Value Creation in a Startup.....
I believe building a quality company from nothing, that creates value for both customers and shareholders is one of the toughest things to do in all of business.
Being a executive at a mid-size or large company, and making decisions when a company is already established, branded, and selling a quality product in the marketplace of ideas – is VERY DIFFERENT than building a business. I believe you make certain decisions based LESS on what is best for the business – but MORE about EGO and PERCEPTION.
I’m finding myself interviewing people for positions at my new company who have never been in a start-up firm. These candidates (that I’ve met) have always been in a company that has had more than 50 to 100 people, and have never had to come in to work, and worry about their respective jobs on a day to day basis.
They felt (the candidates) as though if they were doing a good job, their cube would always be there, the desktop computer would always be on, and the coffee machine will always be a few short strides away.
That’s not life in a start-up internet company.
No matter how hard you work ,there is no guarantee of anything. There is no guarantee of a job in the months ahead, no firm placement of a where your office may be, and certainly no perks that established companies have.
But, you know what you in a startup have, that larger companies yearn for from their employees?
Confidence, desire and a hunger to perform….
Confidence in leaving what they were doing at a established company, that may have evolved away from it’s roots – and transformed into a company that is well established, and stable – but LESS innovative than ever….. this is part of the phases that large companies go through in their evolution. (Some call it success) Many employees of these companies, see INNOVATION and the ability to perform, as taking a backseat to politics, ego’s and the internal “running scared” mentality, to protect their small empires. The percieved success, drives valuable employees to look elsewhere, and begin their quest to find a place where they can feel rewarded......
Desire – Desire to create and share new ideas in a open environment that breeds and welcomes thoughts and ideas. This is what a startup company is all about. Sharing, laughing and coming up with new thoughts, ways of solving problems, and communication. Larger companies sometimes lose this important internal fabric, of what made them great as they grow in headcount, and employees leave. Politics, Egos, and internal empires – (chain of command issues) replace the fostering and fertilizing of creative plans, fresh ideas, and innovation.
I respect Google and their internal structure more now than ever. They realize that as they grow, they still need employees to “think outside the box and be more than creative.” This has helped to breed employee satisfaction, and at the same time – assisted Google in building and executing against new products, that came from grassroots employee ideas. It's hard to believe that 5 years ago, they did not even have a ADVERTISING plan......
Many companies and their leaders stray from what made them great originally – (which is understandable as they grow and scale) but what is 110 % unacceptable, is to allow – EGO, AND POLITICS -- to crush creativity, and innovation completely…
These corporate leaders are nothing more than mid-level managers, with big titles, who have been taught that using slogans, symbols, and hallow half hearted communications, can somehow replace a SINCERE and GENUINE desire to create value, reward employees, and build confidence with REAL managers intent on making their staff feel GREAT. (they are more concerned with making themselves look good, and worry far less about their workers and their future)
All big companies go through phases, but much of what history has taught us in regards to corporate value DESTRUCTION, starts at the bottom of the company – and works its way north, to the top of the org chart.
As I hire and fill out the rest of my company, I can promise you that staying as focused and true to what helped us land our FIRST two customers, will be with me (and our corporate DNA) as long as I’m a leader. Putting every single employee FIRST, and making sure they know they add genuine value – and making sure they feel as though they are CREATING VALUE, through THEIR innovation is critical.
I encourage companies to create a “politics free zone” in their offices. A place where ideas can be shared with their managers in a arena FREE of ego’s and attitudes.
The “politics free zone” is any startup company – in their offices, in tight quarters…….and it is PRECISELY what creates value, and breeds employee satisfaction.
It’s the reason many of you who work on the internet, have a job.
Get part of your company BACK to it.