6 Steps for Turning Your Employees Into Intrapreneurs

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

6 Steps for Turning Your Employees Into Intrapreneurs

If you want employees who think like entrepreneurs, follow these 6 tips for creating a culture where ideas and action are valued.

Here is a six-step blueprint you can use to help your employees develop their ideas. Not only will ideas come to you in a more actionable format, but you’ll be professionally developing your employees and giving them skills that will live on long beyond their current role — creating a great employee experience.

Step one: identify — know your audience

Your employees should know to whom they can bring ideas. Do you have a hierarchy, or can they go straight to the top? Define this process and determine who are the people in the organization they should pitch their idea to, who has the power to make their idea come to fruition and who has the power to assign resources to help them make their idea a reality.

Step two: match — is this the right fit/place/time?

The following criteria will help your employees evaluate if their idea is the right fit for your organization:

  • Does their idea fit the mission, vision, values or purpose of the organization?
  • Does their idea fit a need the company has?
  • Does their idea fit a need the customers have?
  • Does their idea fit a need the organization has internally?

If an idea isn’t an obvious fit with one of the four items above, then suggest that they rethink it so it does fit. You want to make sure there’s some connection between the two.

Step three: evaluate — ideas, ideas and more ideas

Once someone has an idea, knows the audience who’ll consider the idea and believes the idea is the right match for an organization, it’s time to evaluate the idea further and see if it can be even better. Before coming forward with an idea, your employees should consider running it through a handful of questions to help evaluate and strengthen it:

  • If you had implemented this idea six months ago, what would the organization look like now?
  • If you asked five other people in the company how to solve the problem your idea fixes, what would they have to say?
  • If you were evaluating this idea from the perspective of [insert person, business or other entity], how might it change? (For example, Disney, Google, Steve Jobs, Shaq, ET, Frank Underwood, etc.)
  • If you break your idea into three micro ideas and pick the most important one, what would it be?
  • If you had to explain your idea to a kindergartener, how would you do it? (This helps someone see whether their idea is more complex than it needs to be.)

Step four: gather — get buy-in and support

Now it’s time to look at the idea from the perspective of the people who’ll actually benefit from, use or implement the idea. They might have the most brilliant idea in the world, but if the people who are going to be enacting or implementing the idea don’t do it well, that idea is going to fall flat, your employee is going to be judged for it and they won’t see the fruits of your labor. Getting buy-in on multiple levels is really important.

Step five: analyze — know your position, situation, and attributes

A lot of people have heard of a SWOT analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — for analyzing ideas. But when it comes to bringing ideas forward in an organization, your employees should be doing a SWOT analysis not just on the idea but on themselves.

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