Often folks who have a ‘large company’ experience behind them tend to ‘drag and drop’ organizational tools that worked for them there to their start-ups.
The question is – will those tools work for a start-up too?
Let’s look at some:-
MMMs (Monday Morning review Meetings)– It’s not uncommon for a large organization to have this practice. Start-ups, on the other hand have been trying different versions of it. One start-up realized that Friday afternoon meetings were more useful as it gave people time to think and plan before they started their weeks on Monday mornings. Another realized that MMMs were not really required because the team was a very lean one and all the people anyway met each other many times a weeks and were fully updated with the goings on.
-> 360°Appraisal–This is a great tool used on very sophisticated organizations to improve the quality of feedback and subsequent capability development. It requires a minimum number of subordinates, peers and seniors, who can provide feedback. One particular start-up organization with a total of 12 employees, in their effort to develop a very professional organization, instituted the 360°feedback process only to later realize that there was no body to provide feedback!
-> Recruiting for Experience–Isn’t that the right thing to do? Certainly yes in areas like finance, accounting, HR, etc. In sales? All of us always look for someone who has sold very well, preferably from a well-known company and having a great pedigree. Increasingly, though, start-ups are recruiting more for attitude and ability to turn work around fast.
-> E-Sat Survey – Most large organizations ask their employees, once a year on how they are feeling. Whether they are satisfied with the state of affairs. It is definitely a healthy practice but start-ups may not have follow-up mechanisms or even the predictability of future courses to be able to sustain a practice like this.
-> Rewards schemes – One start-up, with about fifteen members on board instituted a six-monthly ‘Star of the Company’ award. The first couple of nominations were easy – the brightest ones. Then, it became a tough job to figure whether one could get that award twice or ‘should everyone get a chance’. It ended up becoming a round-robin to ensure everyone got it at least once in the years to come. It lost its value
In the final analysis, the leadership in start-ups needs to think hard around what ‘large-organization’ practices it wants to borrow. And get creative around tweaking some of the practices to suit its culture and situation better.