Employees too can be as passionate as entrepreneurs
The Covid 19 pandemic is on the wane, but it has left a humongous loss of life and business in its trail across the globe. And, of course, the fear of its return in another form continues to haunt us. Yet, resilient as the human species is, it is trying to find ways to bounce back.
Focusing on business, battered and bruised companies are trying to get back on their feet. But a million-dollar question looms large before us. Can we pre-empt the debacle as has been unleashed by the unprecedented pandemic by continuing with our established way of business? Though this is a top-of-the-mind issue bothering the business world globally, I would rather focus on the prevailing situation in Nepal.
The country needs to evolve and execute a new model which will pre-empt recurrence of crises like the one triggered by Covid 19. Nepal is not exactly known for its human resources development (HRD) practices. In fact, we hardly have any systems in place when it comes to HRD which is practised most arbitrarily. We forget that in a resource-scarce country like ours, only the rank and file of an enterprise can bring about effective and discernible change. We do not have recourse to technology which can bring about societal change down to the ground level. Lack of funds is not the only stumbling block in acquisition of technology; we do not have people to make use of it efficiently.
Talk to industrialists and businesspeople in Nepal and you will come across a common complaint: salaried employees lack the vigour and passion of entrepreneurs. The grouse has more than a grain of truth in it. Those who are running our big enterprises today were entrepreneurs till not so long ago. They and their ancestors have experienced the blood and toil which goes into creation of a company or conglomerate. But their current success camouflages their failures and fumbling over decades from the new generation. No wonder, the captains of industry in Nepal find their white and blue-collar teams nowhere as committed as themselves.
Having said this, I must simultaneously admit that entrepreneurs have the same grievance in the advanced world too. But they have come up with a solution which has been doing fairly well for their companies. I am talking of INTRAPRENEURSHIP.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines an intrapreneur ‘as a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation’.
Lest there be any misunderstanding that an intrapreneur is usually a person innovating or inventing things only in information technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other high-tech areas, I should make it clear that I have all realms of business in mind. Why can ground-breaking innovation not happen in HRD, finance, accounting, manufacturing, logistics, industrial psychology, service processes, retail management, etc.? The wheel runs smoothly only when each and every cog functions perfectly.
Thanks to the world-wide media, the new generation is aware of the changes in the global work arena. Many of them are imbued with the spirit of entrepreneurship which they want to put into action within a company as employees. They are willing to take risks for rewards. They have the confidence to innovate and compete within their company to execute their ideas. Life-changing innovations which global business behemoths and recently emerging unicorns are flooding the world with are not the contribution of merely their renowned entrepreneurs and promoters. The successes we are witnessing today are the direct contribution of a large number of intrapreneurs working in these enlightened companies.
Are companies in Nepal willing to induct and encourage intrapreneurial talent? Are we willing to disrupt established hierarchies in companies and let these bright boys and girls change the face of our business? Yes, they may commit mistakes. But show me one successful business tycoon who has not faltered in their business journey or does not err even now when they are on the top. The citadel of success is built upon the ruins of busts and debacles.
Identifying and embracing intrapreneurs is not an easy job though. In fact, we are not even willing to believe that there are youngsters who wish to join a company to identify real problems and solve them rather than to seek a safe and secure corporate cushion. They understand that solving problems and improving people’s lives makes great business. They are movers and shakers. They abhor the status quo. That is why they stand apart. We need to learn how to attract and retain youngsters with fire in their bellies.