Intrapreneurship Clinic: How can we build the personal resilience of intrapreneurs?


Intrapreneur, or not, spending 40+ hours as an employee surrounded by people who have different personalities, different ways of sharing feedback, different ideas about what it means to be professional, etc can be mentally tough, emotionally draining, and may even have you day-dreaming about working at the company across the street where everyone appears to be spending their 40+ hours smiling, laughing, and giving each other high-fives.


If you’re an intrapreneur, add to this the fact that you’re working on a project that may be meeting significant resistance from colleagues entrenched in the system and leaders who don’t really get its value, and don’t care to either.


At The League of Intrapreneurs, we’ve seen so many intrapreneurs suffer in silence. Internal corporate cultures haven’t yet given people permission to speak openly about how events at work are impacting their employees personally. Therefore support for employees has been minimal.


This is how come we've dedicated one of our Cubicle Warrior Tools to Fostering Personal Resilience. Read this free tool and you’ll learn tips and tricks used by successful social intrapreneurs on how they learn to not only survive, but thrive inside their companies.


What they've done is adopt strategies that give them the mental, emotional, and physical strength needed to handle challenging events in productive ways. They've learned to bounce back quickly. 


It’s time we bring more attention to this issue. Too many intrapreneurs are giving up their missions to drive positive change from the inside out. We are thankful to Business Fights Poverty for giving us the fantastic forum to speak openly about the challenges we face, and the strategies we can adopt in order to strengthen our personal resilience.


Here are a few questions to help get our conversation started. We look forward to learning from your experience and wisdom.

  1. What does resilience mean to you?
  2. How come resilience is so important for intrapreneurs?
  3. What is your secret to staying resilient?
  4. What resilience strategy have you learned from someone you admire?


Editor's Note:


This Intrapreneurship Clinic is the fourth in a 5-part series with the League of Intrapreneurs. In each Clinic, 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 (, Navigating the Politics of Your Corporate Ecosystem ( and How can we rally communities of support for game-changing innovation? (


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Thats a really important point - about flexibility and transforming both yourself, your ideas & seeing transformation in others around you.  Giving space and time for it

Profound insight. LOI's toolkit for resilience really emphasizes those inner dimensions a lot, and that seems to be quite in line with your definition.

Very very true. Great that you brought up that point Vik. We need to focus on our wins. They are what will keep us in an empowered frame of mind, and we can rely on this when we do get a little knocked around!

is retaining the same structure important what if the transformed structure is even more beautiful (to you as well)?

Has this changed in anyway the way you anticipate failure or success with new projects you work on?

absolutely as you are just living in the moment, without judgement and allowing things to happen (without off course being victimized!)

I agree! It's almost like if being present was the necessary state of mind to bounce back from a failure, or being able to move forward after a trigger. I've also found it useful to always link back to the big picture to be able to react to failure or success: exploring a new way, leveraging an opportunity...

Its a pleasure to meet you. I think Gifford Pinchot and your father's work was very much ahead of its time. Intrapreneurship - particularly in the incarnation of Social Intrapreneurship - is something that is emerging in the zeitgeist I feel. I think it resonates with a generation who’ve seen the rise of Twitter, Facebook and countless Kickstarter start-ups and are drawn to their entrepreneurial energy; but who also live in a world of big business and for whom a corporate career is a natural step. And a generation whose ambition is satisfied by the corporate world but who also seek some meaning & purpose - not just success but also significance.


Anyone else had the experience of flow?

I've also had it while jive dancing, and I've just started doing Tai Chi and Gi Gong. 

There is also a book I can suggest that delves into this topic: Timothy Gallwey's The Inner Game of Tennis. 


Funny you mention zigzags because I recently read about Nancy Duarte's work where she looked at the most powerful persuasive calls to action and how they take a zigzag shape between light and dark--between pointing out what is and what could be and swinging back and forth between the two until you end at the point of bliss "what the world will look like if your dream comes true." I'm not doing the concept justice here, but that's what your comment made me think of.

Definitely. You need to be partnering with people around you to make the dance work :) I think that's the second tool of the League of Intrapreneurs' toolkit ;)

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