We are sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. There is this mountain in front of us: build new economic models that are inclusive and circular. We are roping each other in for safety and if someone falls we pull them back up. As a community we focus on individual and collective learning to create this new economy.
We are a learning community so build content around intrapreneurship, best-practices, a toolkit (five competencies of an entrepreneur). We also build content as a framework for a variety of learning formats such as one day workshops or 12-week incubator/accelerator for intrapreneurs. The main objective for all our activities is to go deeper.
When you build your learning agenda, always involve the community. Find out what they want to know. Intrapreneurs build projects so everything connected to it is relevant to them, including how to build partnerships, how to source a business model, fundraising, and pitching.
The personal side is also central to our work. There is a lot of pressure on change agents working within a company or institution. Many of the intrapreneurs want to learn about the journey ahead and build up their resilience. We want to embrace our members as human beings and support them in developing skills and coping tools that will help them manage during difficult times.
The intrapreneurs want to build truly systemic solutions. We need to ensure they are well equipped to do so. Our learning agenda evolved with the network. At first, it focused very much on corporates, but the community’s interest moved to new economy so, we started adding that topic to their learning agenda (similar to system change).
Our learning agena and community were also influenced by intrapreneurs moving from the private sector to NGOs. Many of our members shifting sectors lead to many discussions about what it actually means to be an intrapreneur; and what is the difference between being based in an NGO versus a company. This was inspiring and we had to react. We created new tools around this topic. It was a natural progression that we needed to let happen let happen. We have to be flexible as a community while keeping the purpose at our core. The community grows with our members, afterall.
Placing the focus on learning in a community can have a lot of impact. When we did this, our members’ thinking shifted and they became more inspired. Eventually, we decided to provide additional support to our members so they could have a meaningful impact in the areas they care about. To do this, we partnered with the Presencing Institute. Four teams went through the U-Lab process to help our members learn how to turn ideas and purpose into action.
People naturally connect with each other because they are intrapreneurs. This shared feeling of understanding leads to immediate trust. Members started to learn from each other through this personal connection and they feel mutual support.
This is why we started action/learning cohorts. Members stay in the same group over a period of time, and the group self-selects the topic of focus and applies a coaching mindset. For instance, a topic of focus might be: I will never know as much about your life as you do but I can help you unlock what you already know because I have a different perspective and can share my experience.
We encourage intrapreneurs in these groups to ask more challenging and provoking questions:
- What are you trying to achieve with this?
- Who is out there to help you with this?
- You are saying you are excited but your body language doesn’t show it. Why is that?
- What is the tension here?
Members really value having support from people they trust and those who understand their motivation and drive.
Members find their cohort groups during the last day of our 3.5-day meeting. They get time to build trust and select the right technology for their group (i.e Skype for Business), and schedule their first meeting. After six months, we give group members an exit. At this time people can decide if they want to continue or leave without it being awkward. I know of peer groups that have been going on for 30-years. That is what we want to create for people in a time of instability and change.
We also use our assessment tools for intrapreneurs. This tool focuses on performance in leadership competencies (generative thinking, navigating politics). We asked ourselves: do we want cohorts with different competencies? In the end, we created cohorts of people who had strong interpersonal chemistry, and live in the same time zone.
In total we have two topic-based groups in their last round. They found it really valuable to align on a theme they all care about. Diversity was also important for our cohorts. The variety in perspectives that can only be achieved through diversity took the group beyond expertise and knowledge to something deeper.
We try to create safe spaces for people to discuss what is really going on. This allows members to have moments when they are able to be vulnerable without feeling judged. As the community builder, it’s our role to create the conditions where these kinds of interactions and relationships can emerge and flourish. One way the League does this is through case clinics.
Every five or six weeks, we host a 90-minutes session that features two case clinics. Members can volunteer on the spot to share a challenge that is then tackled by the group through a facilitated process. We also use case clinics when we share a new tool for, example, a tool for systems thinking. During a new tool case clinic, members can test and apply the framework to a concrete challenge.
If we offer learning action sets (a series of learning offers), we try to be very specific concerning next steps. At the end of the meetings we ask attending members what action they can take until the next learning offer. We hope to create accountability with small, doable steps like, speak to a contact or write down your vision.
Occasionally, members don’t show up to our calls even though we put a lot of effort into trust building. Missed calls are typically due to time constraints.
We really want to focus on doing one thing really well. For example, we decided our peer coaching cohorts would add huge value to our members and as a result placed a lot of effort into getting those right.
At the end of the day, it is each member’s individual responsibility to connect their learning to their work. We do the best we can to support them, and the peer exchange is one step toward that.
What other formats you are hosting?
(you can download those under formats)
Members share about their projects in an open and honest chat (10-15 people).
Going deeper with a few member stories.
Global learning sprint
Hosts ask provoking questions and invite members to exchange ideas, thoughts, videos, and readings for a limited time period (24-hours). We facilitate sprint conversations to unlock the knowledge from the community. Sprints create so much collective wisdom and insight that we tap into them regularly.