Intrapreneurship: Don’t Just Talk About It, Be About It

One of my biggest fears in life is to be talker and not a doer.  As I examine and wrestle with flawed social systems and feel heart-broken and beat down by the horrendous injustices that are committed on a daily basis, I often feel like a bystander, like a cheerleader, but not like an actual player in this crazy and broken game.  I call you, and myself, to action.  To become educated, to care, to question, and to ultimately act.  And yet, I often feel that cloud of doubt looming over my head, taunting me with a storm of insecurities–that what I am doing is not making a difference, that it is not enough, that systems that have been in place for years will not be swayed by my simple efforts.  

These are dangerous doubts, doubts that many of us regularly have–what’s the point in even trying if nothing is going to change?  I don’t have the power/resources/fill in the blank to ever make a true impact.  These are the doubts that cause us to freeze, to convince ourselves that the status quo is okay, to disillusion us into thinking that apathy is acceptable.  And let me be perfectly clear: apathy is absolutely, unequivocally, unacceptable.  

I have found that something that helps me to combat this disease of apathy is to–in the midst of educating and advocating for large systemic change–try to effect change in a tangible way in a smaller system, one that you are more intricately involved with.  The most logical place to start is in your workplace.  An excellent article by Acumen+ Courses discussed the idea of intrapreneurship, defining it as “the brave act of starting something new within an existing organization.”  It is based on the ideal that instead of complaining about how much you don’t like your job, you actively and creatively work towards making it a job that you do like, thus creating positive, and in almost all cases, systematic change.

Sounds sweet!  Most of us wouldn’t mind falling a bit more in love with our jobs.  But how do you do it?

According to Acumen+, these are the steps that you need to take:

  1. Find an idea by recognizing inefficiencies within your company or even within your industry.  Make sure that the idea is focused on the people you serve.
  2. Test your idea prototype, and get feedback.  The earlier and more often that you do this, the greater your chance of success.
  3. Convince others.  Realize that you do not need leadership to lead, but rather the motivation to alter the way in which things have always been done.  Understand that having courageous conversations, breaking routines, and identifying points of tension are instrumental stepping-stones to implementing sustainable change.

Today, I challenge you to be an intrapreneur.  To say goodbye to apathy and to work towards changing a system that you are unhappy with.  Be it the culture that allows co-workers or managers to talk negatively about your clients or the fact that your IT system is painfully archaic.  Be a catalyst, go against the grain, and most importantly, don’t just talk about it, be about it.  


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