The Results-Only Work Environment and the rise of the Intrapreneur by Roz Usheroff
“In a ROWE, workers can work wherever, whenever, and however they choose to, as long as they achieve their results.”
from the January 4th, 2014 Huffington Post article “2014: The Year of Workplace Reinvention” by Pam Ross
I was recently listening to a radio interview in which after 15 years in business, a founding CEO talked about how his company had finally gained the market success that he had anticipated when he first launched his venture.
When he was asked if he felt fortunate that his company was able to persevere in the years leading up to this momentous breakthrough he said something that really hit a note with me. “One of the ways of guaranteeing you’re lucky in your timing” he started, “is being able to wait for the market to catch up with you.”
In the context of the above referenced article by Pam Ross, the same can be said regarding the word Intrapreneur.
In my book The Future of You: Creating Your Enduring Brand I talked at length about the importance of energizing your brand and standing out from the pack. The best way to do this is to adopt what I called an intrapreneurial mindset.
The concept of being an intrapreneur is nothing new. In fact, in 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary “acknowledged the popular use of a new word, intrapreneur.”
So what is an intrapreneur?
An intrapreneur is defined as being “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”.
What makes the Ross article so interesting is that the Results-Only Work Environment or “ROWE” strategy is an indication that the market has finally caught up with the intrapreneurial ideal that was first defined in 1992 – 22 years later. (As an interesting side note – especially for those of you reading this article who are ardent history buffs, the term intrapreneur was actually introduced in 1978 in a paper by Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot.)
However exciting these developments are the real question that needs to be asked – and answered, is whether or not the majority of us are ready to make the transition from the traditional role of an employee, to being a self-motivated risk taking intrapreneur?
While I will of course encourage you to pick-up a copy of my book or, take my Webinar Series on Udemy, I hope that you will find the following excerpt from The Future of You helpful in both understanding what an intrapreneur is and, what you can do to become one.
(Note: It is important to differentiate between a unique ability and an excellent ability – the latter of which I will touch on later in this section. Simply put, a unique ability is a gift or talent with which you were born. An excellent ability is a skill set that you acquire through education and experience. In other words, it is learned as opposed to being inherent.)
Adopting Sullivan’s wisdom, you now have an exciting opportunity to build your enduring brand in a way that energizes you and sets you apart. By identifying what makes you stand out and defining your value proposition to your employer and/or customers, you will secure your bigger future using your best talents. You can also think of it in terms of adopting an “intrapreneurial” mindset.
Even though you are still technically speaking an employee, when you see yourself as an intrapreneur you will begin to think differently. Rather than simply fulfilling the requirements of your position, you will instead begin to think outside of the box.
With an intrapreneur mindset you will:
• See opportunities where none previously existed.
• Potentially change your goals and objectives as you embrace a new personal independence that will better align you with your organization’s goals.
• Embrace your true unique ability, because similar to entrepreneurs, you will now be pursuing results from a position of passion rather than just duty or job description.
• See the significance of advertising your unique ability because you know that it will help you to receive the recognition you deserve.
By adopting the intrapreneur mindset, any concerns you might have in terms of being seen as political will be eliminated. This is because, like any good business person, you will become strategic and intentional in everything you say and do.
In this light, the first and most important step is to ask yourself these important questions:
• What is my unique ability?
• For what am I best known?
• Why do people seek out my advice?