Episode 164 •
6th October 2020 • American Lean Weekday: Leadership | Lean Culture & Intrapreneurship | Lean Methods | Industry 4.0 | Case Studies • Tom Reed: Lean Enthusiast & President of American Lean
COVID-19 has brought about a change in every area of business. I bet leading employees working from home every day didn’t cross your mind two years ago. Yet, here we are. Products and processes that were fine six months ago won’t cut it today. There is a disruption in all parts of businesses. Getting intrapreneurs involved will enable your business to pivot. Are you ready to lead intrapreneurs? Let’s find out.
1. Are you comfortable with an unknown outcome?
Guiding intrapreneurs- internal change agents will not deliver a known outcome. Designing new products and processes is messy. Are you okay with that as a leader? In an intrapreneurial environment, it is your job to supply resources and support for efforts that might not pay off.
Success in developing an intrapreneurial culture requires a safety net for the employees that take on intrapreneurial projects. Employees have to know they have a safe place to return if the intrapreneur efforts aren’t as successful as hoped.
2. Can you stay out of the way?
The pandemic has compressed the timeline of business transformations that were many years in the future. This is especially true regarding digital transformations. Since everyone wants to buy goods from their home, companies have had to up their digital game.
Which brings us to an agile framework. Agile, a subset of Lean methodologies, uses self-directed work teams to complete sprints of work. Sprint length depends upon the company and effort required, but leaders are there to remove roadblocks and answer questions.
Agile and intrapreneurial teams should be self-organizing and cross-functional. Leaders become coaches and sounding boards, but stay out of the day to day work and shouldn’t have input into how the work is completed. Micro-managers need not apply.
3. Have you identified training?
It’s great to say to a team, “You’re now intrapreneurs. Go develop some new products.” Or “We need to up our digital game, develop new processes to support this effort.” Depending upon your culture, your employees will probably look at you like you have two heads.
If your company hasn’t spent the last 10 years re-inventing itself, it’s a heavy lift to ask your employees to do so now. There is an infrastructure that should exist for success. Employees need to understand the rules of engagement before they volunteer. Which is another item, these need to be volunteer roles.
Identify intrapreneurial training your employees can attend or even bring on-site. Intrapreneurial training should be hands-on even in today’s world. Training should include activities that help your employees become more creative, narrow options, conduct basic research, present and market their ideas, and bring the idea to life! If you would like to find out about our intrapreneur training please contact me.
If you answer yes to these questions, you are ready to lead intrapreneurs!
As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!