“Think like a startup!” Ever heard that edict uttered from on high in your multinational, multi-departmental, multi-thousand-populated corporate entity?
Why do CEOs say this stuff? Have they ever even been part of a startup, worked out of a hut, felt the fear of cash running out? They are far more likely to have prowled the cubicles inside the steel-and-glass skin of the world’s corporate towers since their graduate days, working up to running a function, a brand, a region, maybe crossing over from one sector to another, but rarely starting anything from scratch.
But what they’ve seen along the way, and what they see clearly now from the top of the organogram, is the sluggishness and conservatism of organisational process. More alarming still is what they see in the rear-view mirror: the disruptors and newbies bearing down on their mighty, asset-rich but slow-manoeuvring corporate caravan. It’s not illogical to reason that if you want to beat off those assailants, you have to think like they do.