- Creative Thinking
- September 3, 2023
- Mark Miller
Harness The Power of a Start-up… Even if You Aren’t in Start-up Mode
Have you ever been part of a start-up? Do you know people who have? What can we learn from the pioneers who are willing to start something new? Here are a few observations I believe are transferable – even if you are not in start-up mode. The vision is white-hot.
Have you ever been part of a start-up? Do you know people who have? What can we learn from the pioneers who are willing to start something new? Here are a few observations I believe are transferable – even if you are not in start-up mode.
- The vision is white-hot. In the early phases of a company, the founder or senior leader has already seen the preferred future he or she is trying to create. It seems as though they invest disproportionate time and energy helping others see it, too. These leaders know vision leaks and they constantly replenish it in word and deed.
- Collaboration is not a slogan. When the work really matters, and survival is not guaranteed, people WANT to work together.
- Buzz is contagious. Where’s the buzz? Is there any excitement in your work environment? Can outsiders feel it? If you don’t understand the question, you are not experiencing it. The good news: You can create it. When you do, it will stimulate more energy and excitement. Start-ups shouldn’t be the only ones who enjoy this benefit.
- “New” brings energy. I’m convinced part of the energy, excitement, passion, and engagement of a start-up comes from doing something new. Even better if it is something no one has ever done before. How does this apply to you and your team? Why not challenge your team to do something new and different? What new strategy or tactic have you always wanted to try? Do it!
- Leadership is hands-on. There may be successful start-ups in which senior leadership is disengaged, but I doubt it. In my limited experience, the leaders in these organizations are involved on a daily basis. They don’t get their data from a spreadsheet; they get it from talking to customers and working with the teams closet to the work. Start-up or not, I want to be an engaged leader.
- The work ethic is palpable. Now, I want work-life balance as much as the next guy; but I also want a team so sold on the work, they are willing to do what it takes to get the job done. If you find yourself needing an all-nighter every week, you’re not doing it right. If your people aren’t willing to pull one from time to time, you’re not doing it right either.
- There is focus. One of the big issues many teams and organizations suffer from is scope creep, or product line creep, or service offerings creep. Start-ups are not immune, but the best ones fight it – and win. Focus may be the defining characteristic of successful organizations, young and old. Yes, there are always outliers who can do many things well. However, my money is on focused teams and organizations.
I can learn a lot from those who are leading successful start-ups. How about you?
What can you do to breathe some of the energy of a start-up into your team/organization?
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Mark Miller is a Wall Street Journal and international best-selling author, communicator, and the former Vice President of High Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. Mark’s leadership journey at Chick-fil-A spanned 45 years, and today, he serves as the Co-Founder of Lead Every Day. Mark began writing almost twenty years ago, and with over one million books in print in more than twenty-five languages, his global impact continues to grow.