Why Gen Y is Perfectly Suited to be Intrapreneurs (or not) – Part 1

Generation Y has begun to carve out its own distinct personality in the business world. A lot has been said about us – the times that our entrepreneurial mindset has been praised equal the times we were accused of being lazy and entitled.

We spoke with Martina Mangelsdorf, founder of GAIA insights, to find out whether Gen Y is destined to succeed as intrapreneurs or not, and what will be the deciding factor. Martina’s expertise, gathered over 13 years of experience in multinational firms, make her an authority on intergenerational business cultures. In 2012 Martina set up her own firm offering leadership development for Gen Y, the Gen Y way.

This is the first in a series of three blog posts covering our conversation with Martina. In this post, you’ll discover:
• The typical values attributed to Gen Y
• The attributes of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs
• The balance between Gen Y strengths & gaps

Below you can have a look at the recording of our webinar and download the handout:

Download slides in PDF

Gen Y’s characteristics and values are the result of being brought up in the turbulent times of the 90’s and 00’s. As a generation we’re used to dealing with uncertainty. We value community and collaboration. We have high expectations and want to take full advantage of the time we have. We don’t buy BS but demand authenticity and diversity. At the same time, we can be demanding, impatient and uncompromising.

Not the type of person that comes into the business world, sits down at the desk, and starts doing exactly what has been told. That seems promising from an intrapreneurial perspective.

Gen Y Attributes

More and more often businesses encourage employees to use their initiative in developing side-projects and innovations. Although institutions are still working out how to do this, there’s no need for waiting to establish the qualities necessary at the individual level.

We’ll compare the attributes of successful entrepreneurs with intrapreneurs – do you see what’s the crucial difference?

21 attributes of successul entrepreneurs

While entrepreneurs must know how to run all of the aspect of their business, intrapreneurs should understand how to navigate around bureaucracy. This important difference characterises the change from “Business Savvyness” to “Political Savvyness”. We’ll talk about that in the third post.

21 attributes of successul intrapreneurs

So knowing more about Gen Y, and having seen what makes a great intrapreneur – what is the score?

Balance Gen Y

Our skill at reacting well to change plays in our favour for intrapreneurship. We’re multi-tasking and flexible so we can deal with an uncertain atmosphere. We have a strong drive to make things happen.

There’s some gaps as well. As a result of our generation’s passion for change, we seem to not have the follow through to finish tough projects. This relates to our having slightly lower discipline and time management skills than other generations. These areas will improve when practiced more, so there the factor experience plays a role.

Overall, yes – we seem to be suited to be intrapreneurs. But we must concentrate on gaining the experience necessary to be effective. Martina went on in the webinar to elaborate on how Gen Y can improve on the areas which don’t come quite so naturally to us. More about that in the second post!

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