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Navigating Economic Challenges: The Invaluable Role of Intrapreneurs in Tough Times

June 11, 2024, 07:00 AM

In today's volatile economic climate, businesses across sectors face numerous challenges, from fluctuating market demands to tightening financial conditions. This tumultuous landscape necessitates not just skilled management but visionary leadership that can turn adversity into opportunity. Enter the intrapreneur: a beacon of innovation and resilience within the corporate structure. All intrapreneurs’ journeys lead to finding deep satisfaction and purpose through intrapreneurship – emphasizing  the discovery of their path within established corporate structures.

Equipment Finance Advisor by RJ Grimshaw of Korn Ferry Quote

Current Economic Challenges and Portfolio Management Hurdles

The global economy is riding a roller coaster of instability fueled by geopolitical tensions, pandemic aftershocks, and unpredictable market dynamics. Companies are grappling with maintaining profitability while managing increasingly complex credit portfolios that must be agile enough to adapt to rapid changes. The pressure to innovate while managing risk has never been greater, laying bare the need for strategic reevaluation and robust leadership.

The Dual Value of the Intrapreneur in a Tough Economy

Intrapreneurs are employees who harness the spirit of independence and innovation typical of an entrepreneur, but within the confines of an organization. They are vital in periods of economic downturn for two primary reasons:

  1. Vital Employees:These individuals drive innovation from within, spearheading new projects and ideas that can lead to crucial pivots in business strategy. Their forward-thinking approach helps companies explore new markets or optimize existing processes, often leading to significant cost savings or revenue generation.

    Equipment Finance Advisor by RJ Grimshaw of Entrepreneurial ABLE leadership

  2. Functional Employees: While functional employees are essential for the day-to-day operations of a company, intrapreneurs ensure the long-term viability and growth of the business. They do more than just fulfill their roles; they redefine them.

    Equipment Finance Advisor by RJ Grimshaw of Intrapreneurship ABLE Quote

Why Become an Intrapreneur?

Choosing the path of an intrapreneur means opting to be a vital part of your company's future. Intrapreneurs are often at the forefront of industry innovation, given the autonomy to trial new processes, products and services. This role not only increases job satisfaction but also enhances job security, as these employees become indispensable to the organization's success.

Equipment Finance Advisor by RJ Grimshaw of Steve Balmer Quote

Navigating Hard Decisions During Economic Downturns

During downturns, businesses face difficult choices: cut costs, restructure operations, or even downsize. These decisions are critical and must be made with a strategic focus on sustainability and growth. Intrapreneurs play a crucial role here, using their insight into company operations and market conditions to help guide these tough decisions.

Marketability of Intrapreneurs if Downsized

Should downsizing occur, intrapreneurs are often quick to be rehired. Their proven ability to adapt and innovate makes them attractive to potential employers, particularly those looking to shake up their business models or introduce fresh ideas into their markets. A perfect example of this is a friend of mine who was downsized because of a corporate strategy, and this person had multiple offers from inside and outside of our industry. Was this person nervous? No! Did this person have many options and could control their direction? Yes! Do you believe the intrapreneur is thinking about being downsized? No, as they knew because of their past experiences of being an intrapreneur companies lined up!
Becoming an Intrapreneur: A Four-Step Guide

  1. Analyze:Understand your company's goals, challenges, and market position. There has to be alignment between you and the company!

    Equipment Finance Advisor by RJ Grimshaw of Employee Comparison

  2. Build: Prioritize areas in the business that are customer facing or driving efficiency and start improving. Remember these actions must be aligned to the company strategies that align with corporate objectives. A recent Gallup report shows 75% of all employees have ideas to improve the business. 

    After that start! Take action! solutions and strategies that align with corporate objectives.

  3. Leverage: Use your unique background, skills and the resources available to implement.

  4. Execute: Monitor the implementation of these strategies, adjusting as necessary to ensure success.

Balancing Acts: Initially, intrapreneurs will struggle with the dual tasks of required duties while impacting your ability to focus solely on intrapreneurship. Think of this as an 80/20 rule from a time perspective.

Another suggestion is to manage expectations realistically to ensure milestones can be celebrated properly. I advise maintaining clarity about goals and potential challenges to enhance team morale and personal satisfaction.

Click on the picture for a blog to help leaders.

Equipment Finance Advisor by RJ Grimshaw of Superman Quote

In closing, the journey of an intrapreneur is not just about surviving the storm but also about steering the ship towards new horizons. It's about being a lighthouse of innovation in the fog of uncertainty. Join us at our upcoming workshop to transform your professional path and help your company navigate these challenging times with strategic agility and confidence.

RJ Grimshaw
RJ Grimshaw was the former president and CEO of UniFi Equipment Finance from 2013 to October 2023 and spearheaded a remarkable transformation within the company. Under his leadership, UniFi witnessed a meteoric rise in assets, skyrocketing from $14 million to an impressive $250 million.

Prior to his impactful tenure at UniFi, Grimshaw held a series of senior leadership roles at EverBank and Key Equipment Finance, where he honed his skills in steering organizations toward success.

Beyond his corporate achievements, Grimshaw is the author of the book "ABLE LEADERSHIP." He is recognized as a leading authority on Intrapreneurship, sales, and leadership. This expertise positions him uniquely in assisting business owners.
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