Summit attendees tap into their 'intrapreneurial' spirit
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Posted by: Barbara Francella
Dagmar Boggs of Coca-Cola, Ena Williams of 7-Eleven and Jill
Sando of Target explored intrapreneurship at the NEW Leadership Academy
supersession at NEW Summit 2015.
"Intrapreneurial” leaders find a need, take the lead
and make things happen, according to three senior industry executives who
offered their insights on intrapreneurship at the NEW Leadership Academy at the
NEW Leadership Summit, Sept. 30, 2015.
Dagmar Boggs, president, 7-Eleven global customer team at
The Coca-Cola Co.; Jill Sando, senior
vice president, home at Target Corporation; and Ena Williams, senior vice
president, international operations, 7-Eleven Inc., shared their personal experiences
being — and supporting — intrapreneurs inside their
companies. The session was facilitated by Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership
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Intrapreneurs have a vision of things that others don’t see,
such as a better way to serve a customer new or better products, processes or corporate
structures or a new line of business, Miller said. Intrapreneurs have these
seven traits: Credibility, the ability to build a coalition, willingness to challenge
the status quo (looking for gaps or opportunities), creativity (able to
brainstorm and innovate), conviction, ability to collaborate and courage.
"Risk-taking is critical today," Boggs told the crowd
attending the session. "If I could go back to myself 20 years ago, I’d say
'Take more risks!' Early in my career, I was so focused and committed to doing
what I was told to do. I had to grow into being a risk-taker. Some of the risks
I took slapped me in the face and I fell down. But more often than not, they
were successful. When I did get knocked down, I got up and tried again and was
Part of being a successful leader is creating an environment
for others to be intrapreneurs, Williams said. Earlier in her career, when she
was heading a 7-Eleven division in California and the retail chain began
focusing on fresh foods, the company held national meetings every two weeks to
discuss in-field execution. "Once, I took [what was said in] the meeting
and scrapped it. Instead, [I led] an innovation session and asked team members
to bring a product idea from the field that was local and that we could sell in
our stores. It resulted in a great idea that 7-Eleven stores could sell. Our
bakery took the idea and created a new product and we rolled it out
Williams advised emerging leaders attending the NEW
Leadership Academy to "get rid of that voice that says you aren't good
enough — and say something.
There's no worse feeling than sitting in a room and someone says something and
you think, 'I had that idea! Why didn't I say something?"
Target's Sando, who calls herself "an idea
accelerator," recalled taking a call from an entrepreneur with an idea for
a line of school supplies that he hoped would create a revenue stream for
school districts that needed money. He had no idea how to create the product or
get it into stores. "I believed in this idea from day one and had the
conviction to move forward," Sando said. "We needed to push it forward
to have it designed and sourced."
Instead of looking at the work and hurdles in total, Sando
said she broke the idea into a series of "sprints" and looked at what
needed to be done to create the line of school products in time for back-to-school
season. "Think of what needs to be accomplished in the next 30 days,
instead of how to get to the end result, which could paralyze you."
Since the launching the Yoobi brand 18 months ago, Target
has provided school supplies to 1 million children. "If you put your heart
and soul behind something because it is right for your company and right for
your team," Sando said, "you can make things happen."