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Making things happen 1: A user guide list of triggers to nurture, evaluate and reward entrepreneurial attitudes and sense of initiative
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Learning outcomes

Objectives and goalsClick to read  

At the end of this module you will be able to:

• Understand the essentials of intrapreneurship
• Implement the Dos and DON’Ts to nurture intrapreneurial culture
• Fine-tune a renewed managerial approach

DOs and DON’Ts

A disclaimerClick to read  

There is a lot misconception out there about entrepreneurship, and most importantly, entrepreneurial attitude.

The tones tempt to be most often too vague, hyper-simplified, and connoted by a sense of forced positivity – as entrepreneurial attitudes comes by just the capacity of remaining motivated and over-confidently positive

This fake sense of optimism threatens to hide in the shadow the harsh reality of being a person driven by entrepreneurial attitude and mind-set, and what really takes to favor the emergence of intrapreneurship-friendly operational environments. 

The content of this module is intended provide for the key coordinates on which you can rely on to set the very essentials and sine qua non of intrapreneurship-proficient organizations. 

Lesson from history - Animal SpiritsClick to read  

In the very early ages of neuro-medicine, researchers referred to the concept of Animal Spirits to describe metaphorically the very primordial triggers of human beings’ sense of agency and catalyzers of the neural transmissions responsible for motion.

The term found many different applications within disciplines even quite diverse each others, including economics.

The borrowing of the concept is credited to the economist John Maynard Keynes, which in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money identifies Animal Spirits as the main driver behind the pursuit of an entrepreneurial initiatives, and motivated by the pure trust in the intuition behind the entrepreneurial (i.e.., business) idea.

Although certainly very much fascinating, the idea of entrepreneurial animal spirits observed into-practice has some distinctive limitations – that in fact we wish to address in the context of this module

A critique - Do Animal Spirits really work for entrepreneurship and sense of entrepreneurship attitude?Click to read  

The conviction that things will turn well just because they are supposed to has nothing to do with sense of initiative and entrepreneurial attitude – this is just wishful thinking and it is no different from gambling in the casino…

People do not act because they expect good things happening around them regardless, people act to satisfy a state of need and to move forward from a point of status quo that is no longer sustainable.

But the change of the status quo is inevitably uncomfortable: it forces people to move into the unknown and change many of their consolidated perceptions about reality and the known world. 

So how do you make sure that people are at their ease through the process? What are the leverages that you can rely on to effectively enhance their sense of initiative and their perception of comfort within an environment of discomfort? In conclusion, how do you help people in making things happen?

Inspire and motivate!...or maybe not? Intrapreneurship does not work for all…Click to read  

First of all, if your objective is to catalyze entrepreneurial initiative you need to recognize first where fertile ground is and where there is concrete margin for further intervention and development.

Intrapreneurship does not work for all: most of people are not comfortable with the idea of managing others or being on charge of whole processes. Such responsibility might too much for them to handle.

Doesn’t matter how many inspiring pep-talks and motivational speech you will do, these people will not simply see themselves in a position of lead…as a matter of fact, the more hyped and hyper-energetic you want them to be about this perspective, the more anxiety you will cause to them.

The very first key step to nurture intra/entrepreneurial spirits within your company is to find that very small percentage of people with that sparkle in their eyes and narrow down your further focus and efforts on them.
Watch out for the traps - Slaloming through common inhibitors and barriers to intrapreneurshipClick to read  

The first official definition that we have of intrapreneurs is […] dreamers who do. Those who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business.

Creating implies the opportunity of experimenting with inputs and resources in a what that has never been piloted before (i.e., adding new ingredients to the equation value, re-structuring already established processes, etc.).

Innovation implies the opportunity of contributing to the generation of something that has never been consolidated before, and with the potential of generating new positive quanti/qualitative outcomes

Of any kind implies the opportunity of carrying out creative innovative processes out of any strict boundary, and with the awareness of moving within a free-of-testing zone

Your dreamers who do in the making will need a space to start expressing and consolidating their creative innovation that is free from subtle and “malicious” prejudices against what seems unfamiliar, what seems too far from showing signs of maturity, what seems too distant from comfortable proxy solutions 
No short term vision allowed - Waiting for the plant to flower…Click to read  

Your potential dreamers in the making might be showing very early signs of intrapreneurs to-be, but this does not means that the ideas generated by them will be really impactful, profitable, and reliable as quickly.

