By adopting a grassroots approach, all organisations can find their own intrapreneurs.
After one of my recent talks, I was approached by a director of a major retailer who commented that for fresh ideas and to energise their thinking, they needed to engage with more entrepreneurs like me. However, flattering this was, it revealed a leadership mindset that is not uncommon; the instinct to look externally rather than recognise the talent that exists within an organisation.
It doesn’t take a lot to make a massive difference.
Given the opportunity, and the space, people can be amazingly creative, willing to give a whole lot more than a conventional top down, hierarchical approach often allows for. Just a small change in the methods of communication, and styles of engagement, can open up a level of innovation from the most unlikely quarters, revealing vital insights and skills hitherto hidden from organisational view.
When a London council had to reduce their Regeneration Department to one person, SpeakTo advised rethinking their organisational structure to look beyond into the wider organisation. This enabled a connection with others who might have relevant knowledge, insights and vested interests.; Curating a new internal platform extends the resource pool and releases new energy. In this case, tackling ‘silo’ working and engaging other parts of the wider internal community of people, would mitigate against the potentially negative effects of reducing resources so dramatically.
Other resources exist right on our doorstep…. literally. A recent project with a small charity identified an extended community resource that, once engaged, added new levels of enterprise, dynamism and skills to the organisation. In this way the charity had the potential to access marketing, promotional and technological skills, through those businesses able to offer support. In every business and community lies hidden capabilities and boundless creativity, potential that when properly connected, injects new insights, innovation and possibilities.
Begin with the belief that you already have what you need.
We live in a fast moving, highly complex world, that needs agility and understanding to properly navigate. Engaged, committed teams, that are equipped and trusted to deliver, are an economical and efficient way of securing a long term successful business. In his book The New Pioneers, Thomas Petzinger Jr. states “Businesses that fail to engage the eyes, ears, minds and emotions of every individual in the organization will find themselves overrun by obsolescence or crushed by competition”
That’s not to say that there isn’t an important strategic role for external intervention; but begin with the belief that you already have what you need, then the focus becomes how to effectively support, inspire and knit teams together to build capacity and capability.
This is key to a grassroots attitude; work with what you’ve got, start small to shape the solution within and to reflect the unique requirements of the organisation and people involved.