What Does It Really Mean to be an Intrapreneur?

What Does It Really Mean to be an Intrapreneur?

One of the latest buzzwords in management is “intrapreneurship.” But what does being an intrapreneur actually involve? What are the traits of a true intrapreneur? And how can being one help you advance?

Intrapreneurs and intrapreneurship
Much like an entrepreneur, an intrapreneur is driven by creation and organizational change. There’s a crucial difference, however: An intrapreneur works within a larger organization to meet the company’s business objectives using the available resources. 

According to the Deloitte Digital report titled “Five Insights into Intrapreneurship,” companies that encourage intrapreneurship take a people-centric approach and support their employees in generating, developing and scaling their ideas. Since an estimated 20 percent of employees demonstrate some degree of entrepreneurial activity, companies can harness this creativity and drive to significantly benefit their innovation potential. This is, of course, critical in an ever-more competitive business environment. 

Traits of a true intrapreneur

According to the SAP article “Do You Have What It Takes to be an Intrapreneur?” intrapreneurs have four traits in common:

  1. They focus on adding value for the organization. Money, while important, is not the most important metric for intrapreneurs. In general, they spend less time justifying their value and more time determining how to add value.

  2. They allow ideas to incubate over time. Many intrapreneurs collect seemingly random ideas. They ruminate on them and allow them to grow over time until some emerge as viable concepts.

  3. They know when to pivot. Intrapreneurs know how to maneuver across organizational transitions while still keeping their focus on the value of the concept(s) they have in mind. 

  4. They demonstrate authenticity and integrity. Intrapreneurs align their words with their actions — even when they meet pressure and resistance for their projects. 

If you recognize one or more of these traits in yourself, then chances are you’re cut out to be an intrapreneur. And if so, you might be perfectly positioned to help your company innovate — which in turn will help you advance your career. 

Keep in mind that while there’s an increased demand for intrapreneurs, not all companies understand intrapreneurship or have room for it yet. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your employer’s attitude towards intrapreneurship before taking any action that might cause issues within the company. And of course, if you can’t unleash your inner intrapreneur at your current company, then there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere for managers with your skills and qualities.