You can find a way or you can find an excuse

April 1, 2015
João Ferreira
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Corporate Entrepreneurship

I’m pretty sure most companies are continuously thinking on ways of solving their current challenges. And I’m also confident that they should consider entrepreneurship as part of the solution for their biggest problems.

The challenge to implement an entrepreneurship environment within a company is not a new subject and although there are some success stories, most of the attempts have been a failure. And honestly this doesn't look like an easy task… Even if you look at start-ups, you see that there is also a significant number that, while “growing up”, have lost their culture and identity. Taking this into account it’s fair to label “entrepreneurial culture” as “something very hard to get or maintain”. But then again, you can always say that “today’s world is different than yesterday’s” and “none of these past results can be taken for granted” as “each company has its own DNA” and “there’s not a unique recipe to get to where you want to be” (I can keep up for hours using this type of very truthful clichés…).

What I see is that some companies, due to its structure and/or leadership may found themselves facing huge headwinds to implement such a culture and some of them will ultimately fail. Regardless of the “status quo”, I also see that without an entrepreneurial culture it will be very hard for companies to deal with “new challenges”.

What’s the advantage?

If you look at what happens inside of the mind of most entrepreneurs, you see that the idea of failure represents a low risk compared to the reward that comes from the future that they are foreseeing. Belief is definitely very powerful and if you do get this collective mindset inside your company, companies will no longer look at barriers, headwinds or problems as “impossibilities”.

Although I understand that for companies to achieve this type of culture is almost as difficult as for start-ups to survive, I also understand that the argument should not be used as an excuse to give up trying. Now, more than ever, this “intrapreneurship” will serve the company’s purpose of evolution and sometimes… survival!

How to get there?

I think there are some important factors that might be helpful to succeed in this plan: Celebration and Coherence (many can consider this as obvious but remember that practice makes perfect)

Celebration: I believe that traction is one of the most important things to implement change. And in order to create traction for this culture, besides actually having the successes that vouch for the culture, one should celebrate and publicize those successes. Ultimately the epidemic effect of celebrating the successes will make your people keen on finding ways to solve problems instead of finding excuses.

Coherence: There is surely a lot of ways of implementing a culture and I’m not the expert that is going to give you the magical list, but I honestly believe that “Coherence” is one of the critical factors. What I mean about coherence can be described by three simple examples:

  • Hire people that are the representation of the culture you want to achieve
  • Retain people that represent the culture you want (Let the others go away)
  • Leadership should act the culture. "Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing." — Albert Schweitzer

Ultimately, companies need to create an environment where entrepreneurs feel comfortable so they don’t feel the need to leave and also make sure that they hire the right people and properly train the others for the “intrapreneurship” way of things.

Work hard, work fast, work smart and find a way