How To Tell You Are Getting Close

Most change efforts fail. The corporate immune system squelches most intrapreneurial innovation efforts. Many whistleblowers pay a very high price and suffer horrible consequences.

Most change efforts fail. The corporate immune system squelches most intrapreneurial innovation efforts. Many whistleblowers pay a very high price and suffer horrible consequences. Knowing whether, when, and how to tell the truth to authority is a delicate art that no one teaches you. Should you really ask for forgiveness and not permission?

You need to sharpen your radar to detect when you are getting close to the critical pushback point. Here are some things you might hear from higher ups that should raise red flags:

1. Complacency

2. Spurious arguments rationalizing why they should continue doing things just like they are doing them now

3. Shooting the messenger or using administrative "remedies" to marginalize offenders

4. Attempts to shuffle the deck and put old wine in new bottles

5. Change the rules to protect themselves

6. Promoting those who get in the way

7. Eliminating your sponsors

8. Cutting off the blood supply to your idea so it will die an ischemic, necrotic, gangrenous death. Your find you no longer have admin support. They move you to another office. Your parking space goes away.

9. Unresponsiveness

10. People you thought were on your side suddenly change sides.

Startup investors like to talk about inflection points that describe benchmarks, which add value to an enterprise and derisks it more, like getting FDA clearance or a patent. Another one is overcoming the critical pushback point. It is much harder to measure but you'll know it when you see the gift shop.