You’re a start-up now

Increased regulations, market uncertainty, and instant changes in consumer and corporate behavior continue to impact every business.

Companies have depended on understanding the business life cycle model as a means of ensuring they can adapt to market changes (or create markets), whether at their start-up, growth or maturity stages. Today, no matter whether your company was just beginning or has been established for decades, it’s time to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

Now is the time to discover which changes are temporary, which will remain, and which are yet to come. Lean into your network and clients and ask questions that help you identify how your organization can serve them now and into the future. How have these changes impacted them? What do they expect as future concerns and opportunities? On one hand you can predict likely scenarios your company may respond to. Even though the business may be negatively impacted (decline stage) there is still a culture that values identifying new growth opportunities.

This is a period where organizations can shape the future – for their people, clients and industries. Many companies have been slow to change or unsuccessful in changing. Now is the time to get it right, focusing on culture and purpose. A key principle of culture continuity is to recognize that there will be changes in behaviours and attitudes required.

The business lifecycle model depicts key stages of corporate growth: start-up, growth, maturity, new growth and decline.

Does your workplace culture prevent innovation?

Some workplace cultures have depended on rigidity, compliance and risk avoidance. Many rely on a top-down approach to leadership and communication, and silo’d management structures. If there are elements of your organizations’ culture that limit collaboration, problem-solving or creativity, consider whether those will be helpful in this situation or moving forward, and provide training, reward and communication to focus your employees’ efforts.

If there are people or business units that have a history of purposeful problem-solving and foresight, leverage these as resources and assets. Encourage them to share their approach with others and facilitate increased communication between business units and teams. This increased collaboration can promote holistic problem-solving, increased sense of connection to the business, and increased awareness of what actually contributes to business value beyond revenue and profit.

What behaviors and attitudes should be encouraged?

Behaviors, attitudes and results are often ingrained in organizations. They are in the habits, workflows, role descriptions and performance management systems. Education, training and time will be required for people to adopt new behaviors and attitudes. In the short-term though, leaders can gain buy-in by clearly communicating the need for these changes and what the opportunity is for the individuals.

Promote curiosity, collaboration and communication. Allow people to test ideas, develop and test them, and to fail. Encourage people to think about and discuss what the future of markets, products and services might be and to problem-solve. Reward people who look outside the organization and who contribute ideas on what industry needs, challenges and opportunities might be.


Workplace culture is shaped by leaders in the organization. Walk the talk and model the way; demonstrate the behaviors and attitudes you aim to foster. This will help team members see that you actually are encouraging different ways of operating. Coupled with clear communication, your actions can build confidence that the organization is focused on being competitive and resilient toward its vision.

Business leaders must adopt a start-up mentality and encourage flexibility, autonomy and comfort with uncertainty in their teams #leadership #businesscontinuity #culturecontinuity #culture


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash