Four Principles to Make Intra-preneurs Out of Your Stars

Take your star employees to the next level–make them intrapreneurs! It’s those folks in the organization who are embued with an entreprenerial spirit–we call them Self-Starters. Ignite their talent so that they can take their vision and passion for your company and its products to new heights! Perhaps a better way to do something in your company? A more efficient process? A way to make money with a new product or service?

To create that intrapreneurial culture within the organization, take them back to the basics, then unleash them with the resources and support to go for it!

Perseverance Trumps Adversity

Follow these steps, identified as Success Factors of successful intrapreneurs:

  1. Start Now. Share your vision with these talented folks–a vision of what you want the company to achieve. I am stunned by the number of individual contributors that I meet in my work who do NOT have a clue what the oganization’s vision is! The vision doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
  2. Then task them to integrate the company’s vision into their personal vision of the work they want to do.
  3. Paint your passion in vivid colors for them. Why is passion important here? How does it show up on a regular basis? Could you point to it, if you saw passion being demonstrated?
  4. Create a support system so that if things get tough and obstacles appear, you have a system to tackle those challenges to move forward. Perseverance is one of the keys to success.

At Self-Starter Zone, we’re here to help you take that talented bench to success. We can help them reach them full potential, and turn them into high performers. Find out more at Self-Starter Zone ( Seriously, start now.

Leaders and Self-Starters

We know that self-starters are initiators; they don’t wait to have everything mapped out for them. They see a problem, they solve it. They see a decision to be made; they make it.

Those are also qualities necessary to be a leader. That’s why we can confidently say that all leaders are self-starters. I had the immense privilege to be interviewed by Convergence Coaching about my views about leadership. Here is the interview:

We met Julie Miller, founder and president of Business Writing That Counts! at a Washington Society of CPAs Women’s Conference. We were so impressed with her message that we invited her to participate in our Leadership Spotlight series.

Dr. Julie has founded two businesses: Business Writing That Counts! where she and her team help clients achieve their professional goals by reducing writing time while increasing productivity. Her mission is to increase her clients’ bottom line by eliminating bad writing. The company specializes in working with corporations, organizations, and educational institutions to improve the quality of written communication.

The second business is Self-Starter Enterprises, LLC. Her goal is to show professionals and the companies that employ them, how to take their high potential and turn into high performance. She does this work through keynote speeches, Success Sessions, assessments and coaching. The result? Engaged employees who will positively impact the bottom line.

We are excited to share Julie’s insights on effective leadership in the business world.

ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why? WomanLifeCoach

JM: Hewlett-Packard CEO, Meg Whitman. She is collaborative, supportive and relationship-centric; all good qualities that women bring to the workplace. She is also a good listener and actively participates in the running of the business. Whitman is a firm believer in influencing relationships with her employees and not controlling them. There are three leadership strands that Whitman used at her job as CEO of EBay.

First, she realizes she cannot control the buyers. Second, she believes people are basically good. And, third, she often says, “I don’t know everything.” Listening to your employees and getting their input is invaluable.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?

JM: Vision. Without a crystal clear vision expressed by its leader, an organization quickly becomes rudderless. Strong passionate visions can sustain the company through tough times, can keep everyone focused on what’s important, and can create deeper loyalty and engagement.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?

JM: Passion and the ability to execute. Strong work ethic, empathy and agile thinking are also at the top of my list.

ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?

JM: By giving employees opportunities to explore leadership roles; through being a role model; presenting opportunities for personal and professional development; through mentoring.

ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?

JM: Discover your passion—what is it that you truly love to do at your job? What task/skill set energizes you? Where have you been rewarded, recognized or awarded? The answers to these questions help future leaders to utilize their strengths, and allow them to take on an initiative or project that would positively impact the company AND make them shine.

ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?

JM: Nurturing, goal-oriented, continuous learner. I believe that when employees’ talents are discovered and directed, you have engaged people who work at honoring their potential. I strongly believe in creating team and individual goals and attaining them. And, lastly, to paraphrase Peter Block, author and consultant, if you are not learning every day in your business—get out. I take that statement to heart.

