5 Traits of the INTRApreneur

TrainingWhere is it written that Entrepreneurs are only sole proprietors, closely held business owners or people who start a new company? 

 Where is it written that the great innovators, ideators and creators always go the way of a Horatio Alger novel and start their own companies and blaze their own trails?

 There is a misconception that those who are willing to step up to the table of market leadership with new ideas are not wanted by or interested in being in a large corporate environment.

 A new day is dawning where the Entrepreneurial spirit is being embraced by more than just the small companies, coherent founders and the sole proprietorship trailblazers of the world. 

 This new day in corporate America is being embraced by more and more large companies and will mark the rise of a new kind of Entrepreneur. The new innovator is being supported by our culture of ingenuity, our Universities and the global community’s emphasis on disruptive (new) intellectual property.  Supported and then finally dominated by the generation Y’s and Z’s who are literally being incubated by our current culture and shrinking job market.

 This new persona and shift of paradigm is what is known as the Intrapreneur.

 The American Heritage Dictionary defines the Intrepreneur as:

 in-tra-pre-neur (In¹tre-pre-nur) n. 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 [intra(corporate) + (ENTRE)PRENEUR.]

 This paradigm shift was first acknowledged in 1978 by Gilbert and Elizabeth Pinchot but it was not until a Time magazine article in 1985 titled “Here Come the Intrapreneurs” that the persona was identitifed for the masses. Also in 1985, Newsweek produced and article describing the internal genius and talent underground within the “McIntosh Garage” staff at Apple. The Intrapreneur was born!

 There are numerous examples of Intrapreneurship being supported by large American companies throughout history. One of the best and most famous examples was 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 within large corporations in the past to the actual paradigm shift of the 21st century is that of the mindset of the workforce. The generation Y and Zers of today may not have the same work ethic of that of their mothers and fathers but they certainly have a greater capacity for innovation and the risk that is associated with creation.

 In the past, companies were applauded and held on a pedestal for their ingenuity in Intrapreneurial practices. Today, companies must brace themselves for the rise of a new generation of innovators who must be empowered to run, create and pioneer within the walls of our corporate entities. If they do not, they may find those who they held in check or jettisoned, becoming the marketplace competition they face in the future.

 The 5 Traits of the Intrapreneur


  1. Entrepreneurial Spirit– One of dynamic thought and action. An activator of ideas and people. A spirit that can find comfort in a crowd, a team, or by going it alone.
  2. Commitment to Innovation– This person is a serial social change agent. They always feel that there is a way to do it better!
  3. Appetite for Risk and Reward– Risk excites the Intrepreneur. They can see the fortune and glory on the other side of the challenge.
  4. Appetite for Competition– They run towards the roar of a competitive situation. Competition is seen as an opportunity and a validator and not as an obstacle.
  5. Strong Sense of Security– They can take a No or a Failed Project/ Idea. They also are secure in their abilities as an ideator and activator.

 What this means for you…

 If you are looking to be in control of your career, you need to be empowered to innovate and to effect change. I want to encourage you to seek out the companies and the leaders who embrace internal innovation and those who are not intimidated by your skill set or new ideas. After all, your ideas and your willingness to share/ execute them, should always be the odometer of your career.

 Are you an Intrapreneur?

 Are you in a place that will allow you to maximize your gifts and potential?

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