I seem to spend a lot of time talking with people who have got stuck. Strangely, they are not stuck because they don’t know what to do or how to do it. They are stuck because they are operating inside a system that seems dedicated to stickiness rather than effectiveness!
Something strange happens when people get together in organisations to achieve things- the achieving bit gets harder. It starts off fine, a few of you can achieve so much more than you could on your own. You know each other, have the same purpose and values. Are all on the same page. Then a few more people join you and you can’t all hang out together. Communication becomes difficult. You have a lurking suspicion that some people are around just for the job, not for the purpose. Systems develop, processes are formed and what used to be decided over coffee now takes three committee meetings, four months and countless ‘chats’ with key players.
And we get stuck.
We get stuck because:
- People get very protective of their territory, job, process. Collaboration becomes hard
- Organisational processes tend to extreme caution. The new, innovative and disruptive ideas are just that- disruptive.
- We all get addicted to agreement rather than action.
A few years ago I came across a book by G. Pichot called Intrapreneuring in Action. It was a breath of fresh air because it described how I tried to work- and because it was an MBA text book I decided that it also legitimised how I tried to work! It contains ten principles for intrapreneurs. I have taught on these in Tearfund on several occasions and the sessions always generate responses ranging from fear and panic, to relief and energy, to the understanding of why a particular colleague is like they are.
Here they are:
1. Come to work each day willing to be fired
2. Circumvent any orders aimed at stopping your dream
3. Do any job needed to make your project work, regardless of your job description
4. Find people to help you
5. Follow your intuition about the people you choose, and work only with the best
6. Work underground as long as you can- publicity triggers the corporate immune system
7. Never bet on a race unless you are running in it
8. Remember that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission
9. Be true to your goals, but be realistic about the ways to achieve them
10. Honour your sponsors
What do you think of these- helpful or a recipe for corporate anarchy!
Later this week I will write on the Five Commitments that Intrapreneurs need to make in order to have integrity