At ConvergenceCoaching, LLC we believe that true leaders never really “arrive” and we couldn’t agree more with Julie about the importance of finding your passion and then continuously learning and improving in that area. What are you passionate about? What are you doing to expand your knowledge and sharpen your skills in that area?

Best Regards, Michelle Baca

Is Simon Sinek copying me?

Positive Attitude MonthSimon Sinek, thought leader and author, sent out an inspirational statement today: Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.  I think he’s either copying me or maybe, he is even reading my blog? In any event, you know that self-starters possess three fundamental success factors: Passion, Vision, and Perseverance. These three need to be clearly aligned with the company’s vision and passion. That’s when miracles happen, goals are achieved, accomplishments realized. That’s when you have employees that love their work and their company.

Check out my blog about the car rental company to see what happens when these success factors are NOT in play.



Transistions Require the Big Three

Can or Can't Toggle Switch Committed to Solution AttitudeLife does not go in a straight line. What we plan for doesn’t happen; what we didn’t plan for does! Be it divorce, parents’ death, kids leaving the nest, a firing, a promotion, leaving the military, turning another decade—life just keeps coming at us.

These life events usually involve reflection—whether it’s “What now?” or “Oh, boy!” –about what these occurrences mean to your life, your career, your business, your future.

We firmly believe at that going back to the basics, focusing on the Big Three—Passion, Vision, and Perseverance—will hold you in good stead. It means thinking through:

1. What does your new vision look like, feel like, sound like? Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Where are you sitting, living, working?

2.  In the past, what talents or strengths have been awarded or rewarded? Those talents and strengths are what will give you energy and enthusiasm. If you’ve lost your way, reach out to family and friends and ask them: When you think of me, what words/strengths/talents comes to mind? In those answers, you will find or renew your passion.

3. If you have passion and vision firmly aligned, adversity and obstacles that step in your way will be easier to confront. Put a group of advisors together, hire a coach, find a mentor who can help you over, through and around the rough patches.


NO Surprise! Self-starters at Nordstrom

In the Northwest, Nordstrom is a beloved company—it started here and thrives here. Their customer service is legendary. When you walk into one of the stores, you expect to receive good service; but exemplary service requires a shout-out to the employee and the company! 

You know by now—and my self-starter interviews support it—that self-starters are alive and well in all kinds of workplaces, contributing to their companies in all kinds of ways.
Meet Andrew in shoes, Nordstrom self-starter! Tall, professionally dressed and approachable. 

I’m always in a hurry and have limited time; I was on the hunt for a pair of boots. Now I’m fashion kind of person, so they needed to be warm, attractive and reasonably priced. Done!

But the part of the experience that was the stand-out was Andrew’s seamless approach to solving problems: They didn’t have my size. I had to fly the next day.

Without skipping a beat, he found the shoes, asked for the hotel’s address and confirmed they would be delivered BEFORE I arrived at the hotel!

Andrew: self-starter. Works with passion and vision, and perseveres to get to the goal.

PS: It’s no wonder — He’s already been recognized by the company several times!

Wheels Turn for Today’s Self-Starters

Passion – check. Seizing opportunities – check. Compassionate? Of course. And creative to boot. Around the country and the world, self-starters are making the most of creative and brave ideas to try to effect change. And many are doing it with two wheels.

Savvy entrepreneurs are joining their passions for cycling with America’s love for riding to open local bike shops or those that specialize in bike gear. The time is ripe – many cities have become more cycling friendly as they try to cut pollution and support fitness activities for residents. The City of Denver is one of several locales that has set up bike-sharing stations. The program allows riders to purchase 24-hour access to bicycles that are maintained and locked up at stations around town. Although a nonprofit venture, it’s aimed at cutting traffic on city streets.

cycling   An Albuquerque entrepreneur has a Bike-in Coffee Shop with no automobile access. The owner is pushing for bike-in-zoning in the area to allow more businesses to set up shop for bike-only access.