People that play the game by the book know what the rules are already: their familiar with the roadmap and most importantly are well aware of the essentials of their work breakdown structure.

On the other hand, intrapreneurs to be are making their own books and are settings up by themselves the rules that apply to them.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in playing the game by the book, but it is evident how in the second case we’re on a whole different level and scale of responsibility.

The consolidation of positive spillovers from these new emerging dynamics requires time, patience and the willingness to experience numerous, frequent and sometime even hurtful setbacks. If entrepreneurs have a contingency plan to endure and be resilient to all of this, time will make its action…
Build a system that is here to stay - Practicing endurance and resilienceClick to read  

The element of risk is a distinctive feature of entrepreneurship, and this is the element setting apart a brilliant managerial career from a brilliant entrepreneurial career.

Entrepreneurs learn to deal with a mental-fatigue and distress factor like no others.

The burden and responsibilities that comes with any decision is on their shoulders and their shoulder only: if they wish to nurture their dreamers in the making, they need to transfer all the wealth of knowledge that they can to help people in fitting these new shoes..

The commitment that people will show to the cause they embrace might vary from person to person, depending on the intrinsic elements behind their renewed motivation in making step forward.

As the “original” entrepreneur, you will be required to assess what is their limit: the point beyond which they are not willing to go further – otherwise this might create some mismatch between what are your expectations from them, and what are their expectations for themselves (i.e., a typical scenario which is the perfect environment for conflict).
Magic formula is the no-magic formula - Embrace uncertainty…within some extentsClick to read  

Inspiring and motivating is not enough.

A system that is immune to organizational innovation, is a system that is afraid of implementing changes that could disrupt the natural and traditional course of things.

Settings the conditions for a “business climate” that is prone to trigger entrepreneurial-like mindsets among employees implies flexibility within some margin or errors that will inevitable arise once things finally in motion.


A renewed managerial approach

A disclaimerClick to read  

In the context of the past few slides, we pinpointed the very essentials required to set the stage for the nurturing and emergence of intrapreneurship-oriented business environments.

In the next section, we will focus on the other hand on triggers and leverages to which the entrepreneurs can rely on to keep things in motion and keep on nurturing the intrapreneurship engine within their organization. A brief snapshot of the aforementioned is introduced below:

1. Support and sponsorship
2. Self-awareness and self-efficacy
3. Incentives
4. Rewards
5. Resources
6. Communication
7. Processes

Support and sponsorship - An open and fluid culture to foster intrapreneurshipClick to read  

Dreamers in the making should feel fully support and valorized. 

Valorization and approval does not means that everything that comes out of their mind should be supported and sustained regardless, but that at least there should be consideration and discussion on the given matter.

The establishment of an open culture and a business climate that is welcoming of such kind of attitude represents certainly the sine qua non for encouraging inputs, comments and feedback from the bottom-up. 

A quick, efficient and reactive (responsive) structured feedback loop system allows ideas to circulate more smoothly, while reducing the margins for disruptive bottle necks and barriers to effective dialogue.

Self awareness and self efficacy - Exploring the ways aheadClick to read  

The pathways towards entrepreneurship-inspired solutions is a bumpy road.

Managers, entrepreneurs and people at the top of the chain of command need to encourage employees’ independent and creative solutions without imposing overcomplicated evaluation mechanisms that would risk to annihilate the intrinsic benefits from the whole process. 

There needs to be of course a structured system of assessment and monitoring, but these should not negatively impact the course of things, slowing down for instance the whole timeline in-between the input → elaboration → output value chain.

Incentives… not of financial natureClick to read  

Dreamers in the making are (typically) motivated by other kind of expected rewards, that could be related most simply to the self-recognition of a higher status.

The building-up of a system that favors the emergence of entrepreneurial-like initiatives among employees should in fact works on the setting of more sophisticated incentives valorizing the form of the collaboration, and the roles / responsibilities of the people in charge of it.

Most of times, entrepreneurs provide for a safe environment to these people to have a say in critical decision making scenarios, which assures in turn for a great sense of empowerment. 

