Tired of the daily office politics? Forget playing office politics, be intrapreneurial

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.

- dictionary definition: intrapreneur

Let's talk about career building and why people do it

To Advance yourself to that next promotion you need to motivate the decision makers that: 

    1. You're ready for the new level of responsibility;
    2. You're capable of delivery in the new role;
    3. That you have the level of leadership required for the new role;
    4. That you can function more autonomous and self managing in the new role;
    5. Finally, that you will be competent in the new role and have value to contribute therein.

 At first most people approach career building as simply getting promoted into the next pay grade level. Some change their motivation from "pay grade upgrade" to a need to play a more active role in the strategic side of growing a business and reaching performance targets. The latter seems to naturally flow once the individual reaches upper middle management level. This can be attributed to money not being a means to an end anymore; once you have enough, you realize money is not the main motivator in life, it's merely a means to an end.

When you reach the point of defining higher level motivations for advancing further in your career you will find that old ways of office politics no longer work as well as they used to, more is expected than a good report from colleagues and superiors. The key performance indicators (or aptitudes) become more measurable in financial terms for some roles and for other roles more quantified in measures such as service delivery, incident reports, strategic goals reached etc.

This is the moment where career builders that have relied solely on understanding, navigating and participating in the political landscape of the organization encounter a new challenge: how to advance in their career by more active participation through measurable value contribution.

So what is intrapreneurial career building?

Intrapreneurials are individuals who bring entrepreneurial activities and skills to an employment environment. The term intrapreneur is so unfamiliar that most spell checkers doesn't recognize the word and wants to suggest the word entrepreneur as a spelling correction (check your browser as you read this article).

The first time I learnt this word were in business 101 which were part of a computer science degree I were busy with part time through a local university. There's apparently three kinds: entrepreneurs, entrapreneurs and intrapreneurs. I'm referring to Intrapreneurs

The advantage of thinking entrepreneurial is that you learn skills you would normally not need. Problem solving skills are honed and dexterity gained through involuntary encounters with challenges you didn't anticipate (both technical, people/processes and deal negotiation impasses to name a few of the kinds of problem solving challenges).

Thinking intrapreneurial also means you've grown accustom to identifying opportunities for value exchange, for doing business where others are overlooking these opportunities.

Not sure HOW to be intrapreneurial?

In the Practical tips and advice to become intrapreneurial article I explain intrapreneurialship and how to become one. Yes, you can become intrapreneurial through practicing certain principles and habits. With enough practice, you'll build an intuition for it and with time it becomes second nature, it's a form of reprogramming your brain.

Marius Conradie
A freelance full stack web developer and solutions architect based in Johannesburg, South Africa.