And several self-starters have combined their passion with compassion to find ways that cycling can help others. If you have a bicycle you no longer need, you likely can donate it to someone in a third-world country. One creative cyclist developed a way to filter water through the energy made by pedaling, making it easier for residents of drought-ridden countries to transport water – and make it safe to drink by the return home.


Vision is just imagination if . . .

A BNY Mellon ad this morning in The Wall Street Journal (September 5, 2013) caught my eye. “Vision is just imagination if you aren’t prepared to act.” That’s certainly part of our mission: to get professionals to see their vision and then move forward with passion and perseverance. That’s what separates us from Self-Starters; self-starters move forward whether they’re scared, tired, discouraged or enthused. One foot in front of the other—progress.

Propelling you to the fastest, strongest YOU

Tom Douglas, Self-Starter Super Star

In Secrets of Self-Starters, we profiled Tom Douglas, award-winning chef and restaurant owner from Seattle. Douglas shared his secrets for success as a self-starter, especially self-motivation and seizing opportunities. He described himself in our interview as “someone who knows how to use an alarm clock.”
Douglas clearly knows how to open, operate and maintain restaurants.

And in 2012, he was honored as the nation’s Outstanding Restaurateur by the Beard Foundation. The award represents his achievements for a body of work in the restaurant business instead of success at any single endeavor. Douglas owned 5 restaurants when we spoke with him and said he had plans to open five more. Ttomdouglas  Today, his website lists 11.Douglas is the author of several cookbooks, co-host of a local radio show and owner of Prosser Farm in the Yakima Valley, along with his wife Jackie Cross. With the farm, Douglas has shortened the gap between farm and restaurant table.
Douglas also has demonstrated several secrets of self-starters, and how passion, vision and a little risk-taking pay off personally and professionally. Learn more about the secrets of self-starters like Tom Douglas and take a self-starter assessment right from the link on our home page .

From One Entrepreneur to Others

It takes a successful entrepreneur to spot one. A recent article in USA TODAY shared insight from Steve Case, who helped found and develop AOL through its huge growth and eventual merger with Time Warner in 2001. Today, Case seeks out, guides and helps provide funding for start-ups.

Propelling you to the fastest, strongest YOUMany of the traits Case seeks in potentially successful entrepreneurs parallel those we identified as successful self-starters. For example, Case mentioned passion, one of the nine Success Secrets for successful self-starters. One definition of passion is following and doing your life’s work.

Perseverance is key to successful start-ups and to success as an individual self-starter. Case said his favorite quote from Thomas Edison about entrepreneurship is: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Successful self-starters see their visions through.

Finally, Case says that the best managers surround themselves with good teams. Everyone on the team should have a clear vision for the department or company and have some of their own self-starter secrets.

“Don’t do what you love!” Huh?!

I was stunned to read the headline in Mr. Carl McCoy’s op ed piece in the The Wall Street Journal  (May 28, 2013; “Dear Grads, Don’t Do What You Love”) cautioning commencement speakers to stop telling graduates to seek their passion and do what they love.

The Key to Unlocking the Self-Starter in YOU?Now, I completely get his notion that finding purpose for your work is important—to me that’s part of being passionate, but to trivialize the concept by saying they won’t all be first responders or social workers—giving back to the community—so just deal, is not an answer!

Study after study shows that people are more satisfied in their work, more motivated in their careers if they are doing work for which they have a talent. In turn, when strengths are recognized and developed they tend to correlate with passion.

McCoy’s example that a starving artist is not fun when you’re starving—thus making the case you can’t do what you love—completely misses the point. Using his metaphor, if he really had a passion for art, he would have found another way to express it—taught, worked in a museum or art gallery, become a docent. So I don’t buy it.

Instead, find your passion, a passion that will provide you with income and meaningful work. You’re not going to “love” every aspect of any job, but perhaps the outcome of what you do or aspects of your career are just darn right awesome—go for that; go for your dreams.