01 Jan What can we learn from each other?
Serving a variety of organizations, both large and small, has provided some unexpected perspective. If you can take the best of both worlds, it would be pretty magical. Startups use disruption to make positive change possible and big companies can benefit from keeping an eye on the cadence and the speed of startups. That said, large companies have processes and resources that the smaller companies aspire to. Working with and leading large marketing organizations as well as working with small startup teams, has afforded me a front row seat to observe both. Startups are better at speed and efficiency and large organizations succeed at building consensus, leading diverse teams and in making thoughtful data driven decisions. So what can we learn? Here are my top 3 entrepreneuer learnings for large companies.
- Move quickly with less time restraints. While we’ve all worked at organizations where things needed to be done by yesterday, an entrepreneurs’ timetable is even faster, hours and days count. One great meeting might lead to major changes in the company and this can provide an ongoing level of excitement and electricity to get it done and get it done today! At even the fasted paced large organizations, things tend to move much slower, there’s a process, conversations need to be documented, t’s need to be crossed and i’s dotted. Empower your people to make decisions and keep things moving!
- Make decisions from the gut. Many entrepreneurs don’t require consumer feedback to make decisions and use their gut to make the “right choice.” They have an idea and are focused on making it happen; not getting everyone to agree that it’s a good idea helps them make decisions faster. Large organizations often take the time to gain cross-functional buy-in, team alignment on decisions, and consumer/customer feedback on ideas. This is where a blend of both would be ideal. Do some validating, but don’t get bogged down. You know your business. Make a decision based on the best information you have…you will probably be mostly right!
- Disrupt the status quo. Entrepreneurs aren’t hampered by “how things are always done”. They reframe issues to suit their needs and never stop asking “why does this have to be done this way?” This allows them to think outside of the box and create new and better, faster ways to run their business. The processes required by many large organization’s infrastructures can help standardize work, but also can slows the entire engine down. Be open to always asking entrepreneurial questions like “Do we need this? If so, Why?”. Keep what’s good, and re-invent what’s not.
As marketing people, we often pride ourselves in our understanding of the “right” process, our ability to build consensus, gain alignment, lead diverse teams and make thoughtful data driven decisions. In large marketing organizations, these are key tenets of marketing executives’ reputations and used as evaluation criteria. In the startup world, on the other hand, it’s clearly a different set of criteria that drives success. It is more about how fast decisions are made, staying on top of the industry knowledge so that we can make educated choices “from the gut” and being creative in how we get everything done.
Big company thinking can help reduce the risk for startups with processes like consumer validation and category expertise. While an entrepreneurial mentality can help big companies cut through the red tape and simplify getting initiatives to market.
At The Marketing Posse, we understand what it takes to work across all kinds of organizations. We act as an extension of your marketing department and provide strategic business planning, brand positioning, marketing solutions and talent development. We can flex to meet your business and needs, whatever they may be.
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