What is your social capital net worth? by Roz Usheroff

I recently came across a discussion on Twitter in which there was a debate as to what the differences in terms of risk were for an intrapreneur as opposed to an entrepreneur.

While an entrepreneur is obviously someone who runs their own business, what is an intrepreneur?

Practically speaking, an intrapreneur is an employee who thinks and behaves differently.

Rather than simply fulfilling the requirements of their position, an employee with an intrapreneurial mindset will instead begin to think outside of the box.

This means that they will:

  • See opportunities where none previously existed.
  • Potentially change their goals and objectives as they embrace a new personal independence that will better align them with their organization’s goals.
  • Embrace their true unique ability because, similar to entrepreneurs, they will now be pursuing results from a position of passion rather than just duty or job description.
  • See the significance of advertising their unique ability because they know that it will help them to receive the recognition they deserve.

By adopting the intrapreneur mindset, any concerns they might have in terms of being seen as political will be eliminated.  This is because, like any good business person, they will become strategic and intentional in everything they say and do.

Within the above context, how can one equate the financial risk of owning and running your own business with any purported risk that exists within the framework of a paid position?

My belief is that the only difference in terms of risk for intrapreneurs as opposed to entrepreneurs is currency type.

While an entrepreneur will risk financial capital, by becoming an intrapreneur, an individual finances their efforts using social capital.

This is not to suggest that entrepreneurs do not need to possess a certain level of social game.  Far from it.  However, an intrapreneur’s primary risk capital is based on their reputation.  Or to put it another way, by thinking outside of the box, intrapreneurs are trading on their good name or personal brand otherwise known as their social capital.

So what is your social capital net worth?  Of equal importance, how do you increase your social capital net worth to the point that you can effectively operate as an intrepreneur within your present organization?

The key words are creditability and contribution, and you cannot have one without the other.  This means that to build your social capital net worth, you have to be visible and involved.


In this context, the following exercises should help.

Exercise 1: Building Your “Fan Base” (Creditability)

  • Make a list of those individuals who you can call upon to support your ideas, initiatives, and suggestions in future meetings.
  • Make another list of those individuals who have relationships with decision makers with whom you do not have direct access but would be willing to speak on your behalf to introduce or reiterate your suggestions.

Now, identify two tactics that would help you to demonstrate your appreciation for their support, and reciprocate appropriately.

  1. Tactic:
  2. Tactic:

Remember, your brand is the sum of every experience others have of you.

To stand out, you have to creatively highlight what makes you different, better, wiser, smarter, interesting, and more desirable than others who profess to offer what you offer. Then you have to be visible and promote the best of what you do. The best way to do that is to offer something no one else is offering.

Exercise 2: Mobilizing Your “Fan Base” (Contribution)

Make a list of those people who have the power to:

  • Impact your career because of their position and influence
  • Provide you with opportunities to be involved in high-profile projects
  • Serve as a coach, mentor, or sponsor

Now, identify two opportunities that would help you to showcase your value and bring you greater visibility in your company.

  1. Opportunity:
  2. Opportunity:

In the end, when you seek the assistance of others to help you create opportunities to deliver value to your organization, you will be well on your way towards building a healthy social capital balance sheet.



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