Five Mistakes Intrapreneurs Make When Trying To Change Their Companies

Tendayi Viki
3 min readJun 3, 2019

Most large corporations have entrepreneurial employees who are constantly trying to innovate. As far as I am concerned, these are crazy people! They wake up every morning and go to work to swim against the tide. This is insane! And yet, these people exist. Passionate people who are committed to helping their company become more innovative. They can see the future coming and they are committed to ensuring that their company survives in that future.

This passion can sometimes lead intrapreneurs to make mistakes. While their hearts are in the right place, some of the choices they make can lead to counterproductive outcomes. This article identifies five key mistakes I have seen intrapreneurs make.

  1. Lack of Focus: Being an intrapreneur is a very difficult job at the best of times. However, it gets even harder when the intrapreneur is not clear on what their job actually is. Is their job to help launch successful new products in the market? Or is their job to transform the company into an organization that can innovate sustainably? There is always so much to do and intrapreneurs end up doing things that have limited impact. As far as I am concerned, making clear choices will help intrapreneurs focus on what needs to be done.
  2. Lack of Humility: Some intrapreneurs think they are Elon Musk. I am often shocked by the condescending language they use to describe their colleagues. Their contempt for leaders ‘that don’t get it’ is palpable. You can feel their frustration and righteous anger every time you speak to them. I believe that this righteous indignation is problematic. In fact, I can almost predict which innovators are going to flame out of their roles quickly by how much humility they lack. So let’s dispense with any myths you may have about yourself. You are not Elon Musk! You are not a hero here to save the company — and you are not working in a company full of idiots.
  3. Lack of Patience: A lot of intrapreneurs that I have met are impatient people. By the time we start working together, they are already fed up with their company. They know something needs to be done and they just want to jump in and get started. So they will take whatever opportunity they get and run with it. I believe that this is the wrong approach. As much as we are…
Tendayi Viki

Associate Partner at Strategyzer. Author of Pirates In The Navy. Thinkers50 Innovation Award Nominee 2017 - Radar Thinker 2018. Learn more: