Let me tell you a story. On my travels I meet many intrapreneurs. I love chatting to them about their ideas, the wacky ones their employers have said no to (even though we think they could have been a great idea) and the more sensible, but often less impactful, ones that have been adopted by their employers. I often ask them, “Would you leave and do something for yourself?” Whilst some say they think about it but are yet to feel brave enough to do it, some say, “No, never.” One of my clients has a fantastic intrapreneur in their organisation who has led them to develop great things and every time I see him we discuss him leaving and doing it for himself. Now I don’t know if I’m right, but as he has been saying this for over five years now I’m not sure the time will ever be right for him to leave. In the meantime his employers continue to have great things from him.
I believe that for many of them the fear of failure, worry about the risk to themselves and their family are the main reasons that stop them from leaving and doing it for themselves. Yes, I know I haven’t mentioned the ones who do leave. Well, there are some, but let’s think about it. For those that do leave, are they the type that would have left anyway even if you hadn’t allowed them to be enterprising? Did you give them the final push rather than give them the idea? And anyway, isn’t it only right to have some staff turnover?
But let’s not forget that for many they may like the idea of working for themselves, but they know the survival rate of small business is poor. With around half of businesses in the UK failing in their first few years of trading it’s no wonder the risk is too high for many. Personal circumstances are likely to hold many people back from taking the risk, however great it seems.
So in short, will staff leave if you help them become more enterprising? Yes, some will and you can watch them with pride and know they could be a great asset to your organisation in their new role. However, many more won’t leave because they will feel utilised and valued as they are now able to be more enterprising and make a difference. By enabling staff to contribute in a positive way and use their mindset for the benefit of the organisation they win and so do you.
Contact me to discuss how can mentoring can help to support intrapreneurship in your workplace.