4 Steps To Being A Start-up (Again)

The process of planning strategically for an organization’s future has been evolving rapidly in the past several years.  Faced with continued, dramatic changes in most marketplaces, leaders are stressing agility, shorter planning time frames, and a scenario-based approach with multiple paths to success.

Almost like the good old days.

Many successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the most creative and rewarding time in the history of their business was at the point of start-up.  Since it was also a time of potential failure, everything was on the line and all possibilities for success were considered.  From this perspective, returning to the start-up mentality makes some sense and here are some steps to get there:

  • Start small and focused – free a small segment of you organization or a team to take on a start-up project without the shackles of your current bureaucracy or HR procedures.  They are on a creative, heroic mission with a focus on innovation.
  • Focus on experimental learning – your start-up team should be encouraged to try new things, honestly identify failures, complete a learning post mortem on any errors, celebrate successes, and move on without worrying about perfection.
  • Use many basic metrics – utilize two or three critical metrics at most to increase your success toward achieving specific outcomes.  As a start-up you are trying to accelerate progress while walking the survival/achievement tightrope.
  • Share the learning – as the team learns so can the larger organization.  The passion and insights of a start-up team are often very inspiring and may even kindle some excitement and experimentation with other employees.

Most of us know that we are the source of our own greatest challenges and accomplishments.  Acting with a start-up mentality is a great way to break through our self-imposed bureaucracy and return to a life of creativity and meaningful action.