From Guest Blogger, Brian Goodman, Managing Director at Experis, a division of ManpowerGroup

Intrapreneurship: Fuel for Economic Recovery

By Brian D. Goodman


Entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the U.S. are helping to spark economic recovery through innovation.  Corporate America must now play its role in creating a generation of intrapreneurs, or entrepreneurs within large companies, to add further fuel to not only economic resurgence, but our nation’s long-term competitiveness.  While corporate earnings are beginning to rise, the improvement in quarterly financials at far too many multi-billion-dollar companies has been primarily a function of reduced expenses from slashed headcount and overhead – including research and development (R&D).  Unfortunately, many of these “positive” earnings reports are not a function of intrapreneurship.  During the recession, employees at many larger and mid-sized entities adopted a “keep your head down, take no risk” mentality and employers rewarded this behavior.  Now that the recession is turning, this mindset must be altered if the economic recovery is to gain steam.  Boards and C-suites must foster and reward intrapreneurship to cultivate innovation and economic sustainability.  


According to the Small Business Administration, entrepreneurial innovation continues to play a significant role in the nation’s economic competitiveness in a global marketplace.  A recent advocacy study by J. Isom and David R. Jarczyk took a look at the patent activity of small businesses and analyzed how employee headcount, sales, and R&D expenditures affect the drivers of innovation.  What is startling is the lack of understanding of this corollary at the top of many of America’s corporations.  Pressured by institutional shareholders or private equity owners to meet quarterly numbers, management may unwittingly short-change innovation and cut-off opportunities to create new revenue streams and hence, intrapreneurial ideas.  Nevertheless, there are steps both management and individuals working within large or mid-sized companies can do to change this course and ignite intrapreneurialism.  These corporate management transformations can include the following:


  • Starting with the CEO, the concept and culture of intrapreneurialism should be officially introduced – or reintroduced – as a priority within the company.   With clear and consistent internal communications, senior management must incite and inspire its employees to break through barriers, take chances and question and create what customers want in the future.  These messages must cascade throughout the organization so that all layers of management sincerely embrace and reward this behavior.
  • Make organizational changes to facilitate intrapreneurship.  Whether it is appointing a Chief Intrapreneur Officer or an Intrapreneurship committee with representatives across the company, employees must not only hear, but see that things are different within their organizations. 
  • Publicly and financially reward intrapreneurialism.  Recognition must go to those who take chances and embody the spirit of intrapreneurship.  Management must acknowledge and commend these individuals, whether their efforts result in enormous or minor successes. 
  • Invest in intrapreneurialism.  Beyond the internal pronouncements, employees will only welcome intrapreneurialism into their daily routines if management invests time, energy and resources in the processes.  This may entail the creation of intrapreneurship pods, the institutionalization of intrapreneurial training, or simply the allocation of additional research and development funds, but it must be tangible and significant.  Boards must support these efforts. 


For employees within these organizations, the path to intrapreneurship may include bold leaps for the aspiring brave new leaders and small steps for the pack:


  • Volunteer to be a part of the intrapreneurial steering committee.  Whether the employee serves as head of the committee or as secretary, it is important to get involved early on.
  • Stay close to customers and engage them in discussions about the future.  Understand what drives their decisions and listen to their needs.  Consider conducting additional market research or survey groups focused on future needs.  Discuss these findings with team members and use this as a spark for intrapreneurialism.
  • Form broad relationships within and outside the organization.  Take time each week to have breakfast, lunch or coffee with colleagues from different departments, service providers, and others in the industry and use professional social media (e.g., LinkedIn, XING) to keep these relationships strong.  This will ensure that employees are connected and knowledgeable in various aspects of the business and are building the alliances and support to succeed in intrapreneurial ventures.


Corporations can be poised to contribute vitally to fueling economic recovery through intrapreneurship, with a powerful voice at the top advocating for ideas and innovation, concrete changes in place, and employees motivated to step out of their safety zone.  At the same time, these companies can take their rightful place next to entrepreneurial small businesses in playing a critical role in global competitiveness.


A New School Year…A New Direction


As we head into a new school year, we are very excited here at the Center for Family Business.   We have recently changed our name which, on the surface, may not appear to be significant.   However, as we join the ranks of the other Centers of Excellence (see here at Mihaylo College, we are positioning ourselves to be an even greater resource to family-owned businesses, and students, around Southern California.

While our focus will continue to be on providing excellent programs and relationship-building opportunities for our members, we are also reaching deeper, and wider, through this new brand.   With over 150,000 family owned businesses, large and small, in Southern California, we are on a mission to provide resources, programs, materials, consulting relationships, and ideas for hundreds, if not thousands, of additional businesses from Orange County up to Ventura County, and everywhere in between.

