Unleashing Intrapreneurs’ Motivation: Closing the “Need” Gap

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress, and intrapreneurs, just like their entrepreneur counterparts, are the driving force behind it within established organizations. However, intrapreneurs often face unique challenges that can demotivate their innovation journey. Today, we’ll delve into one of the top reasons that innovators fail or get demotivated and explore solutions to overcome it.

The Dilemma of Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurs are individuals who act like entrepreneurs within a company. They are the internal champions of change, seeking ways to improve processes, products, and services. However, their path is not always paved with encouragement and applause. Unlike entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs don’t typically enjoy the same level of support and cheerleading from an external audience.

Facing Demotivation

Inside companies intrapreneurs often run into a frustrating paradox. Companies say, “We want your ideas; we want you to innovate!” Yet, when intrapreneurs excitedly present their ideas, they are met with skepticism. Leadership exhaustively questions the feasibility of each idea to the point of rejection.

This demotivating cycle is vividly captured by the intrapreneur’s lament, “They told me they wanted my ideas and then rejected every one.” It’s a situation that many intrapreneurs can relate to, and it raises a crucial question: Why does this happen, and how can it be prevented?

Closing the “Need” Gap

To address this demotivation dilemma and keep intrapreneurs engaged and innovative, we must focus on closing what we can call the “Need” gap. The “Need” gap represents the difference between the innovation the company genuinely needs and what the intrapreneur perceives as the company’s needs.

One shocking statistic contributing to this gap is that less than 40% of mid-level managers can name more than two of their company’s top strategic priorities. Many employees are not entirely clear on what the company needs to achieve its goals and remain competitive. This lack of clarity stems from both the company’s lack of clarity in its strategy and the intrapreneur’s failure to understand what leadership is looking for.

Bridging the Gap for Motivated Intrapreneurs

To bridge the “Need” gap and keep intrapreneurs motivated, both the company and the intrapreneur must take proactive steps:

1. Clarify Strategic Priorities: The company should make a concerted effort to communicate its strategic priorities clearly and consistently throughout the organization. This transparency helps intrapreneurs align their innovative efforts with the company’s overarching goals.

2. Understand the Vision: Intrapreneurs must take the time to thoroughly grasp the company’s vision and objectives. This involves not only listening to what leadership says but also observing what they do and understanding the broader context of the business.

3. Continuous Learning: Rather than viewing rejection as a failure, intrapreneurs should reframe it as a learning opportunity. Each rejected idea can provide valuable insights that can be channeled into future proposals.

4. Build Cross-Functional Partnerships: Collaborating with colleagues across departments or networking with intrapreneurs from other organizations can provide diverse perspectives and help align on what the company really needs.

Intrapreneurs play a crucial role in driving innovation within organizations, but they (understandably) face demotivation when their ideas are consistently questioned or rejected. By closing the “Need” gap through clear strategy, transparent communication,  cross-functional partnerships, and a commitment to continuous learning, companies can nurture a motivated and empowered intrapreneurial workforce.

After all, as the saying goes, intrapreneurs never fail; they learn and grow. These internal entrepreneurs keep driving the organization forward with their innovative spirit.

Learn More

Learn more about inspiring a culture of intrapreneurship and succeeding as an intrapreneur at our upcoming Unleashing Intrapreneurship Masterclass Introduction on October 26th, 2023.

Register here to join. 

Invite for Intrapreneurship Masterclass with Kaihan Krippendorff. October 26 2023 9-10am
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