Tuesday, January 29, 2008

people are drivers of intrapreneurship

thanks hari, you are absolutely right, it is a good first step for an organization to look at inducting new people who can look at the organization from the outside, which means more objectively, diagnose the problem and recommend solutions. you basically need fearless thinkers, fearless in the sense of those who are not afraid of trying out new things from fear that they could go wrong and get blamed. typically the new broom sweeps clean simply because it does not know yet, otherwise; as it ages, it starts coming up with more and more excuses as to why it cant sweep clean with nary an attempt at ensuring it.

not all organizations have the luxury of letting go of old people and bringing in new ones ; most organizations have to try and work around their existing resources, which means dealing with calcified mind-sets too.

Years ago I used to be the Marketing Manager for India's leading financial daily which had a small circulation base, but because the costs were low, they made profit just on subscription and did not need a rupee's worth of advertising. i remember the uphill struggle i had when i first recommended that we look at advertising from hospitality, travel, and executive lifestyle products, all the naysayers ganged up on me and said : these people wont advertise with you because all their ads are in colour and you dont have colour.

in all innocence i said, so let's have colour. and everyone reacted as if i had uttered something sacriligeous. colour? no way. colour means frivolous. our paper is for the serious-minded business men, how dare you introduce colour and make it into a girly newspaper!!

also a market research agency had conducted extensive survey and had come to the conlcusion that introducing colour in a financial daily was tantamount to committing harakiri. so colour was an absolute no no!!

fortunately i had a boss who wasn't exactly adventurous but probably wanted to be indulgent (she will see the error of her ways soon enough!!), so he said go ahead and launch colour, i will give you three months' time to make a success of it. if you dont, i would like you to put in your papers. i was young and brash and i took up the challenge.

in one month we earned our entire annual budgeted revenue. and the whole organization then woke up to the potential goldmine that they were sitting on. needless to say, colour was launched, it stayed, it succeeded to such an extent that today it is unthinkable that there was no colour just a few years ago in this financial daily.

and i left two years later to think more unthinkable things in other organizations!

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