stepping-stones. Your values define the behaviours and standards expected to be demonstrated in everything done in the corporation's name. Are your corporate mission, vision and values appropriate for developing an intrapreneurial environment or do they need amending?

3. Is your workplace free of interdepartmental and interdisciplinary

If your people are to be continually alert to opportunities for all departments of your corporation, opportunities which they ensure are followed up, there is no room for action to be compromised by petty jealousies. Think of the way in which teamwork too will benefit following elimination of these toxic emotions.

4. Review your staff retention figures and do what is necessary.

Why would you develop the nation's most intrapreneurial staff only to have them hired away by the competition as soon as they become effective? Compare your staff turnover with similar corporations, practices, businesses and strive to be the continental leader in staff retention. Look at the quantity of work and number of staff. Are the figures compatible? Consider wages, salaries, working conditions, staff training and development, the degree to which your people are acknowledged and encouraged to stretch in terms of personal and professional development. Do what is necessary to make your corporation a Sustainable Workplace(TM).

5. Develop descriptions of your target markets, target clients for today, tomorrow and the era beyond.

Continually collect information about your target markets. Not only who, what, where and expected developments but what do its representatives read, where do they go and what can you contribute to help them reach their goals? Who are your most profitable clients or accounts today? How do you see this changing in future? Who do you enjoy working with? What new markets are you anticipating? Is there a client sector which creates so much friction you will not serve it? Who do you want to add to your client list? Who do you want to delete?

6. Do all staff understand the range of services and products offered by your corporation?

How can opportunities be maximised unless everyone understands what the corporation produces and wants to produce? What sort of problems does your business solve? Ensure that all staff, regardless of their positions, can describe these characteristics of the corporation and more importantly, their benefits for customers. Give everyone in the company the language of your industry regardless of their primary responsibility and why not include some of your suppliers and customers/clients to enable them to make referrals with more confidence?

7. What guidelines will you give staff on the time to be spent on
intrapreneurial activities?

Your staff are already fully committed during the working day applying the primary skills for which you employed them. How much time may they devote to intrapreneurialism and when? Will each person follow up the opportunities they recognise or alternatively refer them to a designated person or department?

8. Collect stories supporting your corporation's expertise.

Ensure that extraordinary achievements during each campaign, project, contract, start-up are recorded: the 'firsts,' unique approaches, innovations, incredibly fast deliveries, techniques which significantly reduced costs or increased quality. This information adds zest to promotional and networking conversations and is also great ammunition for brochures and responses to Requests For Proposals.

9. Install systems to support the intrapreneurial effort and avoid duplication.

Ensure there is a model for ensuring that each lead is followed by one person only. Arrange a referral model for people able to recognise opportunities but less comfortable in pursuing them. What else do you need to have in place? Do it!

10. Reward intrapreneurialism.

How can you encourage an intrapreneurial attitude among your staff without the rewards of successful entrepreneurialism? Alternatives are not limited to financial incentives. Options might include involvement with the project, recognition before peers, a celebratory dinner for staffer and partner complete with limo service, donations to staffer's favourite charity, a leader's jersey/T-shirt/jacket based on the idea of the Tour de France's 'maillot jeune.' Are there reward alternatives uniquely right for your business?

About the submitter:
This piece was written by Martin Sawdon who can be reached at or visited on the web at

Martin has a special interest in people in the workplace and the creation of Sustainable Workplaces, corporations which are extraordinarily profitable, extraordinarily effective if public sector but get there by growing people rather than consuming them like a fossil fuel. He coaches clients with integrity and great senses of humor, who are determined to realize achievements beyond their wildest dreams.

Coaching-Works! has been featured on radio and television.

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