Keeping the Startup Mentality and Energy Alive

Startup-quote Agile Scout

One of the most satisfying opportunities that I have is the ability to work with startups and their limited resources. But what they might lack in finances, manpower, human capital, and even, at times, a plan they completely make up with energy, passion, and a belief that they can really make a difference and change the world.

They’re hungry and it’s entirely infectious – it’s the reason that I love to work with them constantly as well as working in my own environment of startups. The challenge is that most organizations quickly move out of their startup mentality and into their more “mature” phase and periods of growth. The large enterprises struggle with this even more and it’s a constant internal discussion that always revolves around this question:

Why aren’t we (can’t we) have that startup mentality that keeps us motivated and passionate?

The issue isn’t with the core philosophy of the business – it’s not even about the products, the services, or the core offerings and oftentimes it’s not even about the leadership. Sure, it can be all of those things and at times a combination of them are contributing to the sluggish mobility of the organization but the answer lies in the context of the team(s).

Any growing organization is made up of strategic teams, sometimes explicitly and other times implicitly. In a startup there is only one team – and they’re organically created based around function, roles and responsibilities. There is no time for waste and no time for idle chatter or bureaucracy – there is a core and central mission and above all else effective communication is championed and fundamentally required as it is the lifeblood of that small startup.

The challenge is to maintain that hunger as things grow and build and as systems and programs take over for the dependency on effective communication and timely execution. And with new hires and new managers and new leadership the complexity of communication deepens as the net widens and things become naturally more disorganized than they were before.

In addition, it is less about team dynamics and more about completing tasks – that’s where a tool like Team Science™ can step in and help re-assess and re-align the teams for optimal efficiency and productivity. In fact, more often than not a successful implementation of Team Science™ results in teams moving team members laterally or even on occasion vertically in order to create more operational effectiveness.

A natural consequence is a return to the startup mentality: The energy and hunger comes back and so does the level of camaraderie and even enjoyment of the work itself. I hope that all organizations, regardless of size or age can move back to having startup-like mentalities at the team level so that the entire organization can stay agile, stay innovative, and regain their leadership within their respective space.

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