Have you ever been in a restaurant or somewhere where someone who was doing their job just seemed to be doing it at such a high level, you were amazed or impressed? Maybe it was the waitress at a restaurant whose service far surpassed any of the other waitstaff or maybe it was the incredible receptionist at your doctor’s office that you could imagine running her own practice one day.
And then did you say to yourself, “They won’t be here very long. They’re meant for bigger things”? Well you probably didn’t realize it, but you may have met an intrapreneur.
My husband and I used to go to a local restaurant where there was one particular waitress who we could just tell was destined for bigger things – although she wasn’t a manager or an owner, she had a way of being that made us pay attention. A few months later we noticed she wasn’t serving tables anymore – she was now managing the place, and if we had to guess, she’s probably an intrapreneur who will own her own restaurant some day.
The term “intrapreneur” is a relatively new term used to describe individuals inside an organization who are employees, but who are also entrepreneurial. They’re not just good employees, they also have a way of viewing things differently and seeing beyond what they’ve been tasked with, embodying an entrepreneur mindset even though they’re not one yet.
These individuals are able to craft their job in a way that brings them a much greater sense of satisfaction than their fellow employees. They’re not just there for the paycheck, they’re there for the opportunity to grow, evolve, and create value, no matter what they’re doing or who they’re doing it for.
If you’ve ever watched the show Undercover Boss, you’ve probably seen intrapreneurs in action. The premise of the show, Undercover Boss, is that a company owner or C Suite leader puts on a disguise and goes undercover, interacting with and experiencing all aspects of their company from the janitorial staff to customer service and everything in between, without anyone being aware of who they actually are.
The highlight of an episode is when the undercover boss discovers a diamond in the ruff – someone who shows incredible care for the job they’re tasked with but also the potential to take on much more than they’re currently doing for the company. Typically at the end of the episode these shining stars will be recognized in some way, like being given assistance to further their education, a promotion within the company, and sometimes, depending on the company structure, they’ll be given their own franchise due to their entrepreneurial spirit.
These rewarded individuals don’t just do their job, they own their job. A lot of times these individuals have incredible struggles in their personal lives, however, until the undercover boss asks them about themselves, you would have never known where they came from or how challenging their life was – they don’t let their trials and tribulations affect how they do their job or how they represent the company.
They look at the world through a different lens, always looking for ways to improve themselves, but also the processes, products, and people in the organization. Although they are employees, they seek opportunities to be entrepreneurial at work, something that the undercover bosses are thrilled to discover and celebrate.
But what about you? Are you one of those employees with an entrepreneurial spirit? Are you someone who sees the world through a different lens at work, looking for ways to not only improve yourself, but also the processes, services, and people in your company? Do you wish there was an undercover boss who would disguise themselves and discover that you too are a diamond in the ruff? Well let’s have some fun – let me be the undercover boss this week and help discover whether you’re an intrapreneur or not.
This week I’m going to discuss the qualities of an intrapreneur, how they differ from typical employees, and why we need to talk if you are an intrapreneur.
The qualities of an intrapreneur
As the number, and success, of women owned businesses is on the rise, it’s critical to understand the importance of this time in history. The trajectory of women’s belief about what’s possible has changed the lives of countless women as they challenge the social norms and not only ask for more, but they also create what they want if it’s not available.
As the global economy has changed, so have our choices about what we can have for a career and for our financial security. We are no longer dependent on others for our financial well-being, we’re creating it for ourselves and our families; we are no longer taking coffee orders at the board meeting, we’re running the board meeting; we are no longer accepting unacceptable behavior, we’re shining a light on it and doing something about it.
Instead of marrying a breadwinner, we’re becoming one. Instead of society telling us where our place is, we’re choosing it for ourselves and being an example of what’s possible for our children as well.
The issue though is that there are SO many more women whose beliefs haven’t caught up with their dreams. They have a desire to be an entrepreneur, to be their own boss, to make their own hours, to create something that truly aligns with their values, but fear and doubt keeps them from making their dreams a reality.
They have an entrepreneurial spirit, but just can’t make the transition from employee to entrepreneur. The companies they work for are typically happy to have their entrepreneurial spirit because, let’s face it, it benefits the company’s bottom line to employ smart women intrapreneurs – but how much does it actually benefit the intrapreneur?
In a recent study, 65% of the top 100 most innovative companies are implementing intrapreneurship programs, recognizing that there are employees on their payroll that might be entrepreneurs at heart. While it’s wonderful to see the recognition of the fact that all employees are not created equal, it’s also something that is typically not implemented in the field of accounting unless you work for one of the Big 4 firms, and even then, grooming good intrapreneurs benefits the company but also keeps them as employees.
In a 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, they found that millennials were disappointed and discouraged with the lack of support and professional development by their organizations to prepare them for the future. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a millennial issue in accounting – it’s an everyone issue.
