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The Corporate Intrapreneur: Start by disrupting yourself.

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In this, the second in a series of guest posts for Procurement Leaders from Giles Breault and Sammy Rashed of The Beyond Group, we look at those core factors that make an 'intrapreneur' how that relates to procurement. 

Disruption is a vital element in that elusive but powerful concept that we began to identify in our last post as interpreneurialism. We see this in practice time and again, a single individual who is at the core of starting and driving a transformation. This individual has typically decided (often very deliberately) not to accept things as they stand and wishes to pursue a vision that is potentially at odds with the status quo. Often they spend a great deal of time thinking over what a changed outcome might look like and then, and only then, begins to enlist others in this new vision.

Somehow that person has decided to disrupt themselves, knowing how uncomfortable the ensuing journey might be. They have become the risk-taker.

Now, to be sure, we have seen many transformations that have been mandated along with the other goals and objectives for the organisation and are treated as though they are ‘regular business.' Yet, the ones that have staying power, are most durable and ultimately create the biggest benefit are the brainchild of small groups of highly motivated individuals that have a real passion for change. These individuals have focussed on needs (not just outcomes) and move towards filling in the blank spaces within companies (more on this later).

Head for the blank space

Whitney Johnson, in her seminal book Disrupt Yourself, hits on some key points that we have observed in many of our engagements. She states that “disruptors not only look for unmet needs, they match those needs with their distinctive strengths. It's not just about cashing out or getting promoted, but also by the joy of following a true vocation.” Whitney goes on to say that intrapreneurs are playing where no one else is playing (the blank spaces); meaning that real intrapreneurs are moving away from tried and true solutions to ones that are novel, require a measure of risk taking and promise sizeable rewards and recognition.


So how to disrupt yourself and start that long journey towards being an intrapreneur? While we don't have all the answers and are looking forward to our readers' perspectives, we can offer up several concepts that are explored in more detail in our upcoming invitation-only event The Corporate Intrapreneurs Forum.


  • Focus on a real problem either present or future

Real problems demand solutions. Pushing a new idea into a company that has no ultimate demand is hard and unrewarding. Real problems create 'pull' for solutions.


  • Keep an open network and explore loose ties

There's a saying that “the larger your organisation, the smaller your world”. It's easy to get sucked in and blinded by what's demanding immediate attention. If you always go to the same conferences or read the same publications, you will continue to come up with the same answers. Stay attuned to what is going on outside your usual frame of reference.


  • Maintain an insatiable curiosity and a willingness to learn.

This is leading predictor of C-suite success. As CPOs and professionals in the function aspire to keep moving up, your vision and knowledge that stretches beyond the procurement mandate will prove to be a discriminating factor.


  • Become a “Game-Changer”

Understand where you fit in the intrapreneurial landscape by knowing your ability to see the future, build the future and deliver it The Game Changer Index is a key assessment tool we introduce at our Corporate Intrapreneurs Forum: the Index assesses four profiles which are equally valuable and are necessary to ensure Game Changers thrive.


  • Surround yourself with diversity

Intrapreneurial leaders recognise the natural propensity to hire and promote people that are similar to them. They explicitly choose to surround themselves with people that have different perspectives, and seek to hire based on difference rather than similarity.


The ability to disrupt oneself is a common characteristic of successful intrapreneurs, irrespective of organisation or industry type. What examples do you have, either first or second hand, of disruption in your business? Please email us or post a note in the comments section below.

In our next blog we will explore the intrapreneur roadmap.

Part one available hereStay tuned for this monthly series on Procurement Leaders.

Giles Breault and Sammy Rashed are co-founders of The Beyond Group.


Giles is executive coach & advisor to innovative companies, executives and individuals providing leadership, knowledge, and experience across a spectrum of business activities including; global procurement function leadership, productivity, and business services.

Sammy Rashed is a career-long intrapreneur who created every one of his roles over 25 years experience, ultimately making the leap to become an entrepreneur. He now focuses on his productivity advisor, procurement strategist, and developer of future leaders roles.

This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.

Giles Breault
Posted by Giles Breault

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