Intrapreneurship

I have always been fascinated with the ‘them and us’ positions in companies whereby the employer is seen as wanting to extract the last drop of value from an employee who tries to get as much as he / she can for giving the least effort.

 

That of course is an extreme view but unfortunately in many businesses, especially SMEs, actually exists and stifles potential of employee and the business.

Over 40+ years various technical creations have made life easier, at work and at play, both physically and mentally. However, have those conditions made us lazier, greedier and more selfish than previous generations?

For many years it seemed that success was frowned upon in the UK and yet we all look for getting as much as we can from life – mainly in terms of material wealth. That in itself is fine but attitudes to acquiring our own wealth differ somewhat depending on which side of the fence you sit.

Many organisations offer solutions to improve company performance through various training programmes to produce better processes and service provision. There is no question that we all expect more than most businesses are able to deliver to our complete satisfaction. Therefore our whole outlook has to be managed by a sense of realism in what we should expect.

At Spark we believe that our unique ‘Intrapreneurial Ecosystem’ provides opportunities for employers and employees to understand each others needs and creates an environment where everyone can win.

In simple terms, the position is along these lines –

Entrepreneurs are what they are for various reasons!

Some are full of good ideas that lead them to start businesses in order to develop their ideas. Others are unwilling or unable to conform to the position of employee – being led by people less capable than themselves and confined by glass ceilings and ‘dead-men’s shoes’.

Yet more are simply of the mindset that what they really want to do is to set up and run their own business.

What is a common factor in a business that can expand beyond the ‘one-man band’ is they will all require employees to help build the business.
The better employers understand that it is in their interests to train and develop their staff whilst rewarding them in an equitable manner to create the stability needed for long-term growth and therefore increased worth of both employee and business.

Intrapreneurs have been around in various guises for 40 years or so yet in most cases their full potential has never really been developed thus limiting their ability to add real value to businesses.

In simple business terms an intrapreneur is an employee with entrepreneurial instincts when it comes to taking responsibility, improving processes and adding to the bottom line of the business.

Let’s be honest – most of us work because we have to, not because we want to. That said most entrepreneurs love what they do. They have a sense of achievement and provide employment for people who have bills to pay and mouths to feed. They also create the opportunity to achieve financial security for themselves and their families.

Many of the better business leaders have created those traits in their companies enabling employees to share rewards. So why isn’t intrapreneurship more commonplace in business?
Some employers see their top employees as a threat to their positions. Some employees see co-workers as a threat to their positions and therefore everyone loses.

However, the most common reason for the failure of most businesses and employees reaching their full potential is lack of trust and understanding. The employee feels under-valued and unappreciated – and largely they are right. Too few employers praise their employees when a ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’ is all it takes to make an employee feel wanted and happy.

Solutions exist for those forward-thinking entrepreneurs who have created something special through innovative thinking yet fail to carry it through to enjoy ultimate success for the reasons outlined above.
SGBCarib comprises a variety of associates who have been both employees and employers over several years and may therefore offer opinions on how businesses can be improved.

This blog touches just the tip of the iceberg but gives ideas on what is available in modern, tough trading conditions. There is no question that operating a successful business is harder today than ever before. Yet employers and employees alike have vested interests in ensuring the full potential of all parties is achieved. Employers need to make profits to reinvest in the business to safeguard jobs and see off competitors and employees must produce the best work they can to enable companies to perform to their best capabilities.

Spark Global Business UK in which I am a senior associate exists to help individuals and companies reach that full potential and have clients in worldwide academia, regional, national and international governments and private companies. www.sparkglobalbusiness.com contains further detailed information.

We aim to replicate that success in Barbados and beyond.

Roger Manners
Senior Partner, Spark Global Business Caribbean
www.sgbcarib.com  Tel: 2883717