There seems to be more entrepreneurs now than ever before and there's nothing wrong with it. Entrepreneurs are the harbingers of new technologies, innovation and pioneering ventures, as evidenced by the perpetual augmentation of the Silicon Valley.
That being said, the expansion of start-ups or small enterprises into large multinational conglomerates may have to do more with the grinders behind the scene, i.e., the managers.
As Mintzberg enlightened us, entrepreneurship is only one of the multitude of components of management. And without the involvement and contribution of managers at different levels of the organisation, expansion can often be a daydream.
Furthermore, growing big financially and materialistically is not enough. Creating an ambience of innovation throughout the whole organisation and thus making meaningful impacts inclusively are more important if sustainable growth is the intent.
This becomes achievable only when the hired managers also perform like entrepreneurs, that is, lead like an intrapreneur. This is probably why three out of the fourteen principles of management by Henri Fayol, the pioneer of modern management theory, advocate in favour of the necessity of intrapreneurship, i.e., entrepreneurship within the organisation.
Subordination of individual interest
For entrepreneurs, the interest of the endeavours initiated by them can also be termed as their interest, even if those are of benefiting others only.
Hired managers, also, have to own this principle besides managing people and resources. This openness will allow the individuals to effectively drive the organisation towards its goal conditional on the availability of resources. To do so, hired managers have to be open enough to embrace intrapreneurship in their management approach.
By instilling this quality, they will be able to fruitfully motivate the key strength of the organisation – the people. The most obvious outcome of this will be that beyond the managers, the entire workforce in the organisation will learn to harness a uniform mindset which would align thoroughly with the purpose of the organisation. Adhering to this attribute is also necessary for the managers to place themselves fit in a modern management environment.
Taking the initiative
For an organisation to attain greater heights of accomplishments, it has to explore new horizons. Exploring new possibilities should not only be a top-down approach where the top founder-entrepreneur alone looks for new endeavours. Key distinctions of an intrapreneurial manager, lies in seeing the opportunity, knowing the feasibility of exploiting said opportunity and mobilising the productive force to do so. In short, hired managers should endeavour efforts to actualise their managerial potential further in favour of their organisation by taking fruitful and viable initiatives.
Organisations, where such practice is in effect, tend to have much healthier work environments along with enhanced operational excellence. As a result, hired managers grow a positive sense of belonging and a firmer sense of responsibility as they are getting to execute their ideas.
Furthermore, this will allow the higher management to identify who has the tenacity to illuminate the organisation brighter with success if and when assigned and awarded with greater responsibilities in more significant capacities.
Esprit de Corps
Great things are accomplished when there is the existence of inseparable unity, firm optimism and vibrant enthusiasm. After all, this optimism, along with unity, form the pillars which determine the success of an organisation.
Another strong reason for sincerely adopting this intrapreneurial principle of morale and team spirit is that often the conviction amongst the workforce sets back and they feel tentative about possible outcomes of their efforts. Comes then the part of great managers.
They use their incredible interpersonal competencies to bring their human resources back to progress without hesitance, keep them unceasingly united together and drive them all towards the organisation's purpose.
To do this, the managers must have the upright prowess of reviving people's spirit positively and guide their mustered ambition meaningfully. Above all, they have to abide by this crucial principle of Fayol if substantiating the organisational vision is the aim.
Finally, intrapreneurs should always strive to come forward with much more than what has been brought forward here about them to establish their necessity. Besides being well on track with their organisational ambitions, intrapreneurs can further elongate their effectiveness by extending their managerial thoughtfulness beyond the set objectives of the organisation they are managing for.
These torchbearers of their own-discovered paths should mentor, guide and develop more intrapreneurs and also entrepreneurs from among their colleagues. Accomplishments of remarkable things by seeing the opportunity, knowing the feasibility and mobilising productivity will therefore have an impactful effect as long as the need for management will prevail.
Nazma Sultana is the Director, Information Technology at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. Nafis Ehsas Chowdhury studies business at United International University and is a columnist. The authors acknowledge valuable insights from AKM Lutfur Rahman, former Director at AISD, a US Embassy concern.