Promoting Corporate Entrepreneurship with Competency Frameworks

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Promoting Corporate Entrepreneurship with Competency Frameworks

The world is increasingly dynamic and flexible. Technology changes at a rapid pace. Organizations must increasingly be just as flexible and fast-paced to keep up. This is evident in the success of edgy entrepreneurial corporations like Uber and Bonobos, who went from nothing, to major corporations poised to take on the biggest traditional company. Corporate entrepreneurship is the process of promoting internal entrepreneurship, so that employees have the freedom and confidence to create efficiencies and new working methods for themselves – therefore improving the organization as a whole.

Competency frameworks can allow you to recognize and promote the behavior and freedoms contributing to this behavior.

Identifying and Encouraging Entrepreneurial Competencies

Competency frameworks work to identify specific behavior which contributes to entrepreneurial thinking. For example, you can highlight where behaviors like risk taking, trying new things, adaptability, and creative problem-solving come together to create new solutions and ideas.

By highlighting what contributes to a corporate culture of entrepreneurism, you can encourage it, reward it, and ensure that individuals have the operational freedom to make changes to how they work. This also requires self-motivation, a willingness to learn, and the ability to adjust and take small steps.

Failing Forward

Failing Forward is the concept that you have to fail before you can succeed. By allowing employees to fail, you can create a culture of constant small failures leading to big successes. For example, by allowing teams to try and do new things, even when they don’t necessarily succeed – you give everyone the opportunity to take small steps and test them at every step of the way to reduce risk – while having the ability to fail.

This risk-taking behavior can be extremely beneficial in a controlled environment, because developing new work methods, new tools, and new processes is increasingly important for organizations to even keep up with the competition. This requires an increased level of risk-acceptance behavior on an individual level, so that employees can try new things without risk of reprisal if they fail (providing they get approval first) and can look forward to a reward if they succeed.

Measuring Success

While many HR tactics have been used to build corporate entrepreneurship, many of those methods lack a solid way to measure success. When you allow failure, what does success look like? Competency frameworks allow you to define the behavior, attitudes, and product that lead to success. How? A person who is taking risks and trying new things isn’t necessarily doing so with the benefit of the entire company in mind. By identifying the total factors that play into success, such as keeping the total impact on the entire organization in mind, focusing on day-to-day work as well as long-term goals (a person spending all their time optimizing a process isn’t performing their job), and self-improvement which includes the ability to accept and give constructive criticism, you can identify what actually makes this behavior work.

Risk acceptance and encouraging individual contribution are the two primary factors playing into successfully increasing corporate entrepreneurship, and competency frameworks give you the tools to encourage, measure, and quantify risk-taking behavior, motivation, self-improvement and development, and the behaviors which add to total employee contributions to the organization.


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