Few successful start-ups become great companies, in large part because they respond to the growth and success in the wrong way. They grow exponentially and attract a team of people that love growth and have an entrepreneurial spirit. After a while the lack of planning and systems and good hiring of some systematic people means the company can turn into a very disorganised company. The response is often to bring in veteran managers to rein in the mess.
“They create order out of the chaos, but the also kill the entrepreneurial spirit. Members of the founding team begin to grumble, 'This isn’t fun anymore. I used to be able to just get things done. Now I have to fill out these stupid forms and follow these stupid rules. Worst of all, I have to spend a horrendous amount of time in useless meetings.' The creative magic begins to wane as some of the most innovative people leave, disgusted by the bureaucracy and hierarchy. The exciting start-up transforms into just another company, with nothing special to recommend it. The cancer of mediocrity begins to grow in earnest.”
Most companies build their rules and processes to manage the small percentage of wrong people, which in turn drives the right people away. Getting the entrepreneurial spirit back it would seem means you need to give more freedom to your people.
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