Inspiring * Transformational * Courageous * Personable

Intrapreneur (not Entrepreneur)

Wake Up and Shake Up- It’s About You!

Intrapreneurs are the “dreamers who do.” A mind is

meant to imagine and then act. It is a terrible thing to

split apart the dreamer and the doer.

-Gifford Pinchot

Bold. Hungry. Passionate. Trail-blazing. Fearlessly Driven. Intrapreneurs possess all these traits, also innate to entrepreneurs. The difference is that intrapreneurs operate within an organization. While entrepreneurs blaze independent trails on their own, intrapreneurs do it with the security and resources of a company.

Perhaps intrapreneurs have the best of both worlds?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines an intrapreneur as “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk- taking and innovation.” Although the term was coined nearly three decades ago, the concept is as hot as ever.

For intrapreneurs, a job is more than just a paycheck – it’s an important part of who they are. Their pride and identity are heavily tied to their careers. Their professional success and growth translate into personal success and growth. Intrapreneurs have a hunger for finding new solutions to old problems, a passion that gets them out of the hamster wheel and puts them behind the steering wheel. They work on the verge of urgency, capitalizing on every challenge and opportunity that comes their way. These are the very reasons why companies around the world are embracing the intrapreneurial spirit and giving their employees wings.

Pinchot & Company, the consulting team that coined the intrapreneur phrase,  developed the Intrapreneurial Ten Commandments:

1. Build your team; intrapreneuring is not a solo activity.

2. Share credit widely.

3. Ask for advice before you ask for resources.

4. Under promise and over deliver.

5. Do any job needed to make your dream work, regardless of your job description.

6. Remember, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

7. Keep the best interests of the company and its customers in mind, especially when you have to bend the rules or circumvent the bureaucracy.

8. Come to work each day willing to be fired.

9. Be true to your goals, but be realistic about how to achieve them.

10. Honor and educate your sponsors.

So how about you? Do you have the intrapreneurial spirit? Are you happy just having a job, or do you want more? Get the intrapreneurial edge that will not only make you indispensable to your company, but also create the fulfillment and satisfaction you desire.

A Call To Action

What can you do to jumpstart your role as an intrapreneur? Adopt the three key traits of successful intrapreneurs:


Intrapreneurs are keen students of their surroundings. Just like zoologists who hide in the brush or in trees to observe wildlife, intrapreneurs take the time to stop and take note of what is buzzing around them. Sales intrapreneurs constantly scope out the competition and look for their products’ weaknesses. Service intrapreneurs incessantly search for ways to create unforgettable experiences for their clients. Safety intrapreneurs proactively find hot zones in order to prevent accidents and injuries. 3M scientist Arthur Fry was looking for a way to make notes stick in his choir hymnal when he invented Post-it® Notes. Vigilance is looking for flaws and holes in the system. What frustrates you about your own job? Where have co-workers or clients encountered bottlenecks that you could fix? What are some emerging challenges that will soon be on everybody’s radar? What do you hear people complain about with respect to your company’s services or products?

Practicing vigilance to uncover and identify unmet needs goes a long way to building your reputation as a “go-to player.”


Call it non-complacency, call it drive, call it anything you want. Intrapreneurs wouldn’t be happy for long if they weren’t hungry – hungry to achieve success, hungry to do what they love, hungry to help those around them. Work with the attitude, “Your problems are no problem for me to solve!” Don’t wait for an engraved invitation or for opportunity to come knocking at your door. Find the hidden opportunities behind every door. Ask questions, offer solutions, make yourself a valued resource to anyone who is willing to listen. Hunger is passion, and work without passion is like watching paint dry for eight hours a day. Are you hungry?


Creativity isn’t about coming up with way-out ideas or using gimmicky tricks. It’s about looking at how everyone else does “your thing” and finding a way to do it better. No matter how structured an environment you work in, there’s always room for improvement in processes, ways to improve the client’s experience and better methods of communicating. One of the best ways to incorporate originality into your work is to look at how people in completely different functional areas are making a name for themselves. How can you apply what they’re doing to your area of expertise to create your own mark of distinction? Creativity flourishes when you get rid of the “this is how I’ve always done it” mentality and replace it with “this is how I’d love to do it.”

About the Author
In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash that killed 160 people, including her parents. As one of only four survivors of this tragedy, she vowed that she would make her second chance at life count…and that she has – not only for herself, but also for the tens of thousands of people who have heard her story and her message.

Leave a Reply