We have recently launched the Los Angeles chapter of the Center for Family Business, and will be setting up satellite training centers in other areas, as well.   To enable success for family-run organizations from the ground floor to the ceiling, we are reaching out to smaller companies who are striving to grow, and will be running quarterly workshops for these up and coming family operations.

With the addition of cutting edge research in family business, and the development of a first class library of materials, books, and white papers available to our members, we are positioning ourselves to be the premier resource for family owned businesses of all sizes in our region.

If you would like to learn more about the Center for Family Business, our programs, or how to become a member or partner, visit us at, email us at, or call us at 657-278-4182.   We look forward to seeing you at our next workshops on September 18!


Ed Hart, Director, Center for Family Business at Cal State Fullerton

Visualization – Create It Mentally Before Physically!

I play golf.   Not as often, or as well, as I would like, but since I was about 12 years old, I have enjoyed  playing golf, first with my Dad, then my friends, and now, also, with my wife.   Many members of my family play golf, as well.

Other than a year on a local college golf team, and a few junior tournaments here and there as a teenager, the joy and recreation of golf are what have kept me going back for more, even though I have never been good enough to make a living at it.

I have had good days, and believe me, many bad days, on the course over the last 35 years, but the fun it brings me, and the lessons on life that I believe it teaches, are just a few of the reasons I will play this great game as long as I can.

One life lesson that I learned from playing golf since I was 12 was about the power of visualization.   Often, after I have lined up my shot, I will take a couple of practice swings to get the feel for what I want to do when I step up to the ball, and then I will close my eyes before the “live” swing, and visualize what I am wanting to accomplish with the shot.

I can’t tell you that it works 100% of the time, or else I would be making millions on the PGA tour!  What I will tell you, however, is that it works more often than it doesn’t.

Everything is created mentally, and spiritually, before it is created physically.

Look around at the buildings near you.  The developer didn’t just show up and start building.   He had a plan, an idea, a blueprint, and many visions of what he wanted to build before the first shovel broke ground to start pouring the foundation.

The same holds true for anything we do in life.  If we allow ourselves the time to ponder, visualize, or even meditate on the results we are after, we will dramatically increase our chances of success.   There is no guarantee that we will be successful 100% of the time in anything, but if you can increase your odds, aren’t you willing to do so?

When we focus on avoiding the sand trap instead of on hitting the green, the results are often disastrous, for it is impossible to think negative thoughts in a positive way.

Make sure your goals are specific and precise.   I’ve heard it said that our goals must be SMART.   SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results Oriented, and Time bound.

“I want to make money” is not a SMART goal.    ”I want to make $100,000 by December 31, 2012, is a better example of a SMART goal.    It is very specific, measurable, could be attainable, produces results, and has a fixed timeframe.

As we visualize the results we are after, being SMART in the way in which we visualize, we will begin to see the results that we are after, in our personal, family, professional, financial, spiritual, and all other aspects of our lives.

So, change your mindset from “I want to hit a nice shot”, or “I hope I don’t hit this one into the water”, to “I am going to put this shot 6 feet from the hole”, and you will start seeing the results that will bring dramatic improvement to your life.

Visualization allows us to see exactly what we want before we create it – it keeps our focus on what we really want.

As Curt Carlson, chairman of the Carlson Companies, once noted, “Obstacles are those frightening things you see when you take your eye off the target.”

Does Your Community Know You Are There?

Get ready for our next workshop happening Wednesday, March 14, 2012 titled “Does Your Community Know You Are There – How Giving Back to Your Community Benefits Everyone.”

It will be held at the Meridian Sports Club at the 57 Freeway and Yorba Linda Blvd, on the second floor at Colette’s Catering.  

The workshop will be hosted and moderated by the Family Business Council’s Director Ed Hart and will include a panel discussion featuring Annemarie Dillard, director of Dillard’s Inc. Department Stores; Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Wing Lam, founder of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.

The workshop will run from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and will include cocktails and dinner (dinner provided by Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.) Come find out what these business leaders have to share! Please RSVP online here to let us know if you will be there! Also check out our promo video for the event here!

For more information contact:

Robbin Bretzing


This is Not a Final Farewell

It’s hard to say “goodbye” so I won’t.  The time has come for me to hang up my Family Business Council Ambassador hat and pick up my golf clubs to spend my days on the course. The last twelve years have been an amazing journey of building relationships, growing businesses and connecting with leaders. Serving as Director and then Ambassador enabled me to invest in a strong, thriving community that has become part of who I am, making it hard to step away from a council that truly embodies the spirit of family.

During my tenure, I experienced the peaks and valleys that many of our family businesses endured with the economic instability, and it was exciting to witness their resilience and to serve as a catalyst for growth.  I strongly believe in the power of mentorship which helped drive my passion to lead and be part of the Family Business Council. When I joined the FBC over a decade ago, I was ready to make a difference, but along the way I became part of a community that has a distinct mission, and I want to ensure it lives on long after my tenure has ended.

