Tag Archives: project

The one for those who manage mavericks

Well not strictly mavericks – what I really mean is intrapreneurs. Those who operate as entrepreneurs but within organisations. If you’ve been reading this blog from the start you’ll know the whole purpose behind writing it was to find some individuals who may be described as intrapreneurs and get in contact with them for interviews. Now having finished the whole research process it seemed appropriate to share at least some of what I found.

One of the my research interests was discovering the impact of the line manager on the individual intrapreneur. What I found was broadly there were three modes of behaviour that supported intrapreneurial behaviour. The list of behaviours that DIDN’T support intrapreneurs was SO long that it would be a whole project in itself but they can be summarised as ‘being a risk adverse, arse covering scaredy cat’ although I wouldn’t have submitted that to uni!!

So the three types are:

1. Sponsor

Provide organisational support (as opposed to personal support). Are usually a very senior manager. Help get hold of resources or keep those you’ve already got. Protect you from the cogs of the machine (governance). Manage senior stakeholders and calm them down when they get to flapping. Hold back the tide of resistance until you can get some success

2. Mentor

Provide personal support. Help the individual cope with the ups and downs of an initiative especially for those who are used to having results to keep themselves calm. Encouragements – lots of it. Help the individual make sense of the nonsense going on in their heads. Sometimes just sit and listen (and sooth with wine)

3. Licensor

Combine many of the things in both 1 and 2 but significantly have been involved in the genesis of the idea/concept/product/initiative so are likely to be more comfortable doing some of the hand holding/tide holding mentioned above.

So there it is – about 1200 words of academese in 3 short paragraphs and I’ll spare you from the rest for now at least. However I will leave you with something to think about – if you are leading people who are operating outside of ‘normal’ corporate operations with the intent of improving the organisation (i.e. mavericks as opposed to rogues who’s intent is less clear) then think about which if any of these roles you play…

Oh and for anyone interested this is a word cloud of my project just in case you’re having trouble sleeping at any time!

Project Wordle

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The one where it ends

Or so I thought….

For some reason I was in bed last night thinking of literary opening lines and some of the greats.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

“All this happened, more or less.”

“Call me Ishmael”

“Marley was dead to begin with.”

Rather than being from a novel (as the above are) my favourite comes from a play for voices and it is:

“To begin at the beginning”

If I begin at the beginning, this blog started in a hotel room in Asia, in the middle of March of this year when I was in a state of panic regarding recruiting participants for my Masters project and the first post said by September 1st it was get a Masters or bust….

Over the next few days I wrote some follow up posts to help the recruitment process and slowly but surely got engaged with the process of blogging and 34 posts later here we are. September 1st beckons and I am sat in the same hotel this all started in. I fly back tonight and I have some tinkering and tweaking to do on my project dissertation but the back is broken and I WILL hand it on time.

My original plan had been to write this blog until my dissertation was done then end with a swansong post crediting all the people who have helped and supported the process. Then sign off with a ‘thank you very much and good night’

But two things happened which have changed that plan:

  1. I have found this really enjoyable and a great way to get nonsense out of my head and structure some of my more random thought
  2. I failed one of my exams (by an infuriating 3%) so I will NOT be getting a Masters this year and neither am I bust as I get the opportunity to resit next June

Therefore, the blog will continue with the random sharing of my thoughts and occasional rants but in the meantime I still want to credit all the people who have helped and supported my project. So in alphabetical order they are:

  • Kevin Ball
  • Paul Bullock
  • Fran Burnford
  • Alison Chisnell
  • Lily Haines-Gadd
  • Rob Harrison
  • Andy Jones
  • Katie McNab
  • Leighanne Miles
  • Neil Morrison
  • Judy Payne
  • Gillian Symon
  • Charlotte Thom
  • Kirsty Walden
  • Sophie Watson

Thank you all so much for your help in various ways. If you don’t know why you are being thanked ask 🙂

A few collective mentions:

The #ConnectingHR community who have supported this blog and helped spread the word throughout the process

The company in India that turned my transcriptions around in record speed (15 hours of interviews is no mean feat!)