So since the idea of being an intrapreneur has been gaining attention, what are the qualities that intrapreneurs possess and how would you know if you were one? See if any of these apply to you:
- You think, act, and communicate in ways that may be different than your fellow employees
- You are transparent and open about who you are and what you do
- You have a breadth and depth of experience that enables you to see problems as opportunities, uncertainty as a challenge, and ambiguity as a game to be played and won
- You are not afraid to fail
- You do not conform to the corporate mold
- You are in alignment with who you are, not what the company you work for wants you to be
- You love a challenge
- You take responsibility for your own growth and development
- You embrace change
- You think independently
- You look for leadership opportunities and ways to help others grow
- You see ways to improve upon the structure, processes, and policies within your organization
So do any of those resonate with you? Obviously this list is not all encompassing, but I’m sure you get the jist – an intrapreneur is someone that is an entrepreneur inside an organization and inside themselves. If you see yourself in this list of qualities, then you are that diamond in the ruff that an undercover boss would celebrate.
It’s also important to note that In the field of accounting, “hard skills” are what’s encouraged and what continuing professional education courses are centered around. However, intrapreneurs possess an important, strong set of “soft skills” – self-awareness, influence, collaboration, communication, listening, motivation, negotiation, delegating, emotional intelligence, empathy, creativity, flexibility, and resilience, to name a few.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to it, in podcast episode #145 – The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For Accountants – I discussed that numerous studies have been done, pointing to the fact that EQ, or emotional intelligence, is becoming a better predictor of professional success than someone’s IQ. I also shared that in 2015, Grant Thornton UK presented the results of a five-year organizational transformation in which emotional intelligence was built into its leadership training, resulting in a 35% revenue increase and a 16% uplift in client satisfaction.
Why does all of this matter? Because you may already possess what it takes to be an entrepreneur but not know it. If you are an intrapreneur, you might already have what it takes to go out on your own, create your own small firm, work with your own clients, lead your own team, create your own structure, processes, and policies, and use your talents to grow your own bottom line.
If you find that you have different motivations and aspirations than other employees, and if you think, act, and make decisions differently, you could already possess everything you need to become an entrepreneur. You could use your innate skills for your own benefit, as opposed to continuing to be an employee and an intrapreneur whose innate skills benefit a company you don’t own.
While any employer would be lucky to have you, I really want you to consider the possibility that being an intrapreneur has literally prepared you to take the next step to being an entrepreneur. So are you ready to talk?
Why we need to talk if you’re an intrapreneur
Here’s the thing about being an intrapreneur – it might feel safer to be an entrepreneur inside an organization, but how much more freedom could you have, not being an employee and instead being a true entrepreneur? If you already possess the qualities for being an intrapreneur, then there’s really no reason you can’t transition to being an entrepreneur.
If you have a desire to be your own boss, to make your own hours, to have more control over your time, you are literally in the right place and time in history. Never before have there been so many opportunities to go out on your own, especially as an accounting professional and a working mom.
Think about the idea of not having to deal with a difficult boss or coworkers, not having to work in a toxic work environment, having your own clients to service, having the flexibility to be home with your kids when you want to be (even during tax season), and making your financial goals a reality for your family. All of this, and more, is possible when you transition from being an employee, to being an entrepreneur; when you transition from being an intrapreneur in a company, to being an entrepreneur with her own company.
Here’s the thing – it’s completely normal to feel nervous, doubtful, overwhelmed, or scared about the prospect of leaving your job to become an entrepreneur. Being an intrapreneur still allows you to be an employee, and as I’ve shared on the podcast before, most of our formal education has prepared us to be employees, not to be self-employed.
Our modern education system was initially designed to teach future factory workers how to be good employees and it continues to teach us to be good employees, so it’s no wonder it might be challenging to even consider the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. In addition, like most accounting employees, over time your job becomes your identity and when faced with creating a new identity, most of us aren’t prepared or know where to turn for help.
That’s why I wanted to talk – because we CAN help. CPA MOMS has created the perfect platform that allows you to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur as painlessly as possible. We are the place for accountant mom intrapreneurs to get the support they need to become accountant mom entrepreneurs.
You see, there are two reasons why so many employees have a difficult time transitioning to becoming an entrepreneur – they don’t have the formula for building a business properly and they don’t know how to manage their brain. We can help you with both – we provide the training, systems, mentoring, and support system that you need to build a business properly but we also provide the training and coaching that you need in order to learn how to manage your brain.
The truth is that you are going into business with your brain and until you understand how to manage it properly, you’re going to get easily overwhelmed, confused, and experience self-doubt. These are all normal, but totally manageable when you know how – we can show you how.
We’re obviously not saying that it’s easy, but we have built a comprehensible system, as well as the technology to support that system, and a sisterhood of other accountant mom entrepreneurs who want to see you succeed as much as you do. We want to reward you for being an intrapreneur by showing you how to take the next step to becoming your own boss and letting all those amazing qualities you already possess benefit your bottom line more than anyone else’s.
If you believe you might be that diamond in the ruff that an undercover boss would want to encourage and celebrate, we’ve got what you need in order to make your dream a reality. Intrapreneurship is great, but entrepreneurship is even better.
If you are an intrapreneur and you’re ready to become an entrepreneur, we can definitely help. You can just go to https://cpamoms.com/franchise/
- As the global economy has changed, so have our choices about what we can have for a career and for our financial security.
- In a recent study, 65% of the top 100 most innovative companies are implementing intrapreneurship programs, recognizing that there are employees on their payroll that might be entrepreneurs at heart.
- While it’s wonderful to see the recognition of the fact that all employees are not created equal, it’s also something that is typically not implemented in the field of accounting unless you work for one of the Big 4 firms, and even then, grooming good intrapreneurs benefits the company but also keeps them as employees.