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Use Them or Lose Them

An Entrepreneur is someone who translates a creative thought into a new, innovative process, product, procedure, strategy or service. Entrepreneurs are risk takers who trust their potential.  They turn their creativity into reality by pursuing their dreams and transforming a vision into a strategic plan.  They strike out on their own and build small businesses.


An Intrepreneur is someone who displays the same characteristics as an Entrepreneur, but remains with an organization as an employee. They generate enterprise for the organization rather than create their own small business. 

In today’s workplace, the benefits of entrepreneurship can be combined with the economies of scale enjoyed by large organizations by cultivating a culture if Intrapreneurship.


Like Entrepreneurs,  Intrapreneurs:

Take risks

People who have an entrepreneurial flair take risks.  They will try new methods, experiment with new ideas, present emergent thoughts, incubate new products and formulate novel procedures. They will generally be more adaptive and enjoy change.  They are not always easy to manage, but they are valuable assets and well worth the effort.  Leaders hoping to encourage intrapreneurship have to be both patient and flexible.  Some days will seem like recess at a pre-school, but imagination, excitement and motivation will be the result.


Trust themselves

Intrepreneurs have confidence in their abilities and their judgment.  They trust themselves to find solutions to problems and will present their ideas with self-assurance.    This benefits the organization by fully unitizing the talents of its work force.  It taps into the full potential of the collective expertise and experience of the human resource.


Learn from mistakes

When entrepreneurs fail there is a consequence, so they want to learn as much as they can from the failure.  They will dissect the process and study the outcomes.  There is no time for excuses and recriminations.  There is only time to fix it, learn from it and move on. 

People should be held accountable for their mistakes, errors and failures.  Instead of a punitive atmosphere, however, there should be an attitude of assessment and leaning.  This will encourage the kind of risk taking that progressive organizations need to thrive and grow.  It will also take away the fear in the work place that can inhibit communication, innovation and improvement. 

See opportunities

When problems come up, Intrepreneurs will study the patterns and seek opportunities.   Intrepreneurs are students of circumstances and will look for ways to increase business or improve the business they have.   They will seek alternatives and work toward innovation. 

Display passion


Intrepreneurs love what they do, the product they sell, the organization they are apart of, the service they provide or all of the above. This leads to excitement and enthusiasm, which increases organizational loyalty and longevity. 

Provide a unique experience for their customers

Intrepreneurs identify with their company, its products and/or its services.  They have a stake in shaping its form and know how to present it to customers with confidence, pride and assurance.    This translates into a more global view of the organization and customers will benefit from the personal interest of the Intrepreneur.

This inventory of characteristics is powerful. Today’s enlightened organizations see the benefits of such a list. In the new workplace, leaders encourage their employees to think like Entrepreneurs and run their departments like small businesses. It increases the sense of individual accomplishment and enhances the bottom line.  Organizations do this by supporting and rewarding Intrapreneurship.  Some positive steps to accomplish this include:

  • Encourage people who display the characteristics of the entrepreneur.
  • Recruit people with entrepreneurial backgrounds.
  • Provide incentives for creative ideas and release time for the development of new products and services.
  • Generate a loser, freer flowing culture where people are encouraged to take risks.  Periodically declare a recess or sponsor retreats where brainstorming can occur and people can give birth to ideas.
  • Encourage everyone to get involved in the activities of their department.
  • Share financial data so that individuals can see the impact of their decisions on the bottom line. 
  •  Promote people who take risks and learn from their mistakes.

Employees who exhibit a predisposition to entrepreneurship can become frustrated in a medium to large organization.  Their creativity begins to wane under the structure of bureaucracy and their zest for new ideas dissipates during the day-to-day routine of their jobs.  Some people will strike out on their own and start new businesses.  Some people will suppress their entrepreneurial spirit and deny their potential. Still others will never discover theirs.

Engage the Entrepreneurs in your organization. Transform them into Intrepreneurs and harvest their positive energy.


“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese”  You may not be the first, but if you have patience and persistence, you can get your share in the final analysis.