Rewards… of financial natureClick to read  

Risk-takers as dreamers in the making are (typically) well aware of the implications that a wrong decision will have on the success of their initiative.

At the same time, due to the very distinctive features of the reality they play in as intrapreneurs, they cannot have full control over the outcome of the action they are making themselves responsible for.

The financial compensation for their efforts should take into consideration co-developed alternatives of profit-sharing, which include both short and long-term oriented milestones.

Resources - Knowledge capital, time and margins for errorClick to read  

It is important to always keep in mind that at the end of the day, dreamers in the making a.k.a. potential intrapreneurs are still employees more or less “tangled” to day-to-day responsibilities and tasks.

Intrapreneurs cannot afford to leave everything behind just to pursue their ideas: that is the reason why it is important that entrepreneurs and top-management negotiate with intrapreneurs a clear and transparent project plan for the development of everything of value that employees can bring to the table.

This includes also access to:

Financial and economic resources that would not be normally accessible
Technologies and knowledge capital in general (i.e.., consulting services from experts within the firm) that are normally out of their range of interest
…last but not least, time
Communication… for quality assurance and strategic planningClick to read  

There are several ways in which firms can leverage on communication to foster a nurturing environment of dreamers and aspiring intrapreneurs.

In large organization for instance, it is common to have in place a digital platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas and expertise that is accessible to all and free from prejudices.

In some other organizations more production-oriented, physical “letter boxes” are placed near the production line, so that workers that operates with the machinery on a daily basis can contribute with the ideas for the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the whole assembly / production system.

In other instances, it is common to submit business challenges to workers and employees that are not necessarily responsible for the function to which the challenge relates to: their inputs are free from any potential bias and can in fact trigger new solutions / alternatives generating from a new way to see at things…

Processes - Decentralization and delegationClick to read  

It is not wrong to assume that often the most robust and reliable knowledge of process or a product is detained by the people at the lowest level of the decision making chain, but which are also the same with a closer outlook on its distinctive features.

Companies and organizations that are successful in putting in place intrapreneurship proficient environments tempt to streamline the chain of command, while favoring at the same time decentralized systems of governance that combines cross-sectorial knowledge collaborations and multidisciplinary-based cooperation projects.

To some extent, in the case of micro and small enterprise this decentralization is even easier, being this organization already much more flexible compared to big established corporation, and where – thanks to the reduced scale of the activities and no. of people involved – is it way less complex to manage multidisciplinary and cross-sectorial projects as just described.

Summing up

Summing upClick to read  

Well done! Now you know more about:

• Good and not so good practices to nurture intrapreneurial spirits
• Triggers and inhibitors to the sense of initiative of your employees
• Leverages for a intrapreneurship-friendly managerial approach


Intrapreneurship, MSMEs, intrapreneurial attitude, intrapreneurial culture


• Understand the essentials of intrapreneurship

• Implement the Dos and DON’Ts to nurture intrapreneurial culture

• Fine-tune a renewed managerial approach

• Good and not so good practices to nurture intrapreneurial spirits

• Triggers and inhibitors to the sense of initiative of your employees

• Leverages for a intrapreneurship-friendly managerial approach


There is a lot misconception out there about entrepreneurship, and most importantly, entrepreneurial attitude.
The tones tempt to be most often too vague, hyper-simplified, and connoted by a sense of forced positivity – as entrepreneurial attitudes comes by just the capacity of remaining motivated and over-confidently positive

This fake sense of optimism threatens to hide in the shadow the harsh reality of being a person driven by entrepreneurial attitude and mind-set, and what really takes to favor the emergence of intrapreneurship-friendly operational environments.

The content of this module is intended provide for the key coordinates on which you can rely on to set the very essentials and sine qua non of intrapreneurship-proficient organizations.


(1)    Goldberg, W. H. (1986). Book Reviews: Gifford Pinchot III: Intrapreneuring: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur 1985, New York: Harper and Row. 368 pages. Organization Studies, 7(4), 398–399. https://doi.org/10.1177/017084068600700408
(2)    Five Insights into Intrapreneurship. A guide to Accelerating Innovation within Corporations. Deloitte Digital. URL: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/de/Documents/technology/Intrapreneurship_Whitepaper_English.pdf