Wanna Stand Out In Your Career? “Intrapreneurship” Is Key
While the hustle of building a business from the ground up continues to dominate storylines of career success and it seems like everyone and their mother wants to join the entrepreneur club nowadays, the reality of the situation is that it’s not for all of us. But regardless of what shape your career takes, much can be gleaned from the innovative techniques and mindsets of successful entrepreneurs. Enter “intrapreneurship”: the art of improving a company from the inside out. It’s the perfect compromise for those who want to embrace their entrepreneurial skills while sticking with a more stable career path. And an added bonus: Your boss is gonna love you for it.
Natasha Case, the CEO and co-founder of Coolhaus (and a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum, to boot), is one such boss. When asked if she wants her employees to embrace intrapreneurship, Case’s answer was simple: “Absolutely.”
Below, check out four tips on how to kickstart your intrapreneurial career:
1. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Most entrepreneurs are risk-takers at heart, Case points out. They’re not afraid to jump in headfirst and see what happens. While embracing your inner risk-taker while working in a 9-to-5 role seems, well, risky, Case says the opposite can be true. If a company “has the right checks and balances in place,” taking a fly-by-night or unusual approach can be “part of the way the team solves problems” without losing its footing. As such, if you have an out-of-the-box answer to a question, don’t be afraid to share it with your boss.
2. Take your place within the company culture. Company culture is more important than ever. It’s important to your boss, to the growth of the business, and to the fledgling intrapreneur. At Coolhaus, Case encourages everything from “in-person meetings and lots of fun, open brainstorming sessions” to “checking out a new lunch spot.” Holding these events, Case says, fosters the right work dynamic in the office, which means these events are the place every intrapreneur should want to be.
3. Share your ideas. If you feel you have an idea or a vision for your employer, drum up the confidence to approach your boss and share that vision. “I love hearing my team’s ideas,” says Case. “Coolhaus has such a creative bunch of employees that it would be a waste to not hear their visions, no matter how big or small they may be.” Feel free to let your passion for your brainwave shine through, but also make sure you approach your boss with the same amount of respect you’d show for any other work matter.
4. Prepare for the pivot. As most entrepreneurs know, it’s not unusual for a company’s vision to change direction (a.k.a. pivot). If you’re truly going to channel your inner intrapreneur, you should prepare to see your ideas change again and again. “It’s empowering as an employee to know your boss … is open and excited about what you have to say. It gives an employee more ownership,” says Case. “Of course, any idea needs vetting and research, and [may] shift in [the] application, but that’s all part of the process.” Hopefully, if your employer is as excited about your intrapreneurial prowess as you are, you’ll be asked along for the ride.