Recently I’ve been thinking about the power of entourage. Not the Hollywood bros kind. Nor the rapper’s crew. But the often invisible communities of support that exist behind every great person. What I’ve come to notice is that the most successful social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs have masterfully gone about creating communities of support for their vision and ideas.
Entourage relationships transcend the weak ties offered by platforms like LinkedIN and Facebook. It isn’t about tweeting support or RTs. Entourage relationships are profound.
Andy Warhol had his factory. Gaga has her little monsters. But for social change agents, the entourage is equally essential for those trying to make change. It could be years – or decades even – before systems start to shift. Developing a supportive entourage where you surround yourself with people that bring you energy and “get it” is key. Your entourage is what gets you through darker times and plays a much-needed role in keeping you going when things appear stuck.
Let’s face it. We aren’t lone wolves. And corporations aren’t merely collections of individuals. Corporations are communities. Behind every business is an environment where people are looking to find connection, fulfillment and identity. And yet, within and across cubicles, it can often be so hard to connect on a human level. So how do we bust through? Outlined below are some questions to get us thinking differently about fostering communities to unleash game-changing innovation within big corporations.
1. What are important models of community that you have been a part of? How replicable / transferable are these to the 21st century corporation?
2. What tactics have you seen for reducing an initiative's dependence on one person / leader - and democratizing ownership of an idea or venture?
3. What sorts of systemic collaborations are you witness to - for example, between social intrapreneurs and social entrepreneurs or between social intrapreneurs and their counterparts in other corporations? How does this alliance building happen?
This Intrapreneurship Clinic is the third in a 5-part series with the League of Intrapreneurs. Twice a month, members of Business Fights Poverty will have the opportunity to engage with the authors of the new Cubicle Warriors Toolkit, and other invited panelists. Each time, we will focus on a different element of the Tooklit.
Visit previous Intrapreneurship Clinics - on Making the Business Case for Social Innovation (http://snipbfp.org/1f0sTCB) and Navigating the Politics of Your Corporate Ecosystem (http://snipbfp.org/1ekXXiV).
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