Early Stage Startups– “Take It Personally”, Will You?

You know the big difference between large organizations and startups? Rather why large organizations fail to ‘be like’ startups?

While there are a whole lot of bureaucratic challenges, lack of accountability tops the chart. Nobody owns the failure (and everybody wants a portion in success).

Ever wondered why few large organizations never ever bounce back? [Think Yahoo!/AOL]

Deep inside, nobody takes it personally. The blame game/pass-the-buck is the biggest growth inhibitor for companies/individuals.

take it personally

But What About Startups?

I believe each and every piece of failure (plus product) has to be taken personally by the team. If your webapp sucks in performance, the sales guy also has to take it personally. Yes, the sales guy! Only then he can (passionately) convince engineering team to look at it (and show the $ picture).

Traditionally, we are supposed not to take things personally, but not true if you are building a business.

By taking it personally, I mean ownership. Ownership to make that change. Ownership that goes beyond one’s position/designation in the company. Ownership to ensure that the company delivers the best service, irrespective of whether you are an engineer or the CEO.

The reality is when you take things personally, you take care of the situation the same moment (also translates to sleepless nights, something entrepreneurship is akin to). A true blue successful startup is one that builds a culture where employees take it personally (of course in a healthy fashion/ that’s where “culture” plays a role.) and customer support spans beyond the support team.

That’s when you (founder) have arrived as a leader. That’s when your startup is ready to move to the next level (also read: What Separates Startup Men from Poys [The P word]).

As a founder, there is no doubt that you are taking it too personally, but here goes a pat on your back when your employees start taking things personally and build a culture where mediocrity isn’t accepted. And all of this ‘taking it personally’ business will involve a lot of friction in the team (nobody wants to be questioned) – so be prepared.

But then isn’t it worth building a team which is red-eyed/obsessedly focused on success of the company?

What’s your opinion?

[Image credit: Earthworm/Flickr]

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