Is start-up culture all about performance-driven mindset?

It is not all about being performance driven but also about enablement, creativity, innovativeness, agility and accountability.

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Way back in the 1980s, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum, had said, “In the new world, it is not the big fish that eat the small fish, it’s the fast fish that eat the slow fish.” At that time, his audience probably did not even understand the relevance of his words. Today, any professional in the corporate world will immediately relate the quote to the start-up culture.

Corporate leaders have begun to value the entrepreneurial mind-set of employees and are finding new ways to facilitate such an atmosphere in the workspace. They are giving their employees the authority to look for new ideas, and also create and lead innovation. This allows employees to drive their creativity and bring about positive disruption in the workplace. The work environment should facilitate fearless innovation to drive business growth. This is a true example of a start-up culture.

A startup-culture is not all about being performance driven, but also about enablement.

A start-up culture stands opposed to a behemoth, unable to adapt to the new market because of a lack of learning and flexibility. Agility and learning are valued across all organisations. Business leaders understand that irrespective of the size of the company, there must be a drive within the organisation to learn, adapt and deliver, while accepting the risks. It is this drive to do more, which captures the start-up mindset.

Anil Misra

“To have a start-up culture, organisations need to value merit-based decision making without placing absolute importance on decisions made at the top. Second, high performance must be valued above tenure. Third, every employee must be enabled to take decisions and be held accountable for them”

Fast decision making and risk-taking behaviour is difficult to incorporate for a big organisation. There are existing traditional systems in place, which have to be modified first for a new culture to be admitted.

 

As Emmanuel David, director, Tata Management Training Centre, explains, “For the companies to start taking risks, the risk-taking ability must first be built into their DNA. It is impossible to take risks, without preparing for them. Companies have to move from awareness of what they want, to action. If an organisation wants people to adopt an agile culture, it must first look at its processes and systems, culture, people as well as its structure. Only after it has taken all these into account, can it proceed towards its goals.”

Sharad Sharma, CHRO, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance, says it depends on the openness of the company and how much it wants to take on new challenges.

Sharad Sharma

“Having a start-up culture means having agility, the drive to challenge the status quo by doing things differently, driving innovation, the ability to take risks and create a legacy”

Citing an example, Sharma talks about the hiring of management trainees in large companies. New trainees are brought into the organisation to create positive disruption in the workplace. Once they understand the way the business is run and how processes work, they bring forth their own ideas, which can deliver a fresh perspective on doing things. They can suggest ways to make businesses more efficient by identifying the lacunae in management. “Having a start-up culture means having agility, the drive to challenge the status quo by doing things differently, driving innovation, the ability to take risks and create a legacy,” says Sharma.

The most characteristics of a start-up mindset according to Biplob Banerjee, CPO, Allied Blenders Distillers, are extremely high speed of closure, inspiring role modelling, giving the empowerment to try, fail and rise, a relentless energy to stretch without burning out and a fine balance between culture, empathy, care and ruthlessness to achieve. “The leadership should have the ability to make the entire team believe, own and drive the vision as if there is no tomorrow.”, adds Banerjee.

An open and collaborative environment to facilitate innovation is vital to maintain a start-up culture. With today’s rapidly-changing landscape, whether it be in technology or business, it has become necessary to provide employees an environment that fosters the spirit of innovation. Continuous communication and accessibility among employees is a must to infuse such a culture.

Emmanuel David

“If an organisation wants people to adopt an agile culture, it must first look at its processes and systems, culture, people as well as its structure. Only after it has taken all these into account, can it proceed towards its goals”

A start-up culture necessitates innovation, without which even large companies may find it tough to survive in today’s market. To achieve a desired organisation goal, it is important to keep working towards it all the time. Organisational goals and cultures are forever evolving and organisations are continuously growing. From new business processes and technology to enhanced customer service, companies need to keep challenging themselves at all times to keep growing.

Biplob Banerjee

“The leadership should have the ability to make the entire team believe, own and drive the vision as if there is no tomorrow”

 

Adopting a start-up culture is often used as a proxy by large organisations to achieve agility in their culture. Most often, traditional organisations fail to understand the real essence of a start-up culture. Problem solving, innovation and technology are critical to achieving such a culture.

Anil Kumar Misra, CHRO, Magicbricks, sums up thus, “To have a start-up culture, organisations need to value merit-based decision making without placing absolute importance on decisions made at the top. Second, high performance must be valued above tenure. Third, every employee must be enabled to take decisions and be held accountable for them.”

Adopting a start-up culture will not add value to an organisation if the senior and middle management are not compliant with the changes. The real essence of a startup can only be realised when such a culture is pursued across the organisation. A start-up culture is an agile and innovative mindset along with being performance driven.

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