Intrapreneurs are members of your workforce capable of inventing products/solutions that your company many not even offer, based upon their recent market knowledge. They’re totally invaluable. So... how do we spot them?
1. The Employees That Make You Feel Uncomfortable.
Perhaps one of your salespeople has contacted you to sign-off on a quote for a new client, but it doesn’t even remotely follow the pricing structure that you currently run? Or perhaps one of your salespeople is constantly asking questions of your product/service and it’s compatibility to market?
These situations find line managers feeling particularly uncomfortable at times, as it may not be a scenario they’re used to. ‘Closed’ managers will, 90% of the time, shut down the proposal, as it doesn’t follow the company procedure. However, the 10% that listen, think, and take the time to consider the proposal, may find themselves pitching a brand new product offering or alternative pricing strategy to their CEO, further increasing the product offerings and revenue drivers for the company.
The key to being within the stated 10% of managers, is to ask one question. “Why?”
“Why does the existing offering not work for your client?”
“Why don’t you think the market is responding as well to our product?”
“Why would you possibly lose this sale should we not consider your proposal?”
By gathering these answers, you’ll be able to clearly understand the motives for looking way beyond their call of duty within their role, and you’ll be able to listen to the benefits of the proposal itself, and work with your member of staff to look at implementing their idea. This offers as not only a great way to push innovation within the company, but a seriously strong way of empowering the employee in mind. Let’s remember, people don’t work for people, people work with people.
2. Employees That Don’t Understand Routine.
For some, many employees love the idea of having a set process, sticking to that process, and being good at their assigned job. For some, that can possibly see a way of increasing the efficiency of that process, or can see some cost-improvements within that process, they’ll get frustrated for having to stick to it.
As mentioned in the point above, 90% of Managers will be frustrated that they’ll have to place the employee back onto the desired process, and will feel pressured due to allocating time within their day to do this. However, the 10% of Managers that ask “Why?”, may find themselves looking further into implementing a quicker, more cost efficient, or higher quality process, that’ll not just generate empowerment for the employee, but could, if rolled out across the whole organisation, could transform the organisation as a whole. We’re not saying that all rules should be broken, and in many cases, things may not work out, when diversifying from common practice, however, re-creating rules could prove to be an outstanding move for the organisation. By forcing employees to follow a certain route within their job, how could one expect a business to adapt and change?
3. Employees That Pull You Into The Meeting Room.
Line Managers will often be pulled into the meeting room by an employee, more often than they’ll pull the employee into the meeting room. We use the word “pull” as an indicator that many people don’t like being side-tracked by an external motive, and may enter the famous room itself with possibly a negative mindset.
If you’re, a line manager, and you’re asked for 10 minutes of your time, it’s time for you to open your eyes, ears, and to sit down and listen. A few things could be about to happen: the employee could be handing in their notice, they could be asking for holiday, or they could be expressing a concern with current practice, and may be providing a possible idea/solution to the topic in mind. Any one of these scenarios can be designed as gathering feedback about current practice, and having a discussion, as two equal individuals, about how things could change for the better.
Now, let’s weigh things up. A 10 minute meeting surrounding an issue an employee has with a current process, without a resolution, ends up with a line manager losing 10 minutes of their day, and an employee feeling creatively disabled. However, a 1 hour meeting surrounding an existing issue, pinpointing areas for improvements and possible opportunities to increase profitability, leaves the employee feeling enabled, empowered, part of a movement, and where possible, rewarded for their services outside of their job description. Not only this, but the line manager has the opportunity to take the ideas to the CEO, and to not only improve the process for just one employee, but to be able to roll this out to all suitable employees currently effected by an outdated process.
Keep an open mind, prepare to resolve any problems, but also listen to any proposed solutions.
4. Bonus Point: How To Empower & Enable Intrapreneurs
Now we’ve discovered which our employees are potentially being suppressed of the creative and entrepreneurial abilities by following a set process, here’s how we’d now empower said employees. Here’s a couple of ideas to take away:
- Hold a company-wide meeting, allowing employees one week to submit any ideas on how to improve the product, how to improve a process, or any other ideas they’ve gathered on how to increase the product/service offering for the organisation, and how to further establish the brand. Be sure to incentivise the employees with possible 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes. From personally knowing your employees, you can tailor these prizes to offer greater personal value and increase the self-worth of the employee in the organisation.
- Simply talk. If you notice an employee is unhappy with a current process, or a position within the company, book an hour out of your day, sit down, and talk. Again, incentivise entrepreneurship and thinking creatively in-line with your offerings as an organisation.
As an overview, many employees may feel discomfort from issues that could be out of your control. On the other hand, many employees may feel discomfort from simply having their entrepreneurship and creativity suppressed. It’s critical that you listen to ideas, opportunities and proposed improvements to your offering. After all, your staff are constantly in contact with your target market. They’re receiving rejections and feedback on your products. If you don’t listen, and fail to adapt, that current employee may well end up as a CEO of your competitor. The key here? Listen, enable, empower, and reward.
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