An entrepreneur is defined as the one who takes risks to initiate any new venture- who owns and operates that venture to make profit out of an opportunity that he/she has spotted. On the other hand, an “intrapreneur” is the one who has these entrepreneurial qualities, but who is working for an organization as an “employee”. Do you smell trouble? Well, this type of employees could either be an extremely valuable asset to an organization, or a huge liability – depending on how you are treating them.
If you are a type of conventional manager who just loves to maintain status quo, because you believe that “anything that is not broken does not need to be fixed”, or you are afraid of power imbalance because of better ideas are being generated by those enthusiastic intrapreneurs and not by yourself, then intrapreneur(s) is a liability to you. Once they understand that their creative ideas are not welcome, they will either leave the organization, or they still continue in the organization while their enthusiasm embraces an early death. Once their enthusiasm dies, they perfectly match with your personality and expectations, and organization runs into that spiral deactivation of ingenuity and initiative. What a waste of talents!
On the other hand, you can be out of your box and spot an “intrapreneur” in your organization. Bring him/her into your team. Cherish his/her risk taking attitude. Elicit and encourage proposals for new projects that would help the organization leaping forward. Empower him/her, tolerate mistakes and help to learn through mentoring. This nurturing would definitely bring the flare out of an intrapreneur, which would rather put yourself on a more respected position of a true leader. Because, without you – the visionary leader, an intrapreneur cannot be born, grown, and retained.