Moving organizations forward, argues executive Chitra Anand, requires innovation (“more than just bringing new products to market”). And innovation means embracing non-conformity—a tall order for large organizations. Chitra’s impressive work, spanning from Harvard University to tech giants such as Microsoft and TELUS, speaks to the need for intrapreneurship in organizations. While there are strategies that leaders can apply, implementing them is a monumental, and inherently culture-changing, venture. Listen in as Chitra talks through the application of intrapreneurship and read on for four steps to begin sowing seeds of intrapreneurship within your organization.
1. Lead with a Problem-Solving Mindset
I have always believed that regardless of what industry and discipline you are in, we are all problem-solvers; we are just simply using different levers. When you lead with a problem-solving mindset, you automatically start to ignite a creative spark in your mind: a “what if,” “how do we,” or “imagine if.”
2. Identify the Right People to Solve Problems
It has been my experience that the wrong people and too many people are assigned to projects or initiatives. This imbalance results in a lack of focus and clarity. When people are unclear on their mandates and roles, they are confused. Confused people are unproductive. As leaders, be clear on who the key people are that need to be involved in a certain project or initiative and let them manage the appropriate work groups from there. This approach will encourage a more streamlined and cleaner path to producing results.
3. Understand the Collaboration Process
Understand that the collaboration process is designed to ideate, then to take the best ideas from that which will solve your originally identified problem. Too many times, organizations get side-tracked by politics and the need to be inclusive of others. I am not saying not to be inclusive. What I am saying is that the north star for a collaboration should be the project objectives. What are the ways in which the ideas presented may or may not achieve what we are trying to do? Full stop. Anything else should really be disregarded. We need to check egos and let go of self-motivating factors.
4. Focus on Execution
There should be focus on execution. My whole career, I have valued project management. Why? Because it is a discipline where work gets tracked and measured. These components should be part of the fundamental emphasis on how work is executed. There are many times when projects go sideways during execution because there are no timelines and no dedicated people who are accountable to the project. If you set this expectation up properly from the get-go it will be smooth sailing.
Chitra’s work provides fundamentals on how to practically put intrapreneurship into practice, and we extend thanks to her for sharing her research with us.
Written by Chitra Anand, Communications Executive and Advisor to High-Growth Companies