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Who Wants to Be an Intrapreneur? Part IV: When the Intrapreneur’s Boon is Rejected

in-tra-pre-neur (In¹tre-pre-nur) n. 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 [intra(corporate) + (ENTRE)PRENEUR.] -inftrapre-nouri-al adj. -intra-pre-neuri-al-ism n. -in’trapre-neuri-al-ly adv.

Position Statement:

To survive and thrive, an intrapreneur must learn the fine art of…

  • adapting without assimilating
  • maintaining a cutting edge without getting cut
  • irritating and innovating without alienating key Influentials and check signers
  • thinking like a CFO without losing the dreams and passion of a visionary
  • nurturing passion, dedication and caring without attaching
  • respecting history & tradition without sacrificing his/her “Beginner’s Mind”
  • bowing out before getting thrown out



When the Boon is Rejected:  Maintain Authenticity

The reoccurring storyline tells the tale of the hero who awakens one day to the call of adventure. More than an invitation, it is closer in power to a Siren’s song without necessarily the classic torn sails, broken mast and floating splinters.

His rational mind and his emotional being play tug-of-war but, in the end, as often is the case, personal emotion trumps collective reason.  He goes in search of the grail knowing that, as Joseph Campbell reminds us, there is no security and there are no rules.

On the journey, our hero encounters tests, allies and enemies.  And, with the aid of a wise mentor, and a writer who knows what Hollywood wants, he conquers all adversity, captures the flag, and sets off back to the village (perhaps even with the once-deadly-but-now-tamed Siren) to share the boon, the prize, the newly found wisdom.

All live happily ever after. Fade to black.

Okay.  Fine.  But there are times when you, the intrapreneur or entrepreneur—the anointed savior—discover that the boon, the prize, the newly found wisdom you’re introducing to the organization is rejected. No matter the treasure, it is still disruptive in a world that knows not, or little, of its existence or value.  Truth and authenticity are threatening in a world of shifting facade.  What you may view as “The Answer” may well be viewed by others, particularly those previously charged with your task, or hoping to have your position, as the newest problem to be dealt with, swiftly.

When you are the hero and this happens to you, you have a few options (but, there’s only one choice).

  • Grab Your Booty and Run (all meanings apply). Resolve that they are fools not worthy of your treasure.  Saddle up for new horizons confident in the delusion that others elsewhere will readily value what you have to offer.
  • Spin and Repurpose the Treasure to Meet the Needs of the Village Elders. With this option, you have tempered your optimism and watered down the strength of your beliefs.  You have compromised values, ethics, morals, and sensibilities in exchange for acceptance and security.  You have both created and assimilated into an unauthentic system.  Shame on you.
  • Slow Down and Allow Others to Catch Up. – Kaizen. Without compromise or dilution, break the treasure down into manageable bite-sized pieces and strategically show value to those in a position to harvest and distribute the full treasure.

Coming Up …

PART V:        Time’s Up:  Knowing When to Turn Your Own Page

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