  • I’d like to remind everyone with the Council to keep the audience to be served a priority.  It’s the family-owned business owners along with the students at CSUF that need to be our focus.
  • On the personal side, continue to invest in and demonstrate the virtues of volunteering your time/energy/resources, be they financial, psychological, spiritual, etc.  You get back more than you give.

My passion for people has helped me become a friend to the Council members, not just the Director. The piece of advice that I would like to end with: identify and define your values.  This will not only provide you with clarity and vision but will also be the driving force behind your family’s growth and success for the future.  Hold on to those values and the legacy of the family firm; they are essential for the next generation.

This isn’t a goodbye. This is more like see you soon.

Finding Success In A Trust & Value Economy, by Meridith Elliott Powell

As we forge ahead in building our business in the post-recession landscape, putting on a new pair of glasses to navigate the direction of your company is imperative. If you believe your company offers a quality product or service, and feel passionate about helping people, then it’s time to embrace this new economic perspective. This your time! If you know how to navigate the waters, understand the shift, and accept that customers require a new and innovative approach, then you are well on your way to finding success in a trust and value economy.

Let’s face it – The economy is not down, it has changed! If you want to be successful, the first thing you need to realize is just how the dynamics of our economy have transformed.  I don’t care what economists, experts and business gurus are saying or predicting, the truth is no matter what the economy does – whether it goes up or goes down – your customer has forever changed and that change impacts you and your business.

In my opinion the mind of our customer has been more deeply impacted then their wallets. When the economy started to shift in late 2008 so did our customers. Unlike other shifts in the economy, this one was different. At first, consumers slowly waited for the economy to bounce back, when that first bounce took longer than expected the first change in the consumer mindset took hold. When that bounce was far less impressive than expected, consumers got more cautious, and the more uncertain things got with the economy the more consumers started taking matters into their own hands.

Realizing they can’t control the economy, they focused on what they could control, their approach to managing and spending their money.  Consumers may have been more profoundly impacted by this economy; losing jobs, lower salaries and wages, starting their own businesses, shutting businesses down; but they all share one thing in common; how they began to think about and how they began to spend money.

Research study after research study shows that young or old consumers and their spending habits have greatly changed.  This economy is uncertain, and the constant fluctuations have created a more cautious type of spender. In addition, globalization, advancements in technology and increased competition have put the consumer in control of the buying cycle. They are calling the shots; they can buy what they want, when they want it, and from whomever they want it. This makes the products and services we as business owners offer mere commodities, but how we offer them is our competitive edge.

Consumers in this new, uncertain economy are willing to spend money, but trust and value are the true return on investment they are looking for. This is a trust and value economy. Our society has changed and frugal has become the signature of this season. People will choose quality and value over quantity and price. Gone are the status symbols of overspending and abundance.

So how do you find success in this economy, how do you compete? Join us for the answers to that question and an action packed session designed to help you Find Success In A Trust & Value Economy; 8 steps you need to know to make building relationships and growing your business fun, easy and incredibly effective.

Join us on November 15, 2011 at Mihaylo College at Cal State Fullerton to hear how your business can thrive with a new mindset in this economy. This workshop will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Scott O’Brien Family Innovation Center, 3230, in Steven G. Mihaylo Hall.

What Does It Mean To LISTEN?

So, how do we become a better listener? Years ago, when I was working as the Training Director for a large Fortune 500 corporation, I came across this great acronym for the word “LISTEN”. Try it in your next one-on-one situation with someone at work, or with your spouse.

L = Look at the speaker. Make sure he or she knows that you are engaged in the conversation.

I = Ignore other distractions. The world is constantly competing for our attention. Focus on the conversation.

S = Summarize. If in a lengthy conversation, pause a few times to rephrase back to the speaker what he or she is saying. This will assist in making sure you understand what is meant, and will dramatically increase his or her confidence that you really are listening.  But don’t overdo it.

T = Take notes. When I am speaking to someone, and follow up is required, my confidence level goes up that the actions will actually get done if I see the person taking notes.  

E = Emotional Control. If something is said with which you do not agree, do not tune the person out and start talking to yourself in your head. You will probably miss an important point

N = Nonverbal. Do your nonverbal actions show that you really are not listening? Arms folded, looking at your watch repeatedly, staring into space, frowning, etc. These all tell the speaker that you are not interested, and that you really don’t care, or agree with, what is being said.  55% of communication is nonverbal (what we don’t say), while 35% is voice (the way we speak), and only 10% is actually verbal (or the words that are actually being said!).

As Dr. Lang stated in our workshop, often times we complain about someone else, and how “they just don’t understand!”  80% of the time, the problem is us, and not them. Try this technique, and see if your miscommunications and frustrations are decreased. Listening is the first step to improving any relationship.




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