5 Essential Traits of the Successful Intrapreneur

Oct 02, 2013 - Joe Matar

Where is it written that entrepreneurs are only sole proprietors, closely held business owners or people who start a new company? Or that the great innovators, ideators and creators always start their own companies and enterprises? You can innovate from within, too.

A common misconception is that those willing to step up to the table of market leadership with new ideas and those willing to try their hand at innovation aren’t wanted by (or interested in) being part of a large corporate environment.

Yet more large companies are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit. The new innovator is supported by a culture of ingenuity, colleges’ commitment to innovation and the global community’s emphasis on disruptive intellectual property.

The intrapreneur is here

The American Heritage Dictionary defines an intrapreneur as:

A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea ino a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.

Large American companies have supported intrapreneurship throughout history. One of the best and most famous examples is the 14 rules of the intrapreneur developed by Kelly Johnson while working with Lockheed Martin on the Skunk Works project.

The difference between the application of entrepreneurial models in large corporations in the past and the paradigm shift of the 21st century is the mindset of the workforce. GenY and GenZ may not have the same work ethic as their mothers and fathers, but they have a greater capacity for innovation and the risk associated with creation.

Companies must brace themselves for the rise of innovators who must be empowered to run, create and pioneer within the walls of our corporate entities. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) If they don’t, they may find those they held in check becoming the marketplace competition they face in the future.

Think you have what it takes to be one of these innovators? Check out these five traits of a successful intrapreneur:

1. Entrepreneurial spirit

You’re a person of dynamic thought and action. An activator of ideas and people. A spirit who can find comfort in a crowd, a team or alone.

2. Commitment to innovation

You’re a serial social change agent. You always feel there’s a way to do it better.

3. Appetite for risk and reward

You’re excited by risk. You can see the fortune and glory on the other side of the challenge.

4. Appetite for competition

You run towards the roar of a competitive situation. You see competition as an opportunity and validator and not as an obstacle.

5. High confidence and self-esteem

You can handle a “no” or a failed project or idea. You’re secure in your abilities as an ideator and activator.

If you’ve got these traits...

If you’re looking to be in control of your career and empower yourself to innovate and create change, you should seek companies and leaders who embrace internal innovation and aren’t intimidated by your skill set or new ideas.

After all, your ideas, and your willingness to share and execute them, should always be the guideposts for your career.

Brian Church is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors International and author of Relationship Momentum. Brian lives with his wife Kimberly and son in Nashville, TN.