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  • Ron Rechan

From Employees to Innovators: Worksheet To Foster an Intrapreneurial Spirit by Ron Rechan

Intrapreneurship, often termed the corporate equivalent of entrepreneurship, is about fostering a start-up spirit within the confines of a larger organization. But it's not just a buzzword—it's an essential evolution in the modern business landscape. Especially for Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs), the ability to pivot, innovate, and harness the untapped potential of employees as intrapreneurs can be a game-changer.

As a business consultant, I am often asked about what separates an entrepreneur from an intrapreneur?

Well, I created a worksheet to help you get started!

  1. Understanding the Mindset of an Intrapreneur

Characteristics of Intrapreneurs

Autonomy isn’t just preferred—it’s required. Intrapreneurs march to the beat of their drum, looking for ways to improve and innovate.

  • Adaptability is their second name. With resilience, they navigate challenges, finding opportunities in hurdles.

  • They're not just dreamers. Their visionary thoughts are always grounded with actionable steps.

  • An insatiable appetite for knowledge. Continual learning isn't just a habit but a lifestyle.

Comparing Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs

Both sport similar traits—drive, vision, and grit. Yet, while entrepreneurs steer their ships, intrapreneurs fine-tune the sails, ensuring the company catches the best winds.

Entrepreneurs often gamble with their resources. Intrapreneurs? They manage risks within the safety net of an established entity.

Why SMBs are Primed for Intrapreneurial Action

SMBs embody flexibility, a trait intrapreneurs thrive upon. Smaller teams, fewer layers, more direct action.

In smaller businesses, an employee isn’t just another number. This closeness can cultivate a powerful, nurturing ground for intrapreneurship. As a founder, perhaps your entrepreneurial will rub off!

2. Creating the Right Environment for Intrapreneurship

Work Environment

  • Spaces that echo collaboration, not just open floors, but hubs where ideas converge and evolve. When was the last time you modified your floor plan?

  • For remote setups, virtual brainstorming rooms, and digital collaboration tools can ensure the intrapreneurial spirit isn’t bound by geography.

Psychological Environment

  • Encourage leaps. And if they result in falls? Those are just learning curves. Failures should echo efforts, not incompetencies.

  • An open-door shouldn’t just be a policy, but a culture. A seamless flow of ideas, without the barriers of hierarchy. Ask yourself: are you approachable as a founder? If not, it’s time to evolve.

Operational Environment

  • A slice of the budget for blue-sky thinking and R&D can be a game-changer. Give them tools, not just tasks.

  • Custom workshops not just on skills, but on mindset. Think: 'Adaptability 101' or 'Risk-taking in Safe Spaces.'

Recognizing and Rewarding Intrapreneurial Behavior

  • Move beyond traditional bonus structures. How about a 'Most Innovative Idea of the Month' reward?

  • Every win counts. But remember, the effort behind a failed initiative can be just as valiant.

3. Practical Steps to Ignite Intrapreneurial Fire

Hiring for an Intrapreneurial Mindset

  • In interviews, shift from “What have you done?” to “What would you dream of doing here?

  • Job descriptions that scream innovation. “Wanted: Curious Minds with a Flair for Breaking and Making.”

Training & Development Programs

  • Ideation isn’t innate. Workshops on the ‘Art of Brainstorming’ can mold thinkers into innovators.

  • Mentor-mentee relationships, not based on years of experience, but on the scale of innovative prowess.

Open Innovation Initiatives

  • Hackathons aren’t just for techies. An idea marathon, perhaps?

  • An idea box is old school. How about crowdsourced think-tanks where everyone’s a stakeholder?

4. Measuring the Impact of Intrapreneurship

Metrics for Success

  • Beyond KPI: Measure bravery, not just results.

  • Track intrapreneurial projects from inception to fruition. Celebrate the journey, not just the destination.

Feedback and Iteration

  • Innovation is iterative. Regular pit stops with intrapreneurial teams for reflection can refine the road ahead.

  • An unsuccessful venture holds clues for future triumphs. Unearth them.

For SMB leaders, it's time to view employees not as mere task-doers but as untapped goldmines of innovation. As a business consultant, I can guarantee you that the future isn't just about keeping up; it's about standing out. And who better to lead that charge than your very own intrapreneurs?

So, SMBs, are you ready to nurture and ignite?

Ron Rechan

Check out these blogs regarding the employee experience for SMB:,

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