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Managing True Intrapraneurs

Lots of folks have visions of how they’s like their organziation to be and  they could be tremendously successful  —-  but they are unable to convey their visions to others successfully. Unless a vision can be accomplished single-handedly; the visionary needs to “export” the vision. 


It is hard to translate a dream into words and representations that have the same power and meaning as the original. But it is even more difficult to overcome the natural resistance people have to change. Developing a shared vision is difficult and complex. But in an organzaition you have to do that successfully in order to have a chance of accomplsihing your dream.

Essential to success in doing it are:

• planning on resistance to change

• being accessible and visible


• over-communicating


• stressing open communication


• rewarding people for change


• being consistent as opposed to going hot and cold on long-range direction


Feeling and Acting Like an Owner
The opposite of feeling like an owner is feeling like a subordinate. People who do not take initiative follow the rules, wait for permission, and do what they are told and often only what they are told. People who feel like they own part of the team/business feel great urgency.



  • are involved in their work
  • have a tendency to innovate because they believe their survival depends on it
  • invest large amounts of time and energy in their jobs.
  • feel obsessed with their work, making the business grow, and finding areas of competitive advantage. 

Businesses have always needed managers who felt responsible for their areas. Today’s turbulent environment requires something more. People need to feel responsible for building competitive advantages into the part of the enterprise they run. We want employees to go beyond acting responsibly. We want everyone to actively seek ways of building a competitive advantage in the organization he or she manages.



Empowering Others – Pushing Responsibility and Ownership Down

Empowerment is the reciprocal of power. It is letting go. For most managers, it is counterintuitive.


Management experts have talk a great deal about the importance of delegation. In the last 20 years, participative management has come into prominence rather than the old fashioned (yet still very much in evidence) command and control management. In participative management, the manager solicits input from employees and seeks to let them participate in some aspects of the managerial task. However, in the final analysis, the responsibility still rests largely with the manager.


But under certain circumstances, it is appropriate and even essential to go beyond participative management. When the rate of change is rapid, the technology is complex, the market is varied, and the people working for you competent, it is appropriate to delegate ownership. That means pushing responsibility and ownership down to the lowest level that can handle the task. It might mean backing off from the normal controls a manager normally exercises. It might mean encouraging people to seize responsibility even when to has not been assigned specifically to them. (And then not punishing them when they do that.)


Managing these “intrapreneurs” means you are sponsoring innovators and “rule breakers”. As their boss, you have to walk a delicate and often uncomfortable line between knowing enough about the innovation to be able to defend it in a larger political environment, and steering clear so as not to interfere with the power and freedom of the “intraprenuer”. Balancing one’s personal desire to assume ownership and the organizational need to delegate it, is one of the most sought-after and one of the most elusive characteristics of the effective leader.


If you want to know if you are a leader that manages “intrapreneurs” — ask the people who report to you.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 5:38 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.