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How to turn employees into internal entrepreneurs

Sergey Bragin gives business leaders tips on how to unlock the potential of employees and help them develop the capabilities of an internal entrepreneur for the benefit of their company
According to research, every third person wants to become an entrepreneur, but only about 6% become them. This happens for various reasons: a lack of resources, skills, self-confidence or a conscious choice in favor of a safer option – “hired employee”.

However, not using the potential of the initiative minority means depriving the company of the lion’s share of fresh ideas and the possibility of significantly increasing the competitiveness of the organization as a whole. What to do with this useful resource?

Stage 1. We identify candidates

One of the main tasks of the leader is to provide the employee with employment in accordance with his internal role. It can be determined, for example, using the Belbin test. But it is better to do otherwise – to check the initiative in practice. Almost any process is a chain of actions; each of its links should fulfill its role.

Imagine a conveyor on which people work. The employee must have something to enter, so that after completing his job duties, he will pass it on to the next link. So, an ordinary employee, if he does not receive material for work, will sit back. And our candidate will begin to look for a reason. So, the key difference between the internal entrepreneur is the focus on the result of the company.

Stage 2. We motivate and inspire.

Only people who work with enthusiasm and with high motivation are able to become entrepreneurs in the company. External motivation provides a minimally acceptable level of efficiency; to achieve “burning”, it is necessary to use its internal, non-financial component. How to do it?

Delegate. When I created the company in 2011, I hired young employees as well. We had initiative groups, each of which solved its task. Freedom of action, the possibility of making mistakes and trust on my part led to the appearance of the same “burning”, interest in the result, the desire to solve the tasks as efficiently as possible. I only note that it is necessary to limit the budget, within which experiments and innovations are possible.

Train. A very useful experience is conducting trainings, seminars and business games. Provide your employees with the opportunity to express themselves and realize themselves, and they will become generators of ideas convertible into company profits.

Create a comfortable environment. No one has canceled such classical steps as team building, a free or flexible schedule, incentives and preferences for initiative, and a banal comfortable workplace with modern technical equipment.

Stage 3. We control

Complete freedom of action can lead not only to inappropriate use of company resources: there are many stories when managers established close ties with customers, took them away and organized their business. Therefore, you, as the head of the enterprise, must communicate with key customers. You need to find 5 minutes per week. This will not harm your other affairs, but it will significantly protect you.

Do not forget: your task is to make the internal entrepreneur a supporter of the company. He should feel your support, see the result of his labors, but at the same time be aware that his business is always much more difficult. And if it so happened that your employee decided to start his own business without luring your customers to himself, then here is the advice for you: help him. Practice confirms that such people do not forget the good, which means that in the future you can become successful partners.

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