Shut the door, the Intrapreneurs are leaving

December 21st, 2016 | By

Shut the door, the Intrapreneurs are leaving

I am not here to tell you it’s a problem when your good employees find a job elsewhere. Or that a great culture helps to retain them. I am not even going to quote the hundred millionth statistic that shows how it costs more to replace than to retain, that productivity is higher when peoples’ hearts are in the game. Boring. Done. Everyone knows it. Many know it far better than I, because I don’t live it every day.

What I do know, however, is that there is a group of your current employees that it will hurt more to lose in the next year or two than others working for you. And this hasn’t always been the case.

And that group are the ones that have entrepreneurial tendencies but don’t know it yet.  What they do know is they want to change a few things. They are called your Intrapreneurs. They may have been quietened down in performance reviews that wanted them to:

  • become more team players or
  • focus more on improving current processes than changing them or
  • forget an idea they had “that’ll never work here” & “tried that before and it didn’t work”

Trouble is, this slightly rebellious, even quietly so, leader, is not happy to settle where they see improvement can be made. That is a growing frustration for them, that if left unchecked it’s only a matter of time before they want to leave to (A) a freer, more innovative, more forward thinking organisation, (B) buy their own business or (C) launch a startup.

And again, trouble is, your Intrapreneurs are the employees you are going to really, really, really need to move your organisation as the sands shift in your markets from unprecedented (well for the last 150-200 years anyway) technology change.

I don’t know how to fix all that. What I do know is getting those peeps that care about improving (it’s hard wired) and those that want to be on “Team – Change” get a big kick out of designing new disruptive business units. Looking for new growth treasure with those ‘pirates’ in your midst is just about the most fun thing ever for them. And let’s face it, it isn’t going to hurt to have a few of the rest of the team on board those projects either.

Intrapreneurial skills workshops are the start, but ideas don’t hit P&Ls, and this group is pretty serious about making things happen. So whilst you must start there, it’s about getting some strong ideas for new business models and then getting a program around that to the point where it benefits from getting out of the building as a speedboat. Much more on this in early 2017, until then you might like to cast your eye (the one without the patch over it) across this page on Business Model Innovation workshops or pre-order a copy of my new book Xcelerate, shipping out in Feb, or even register for my next webinar on “3 Business Model Innovation” hacks.

Lastly, I’d love to hear from anyone on what you see as challenges to incumbent organisations in launching new high growth business units. Have you tried it? What worked and what didn’t? Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

2017 could well be the year of the Pirate. But only if YOU are serious about that.

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