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4 Traits of True Intrapreneurs

They're the most driven, creative, and successful people at work--and they're just waiting to transform your business. Here's how to spot them.

"Intrapreneurs" are workers with innovative ideas and the ability to act on them quickly. 

Vijay Govindarajan, professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and Jatin Desai, CEO of The Desai Group, write in the Harvard Business Review about how to spot them so you can put them to use and foster a start-up environment at your company.

Here's what helps them succeed:

Money isn't what drives them.

"The primary motivation for intrapreneurs is influence with freedom," Govindarajan and Desai write. "They want to be rewarded fairly, but money is not the starting point for them."

They spot trends before everyone. 

"[Intrapreneurs] are not sitting around waiting for the world to change; they're figuring out which part of the world is about to change, and they will arrive just in time to leverage their new insights," say the authors. 

They "greenhouse" ideas. 

Intrapreneurs never share their ideas until they're airtight. Good ideas are disruptive, but intrapreneurs know the value of testing (and re-testing) to ensure that idea clicks. "They do not act impulsively on a solution immediately, keenly aware of the need to honor the discovery phase for the new solution, giving it time to develop and crystallize," say the authors.  

They know how to pivot.

Smart entrepreneurs know when to shift their business strategy from something that isn't working and intrapreneurs are no different. "Steve Jobs pivoted Apple from being an education and hobby computer company to a consumer electronics company," note the authors. "Wipro of India pivoted from being a small vegetable oil manufacturer to a software outsourcing powerhouse. CEO Tony Hsieh of Zappos pivoted from selling only shoes to becoming an online customer experience company." Look for the same in your workers. 

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Sep 25, 2013

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter,

Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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