028 Intrapreneurship: The Power of Next Generation Leaders with Ken Tencer


Listening and hearing and providing feedback is the most critical to building coalescence or agreement in a group.
– Ken Tencer

Welcome to show! Today we talk about Intrapreneurship – the power of next generation leaders with Ken Tencer, CEO of Spyder Works. Ken is a thought leader on entrepreneurship and innovation, and is currently the Intrapreneur in Residence for the Business Families Foundation.

He is the co-author of two books on innovation, The 90% Rule and the bestseller Cause a Disturbance, both avidly read by business leaders in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He is currently working on his highly anticipated third book, Never be Satisfied, focused on leveraging intrapreneurship to drive growth.

We also discuss:

  • How to bring different people together,
  • Embracing change to adapt to new environments,
  • Real-time collaboration,
  • Intrapreneurship,
  • How companies benefit from intrapreneurship,
  • The Intraprise™ Program, and more.

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The Secret to Bringing Different People Together

Prior to group meetings, I had quick chats with the individuals to understand what their motivations were, why they were thinking the way they were, what they thought possible outcomes could be, so that I had time to think about potential out comes and ways to lead or guide the group through meetings and the operationalization of our strategies.

Listening and hearing and providing feedback is the most critical to building coalescence or agreement in a group. I found that listening to people and saying, “Here’s why we did A, B and C – I heard what you said, but here’s what the group wanted and here’s how we incorporated things.”

We have a group on a board of 14 people, not everyone is going to agree with everything that you do and management won’t always agree with the direction you’re providing. The number one thing is for everyone to understand and communicate and talk about it, not just dictate.

Just open your mouth, have a conversation, hear people out. That, to me, has always been the key.

Ken’s biggest challenge

The biggest challenge has been myself.

For me, entrepreneurs are what I call “Island Leaders”. We sit on our own little island, make our decisions and we don’t often articulate why we make those decisions and sometimes we change our minds pretty quickly.

My biggest learning was how do I get off the island, how do I get out of my shell, how do I learn to bring other people in, respect what they’re saying and their abilities. It was really an eye-opener for me, that I had to learn and change and become a new person for the second half of my career.

What is Intrapreneurship?

An intrapreneur is someone who works for an organization they do not own, but they are empowered to come up with ideas and commercialize them.

The really cool thing about intrapreneurship is it’s the most empathic part of the innovation toolkit. Intrapreneurship is about reaching into your greatest resource – the people working in your organization – and asking them if they have any ideas that they think can be brought to market to generate revenue, bring costs down, etc.



Connect with Ken: LinkedIn


info@spyder.works | T 877.281.7896 (Toronto)

The 90% Rule: What’s Your Next Big Opportunity? by Ken Tencer and John Paulo Cardoso

Cause a Disturbance: If You Can Slice a Melon or Make a Right-Hand Turn, You Can Be a Breakthrough Innovator by Ken Tencer and John Paulo Cardoso

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh

Intraprise™ – A Spyder Works Program