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by Steve Todd | October 08, 2010


This is the second in a series of articles that describe the unique traits of a corporate intrapreneur. These traits can be remarkably different from those that might be practiced by an entrepreneur working in a start-up environment.

The attribute of productivity is foundational to intrapreneurship, which is why it occupies the top position in this cyclical, seven-step chart.

How do intrapreneurs consistently deliver their ideas through the corporate maze of obstacles that are common at large companies? How do they become so influential?

The answer, of course, is that their track record of corporate productivity is stellar. If there is one thing that a corporation loves, it is an employee that delivers. In fact, the only thing that a corporation loves more is an employee that delivers early!

Great intrapreneurs deliver high-quality results that are ahead of schedule, even when given aggressive work assignments. They are dominant in their “sphere of expertise.” It takes months of hard work for an employee to become an expert in a given sphere.

I often advise college new hires to delay innovation activities in their first six to nine months on the job and focus instead of productivity. Deep technical knowledge is the jumping-off point for establishing an intrapreneurial track record.

While an intrapreneur is necessarily a highly productive employee, not every highly productive employee is an intrapreneur. Some productive employees like to work hard, establish a deep understanding of a technology, and then stay there. They are more than content to perpetually tweak and enhance their creations (or perhaps re-architect the same technology into a different form). This type of employee is indispensable for sustaining revenue generation from successful products. Without them, corporations could not fund newer, more innovative proposals.

Intrapreneurs, on the other hand, are productive but not satisfied to simply stay in their sphere. They remain in place long enough to deliver on their commitments, but they are intrinsically driven to create something new. They put into practice the second habit of intrapreneurs: initiative.

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Twitter: @SteveTodd
EMC Intrapreneur


Filed Under: Technology

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