Advisors as Intrapreneurs

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit?  Are you looking for new ways of performing your duties as an academic advisor?  Would you love to create opportunities to create new and different things that support the population(s) you serve?  Looking for new ways to engage your students?  Want to create practices that get students on track to graduate sooner?  Do you desire to identify strategies to connect with your students in more meaningful ways?  If yes to any or all of these questions, maybe it’s time for you to think like an Intrapreneur, ready to undertake new things that excite you and connect you to your students in a meaningful way.

Investopedia (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/intrapreneurship.asp) defines an intrapreneur as:

“An individual who acts like an entrepreneur within a larger organization.  Intraprenuers are usually highly self-motivated, proactive and action-oriented people who are comfortable with taking the initiative, even within the boundaries of an organization, in pursuit of an innovative product or service. Behavioral characteristics of intrapreneurship include initiative, an ability to “think outside the box”, risk-taking and leadership – all traits that are also possessed by successful entrepreneurs. The major difference between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs is that the fruits of success default to the organization rather than to the intrapreneur. On the other hand, the intrapreneur also has the comfort of knowing that failure will not have a personal cost – as it would for an entrepreneur – since the organization would absorb losses arising from failure.”

If given the opportunity to be intraprenuerial, how would you change your work in advising?  If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, start by reading the article “A New Path: Envisioning the Future of Academic Advising,” which can be found in the book Academic Advising Approaches: Strategies That Teach Students to Make the Most of College (2013).  (Note: You can also find a copy of the article at this link:  http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Portals/0/Events/Annual%20Conference/documents/Lowenstein_proof.pdf.)  He challenges readers “to imagine possible futures for the field of academic advising and for those who practice within the profession.”  He begins by asking advisors (and I would include academic coaches, success coaches, and similar titles) to consider these questions:

  •  In my role as an advisor, what do I aspire to achieve?
  • What is my view about the overall purpose of advising?
  • What will advising look like in ten years?
  • In what kind of advising profession would I like to participate in the future?
  • How would I change the ways advising is done and organized?

This might be a great time to think about your current role as you answer these questions.  Do your answers reflect on the work you’d like to do in the future?

To empower intrapreneurial thinking, take a few minutes to complete the following sentence, which may help you define your current role – or define what you’d really like to do.  (Note: Feel free to change “students” to “people” if you don’t work with students or plan to work with a different population in the future.)

“The problem I want to help students solve is _________________________; I will do this _________________________.”

Here’s my answer:

“The problem I want to help students solve is to create a life that matters to THEM, a life of significance that focuses on purpose and dreams.  I will do this in two ways: (1) by teaching classes and providing workshops that get students connected to their inner self to create strategies to develop a meaningful, fulfilling life, and (2) by conducting workshops and trainings for those who work with students to empower themselves and their students to create purposeful, passionate lives!”

Now, how do you get started on this journey?  Come back again for ideas to start the intrapreneurial process in you!

So, what’s going to get YOU out of bed in the morning?

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