Particularly, the participants of my project, who remain nameless for ethical reasons but if you are reading this, thank you very much and you will be sent a copy of the project once it’s marked

And finally:

To my boss, Sue Malti. She provided both the impetus and funding for me to study and although I have regretted the decision on numerous occasions and I am sure hindsight will soften the blow and if and when I finally achieve a degree it will be a source of considerable pride. Thanks!

P.S. [Kudos and celebrity to anyone who correctly identifies all the opening lines!]

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The one where I share my not last words

Firstly, thank you so much for response to first two posts. Some great leads on finding corporate entrepreneurs for the project (but happy to have more suggestions –I need about 20!). Already some really interesting people who, as an aside, sound like they have awesome jobs!!

Secondly, having been in Tokyo last Friday and now watching the trouble the Japanese are facing in managing the nuclear situation and keeping basic services functional, my thoughts go out to the people all over Japan who are fearful for their immediate safety and security.

Thirdly (and mainly) I would like to take you back to a sunny afternoon in the summer of 2004. I had just finished my CIPD exams and my 5th or 6th pint and declared in a quasi-drunken voice to anyone who would listen “if I ever suggest studying whilst working full time again – please, someone shoot me”. Talk about famous not last words…

I remember standing outside Birkbeck in Bloomsbury now in the late summer of 2009 with those words ringing in my ears and if there was a man stood next to me in a black bowler hat I would have delivered the “this is another fine mess you’ve got us into, Stanley” line but alas I was stood alone (but from memory I did tweet my quote and a picture)

Due to my work schedule I could only consider the distance learning option which I have found particularly hard as I prefer to learn through debate and discussion which unfortunately has been restricted to the 5 weekend workshops we have attended. The workshops will be worthy of a post in themselves I’m sure but I generally work 10 hour days, then get home do normal stuff like catch up with friends, eat, chores etc and then the thought of sitting down with a journal article has been about as attractive as root canal surgery (and that’s pretty bad I assure you).

Learning on our course has been mainly about reviewing a volume (around 5-6 per fortnight) journal articles and then discussing them with other students in a moderated online forum run by the Uni. We are supposed to make a certain number of posts per week and contribute to the discussion. This has been a slog which at times (and on several occasions) I have failed at…

So what’s my point? Well there are two of them:

1. Before taking on a course such as this consider how much you want it and if the mode of learning suits your style and life style

2. If I ever suggest studying whilst working full time again – please, someone shoot me. No, really I mean it!!!!!

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The one where the plot thickens…and I ask for help

You may have got from my first post (it was there in the subtext) that I am experiencing a little anxiety about my research project. The project is a 10,000 word dissertation, fully researched and referenced. I do love that in a piece of work that is supposedly mine, that my opinion has no input whatsoever – unless it’s cited I can’t say a word!!

Also, I must say as an aside I would never make an academic. The reasons for this are numerous, but the primary one it seems my surname is far too prosaic – Jones. The bunch I seem to end up reading have weird and wonderful surnames which makes writing any bibliography a chore. If your name is Smith or Davies – please, get into academia, quickly!

The most difficult hurdle so far has been choosing a topic to research for the aforementioned. You have the WHOLE of occupational psychology and with frustrations about how specific an academic research question has to be aside, that is a whole lot of ‘stuff’ to choose from.

So what have I chosen?

Entrepreneurship. Specifically internal entrepreneurs (aka Intrapreneurs or Corporate Entrepreneurs). If you say entrepreneur to most people they think of Branson, The Dragons or god help us all sur’Alan … but my interest is not in these people. I am interested in those who achieve as entrepreneurs but within a corporate setting. They have launched businesses within businesses or they have launched whole new product or service areas. They have structures, processes, constraints, budgets, teams, governance and most critically for my project – bosses!

Which brings me to the source my of current highest anxiety… where the hell do I find people who are achieving as Corporate Entrepreneurs (you may see where this is going) if only there was a way to speak to people who knew people who knew other people – some form of network… If I could tell them what I was looking for and see if they knew anyone who would be prepared to be interviewed…

So (and this is the call to action folks) can I ask (ever so politely) that you have a think about the people you know and if any of them strike you as meeting these criteria – they have achieved as entrepreneurs, in a corporate environment, ideally working at Senior Management level PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know… I would only want to interview them and may there even be a beer/glass of wine/mojito (delete as appropriate) for those who help (that’s the incentive bit)

Yours sincerely etc

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