How to convince management to implement intrapreneurship
As an intrapreneur, often it’s difficult to convince management to get on board with your innovative ideas. To convince the management to implement intrapreneurship needs adequate information. They may be resistant to trying new ideas, have a fear of failure, lack understanding on the importance of intrapreneurship, or a combination of these reasons. Rejection may be difficult, but don’t give up yet! Although it is not easy to change the minds of important stakeholders when bringing innovation to your company, it isn’t impossible. We bring you some tips on what you can do to convince management and get an internal sponsor for intrapreneurship.
Identify sponsors who share your vision
Identify managers in your organization who have a greater vision for the company. There will be someone who, similar to you, has an entrepreneurial mentality. This means they have goals that exceed current operations and they are not one of the naysayers in meetings. There only needs to be one person who shares your innovation vision who is willing to sponsor your idea. Typically that sponsor can provide minimal resources to fund 1 or 2 pilot teams to develop a new idea. If this is your first time or if you are using a new methodology you will want to keep this project under the radar and not let it come under too much attention from other leaders. David Nosibor, Innovation Manager at Mazars Asia Pacific, says, “Secure internal sponsors early and get them involved.” As someone with a representative voice in the company, the manager will be able to help provide some air cover by networking the intrapreneur with key stakeholders which will allow the project to keep evolving.
It’s difficult to get agreements the first time around. Don’t expect Yes’s the first and second time. You must be persistent and decided not take no for an answer. According to the lean methodology from Eric Ries, the mentality is that, ‘It’s not about the idea, but rather it’s all about the execution.’ Even if you have a brilliant idea, if it doesn’t seem feasible to carry out, there will be no support for the new project. Showing persistence in the belief of your idea demonstrates your desire to carry out the project to its completion. Give your sponsors proof that investing in you will be worth the risk. the best proof is some kind of feedback and evidence from customers that proves you can get traction.
Find external partners
If there is no hope for finding internal sponsors at your company, don’t be afraid to reach outside of your internal connections. Instead, look towards your external mentors. Is there someone in your particular field who may be interested in the idea you have? Do you know someone who’s excited about innovation who could stand behind your actions? If you don’t have an internal incubator, have the right sponsors and external partners that can compensate for the failures that will come. Even the most successful people have mentors, and you should too.
Instead of wasting time on changing people, focus your energy on identifying the correct ones you need. It’s been proven that successful entrepreneurs share similar personality traits and you can also test for who is most likely to be a good fit for intrapreneurship (afce.co/dna).
Go rogue to convince management
Depending on your company culture, sometimes it might be a better idea to wait until your idea gains traction before fighting for approval. “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission,” said Gifford Pinchot who wrote the original book on Intrapreneuring. Does your manager promote the idea, ‘Ask for forgiveness, not permission?” If so, you may be better off testing the idea first. Most likely, once they see the viability of the idea, that’s when they will join and provide you the support you need.
We hope that these tips help you convince management to implement intrapreneurship. If all else fails, perhaps the best way to convince management is to have someone with knowledge about successful intrapreneurship programs speak to the important stakeholders of the company. The Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship has mentors that can explain the necessity of intrapreneurship as a means to innovate for traditional corporations, offering talks, workshops and full on Intrapreneurship Programs. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information!