Some say that an institution can kill inspiration. Not true. Institutions don’t kill anything; people do.
That said, every leader wants to grow their company; it is THE imperative of their strategic game plan.
The founder of a startup has a vision that they can only realize when a larger and larger market consumes their product or service. Their dream is to be a significant world player in their chosen market.
The organization to support the increasing demand grows; infrastructure increases along with the employee base.
What started out as a two-person crew with a pledge to solve a world problem and make a difference suddenly becomes a large machine with all the attendant challenges of complexity and bureaucracy.
Under such conditions, how does a leader preserve the inspiration that created the organization in the first place?
How do they prevent “the machine” from suffocating the small entrepreneurial engine that “thought they could”?
Take a look at yourself
You may have been successful launching your startup and creating the momentum needed to gain traction in the market, but you may NOT have what it takes to lead the business through the stresses and strains of growth.
Let go of your ego and make the right call for the future of what you started. Find someone who can turn your brave idea into a crude deed.
Have friendly rules and policies
Create a “rules and policy system” that minimizes rigidity and restrictions and maximizes degrees of freedom for employees.
Don’t look to best practices for direction; this will only propagate what large organizations do – you don’t want to act large. You want to maintain the nimbleness of small.
Look to small business for people
Recruit as many folks as you can from small business. You want practical thinkers and people who have a proven track record of getting stuff done.
Put the focus on execution not planning
Develop execution as THE competitive advantage of the business. It’s not your intellectual capacity that will set you apart from the competition; it’s what and how much relevant stuff you deliver to customers.
Also read: How To Build A Culture Of Execution
An organization that executes brilliantly can only do so if they are “lean and mean” with simplicity as a core value.
This will hold off the pressures to add unnecessary complexity to the business.
Stay close to the frontline
The fuel to think BIG but act small comes from the people who take care of customers day in and day out.
Keeping the inspiration alive requires “keeping it real” in terms of how customers FEEL about the business through every touch point and every transaction.
Set up a “frontline guidance” panel to provide insight and direction to keep the customer in the driver’s seat of your business, informing your growth activities.
Adopt a “servant leadership” style
People are inspired when they are connected to what the organization is trying to achieve. When there is a support system in place to help them do their job and deliver what is expected of them.
Also read: How to Identify and Hire Servant Leaders
Servant leaders ask “How can I help?” often and everywhere and use the answers they get as the critical instrument to keep the organization fresh and vibrant rather than stale and rigid.
“Inspiration” can dominate “institution ” as the lifeblood of an organization but it requires a specific culture to keep it alive.
If words like inspire, feel, execute, small, fast, “do it”, frontline, simple, less and customers define the conversation in the organization, “inspiration” is winning the war.
If not, you might be doomed.
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