How does a business leader support a manager in becoming an internal entrepreneur?

Business leaders need to encourage managers to become more entrepreneurial to foster continuous innovation.  It is also important that you develop a culture where entrepreneurship is valued.  Creating an environment where every individual in the organization has the authority and autonomy to initiate new ideas allows for an empowering environment.

It is OK to fail

Business leaders will need to support their managers in understanding that failure is a part of innovation and developing new ideas.  Many traditional organizational models have a low tolerance for risk.  Organizations that support internal entrepreneurship are encouraging big risks.  Let your business managers know that it is OK to fail.  A successful strategy to encourage risk is to always say yes to new ideas.  If a business leader decides that an idea is not worth the risk, they must justify that decision in a written reply to the organization.  This strategy is used by Amazon and it results in more ideas being implemented and tested.

Lead by example

Creating an entrepreneurial environment requires organizational change.  Some individuals in the organization may wonder if this is a real directive or just a passing initiative.  To support business managers in becoming entrepreneurial you will need to lead by example.  Develop a process that is transparent and build trust with your business managers.  Have the courage to become more entrepreneurial yourself and listen to the ideas that your managers bring forward.

Protect their reputation

Not every idea that your business managers have will be a success, expect many ideas to fail.  As the business leader, it is your responsibility to protect your managers’ reputations and encourage them to continue bringing ideas forward. When an idea fails, it is not the fault of the individual who thought of the idea.  One way to protect the reputation of managers or employees that have an unsuccessful idea is to celebrate the ideas that failed but still brought insight to the organization.  This way, business managers are still recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit.

As a business leader you must encourage your business managers to become entrepreneurial. Through leading by example and becoming more entrepreneurial yourself you will encourage this behaviour in your organization.  Understanding that not every idea will be a success and protecting reputations when some ideas fail will help support your business managers.