The only difference is the context in which they have previously operated. In the past, entrepreneurs and employees needed to behave in polar-opposite ways, because they operated in polar- opposite environments. Employees were all about maintaining the status quo and executing tried-and-tested business models. Start-ups were - and are - about changing the status quo a nd finding new business models. The structures of the two types of business were totally opposite and that, naturally enough, resulted in opposing behaviours. Rigid employee behaviour was the direct result of rigid BB organisational structures. Whereas, free-flowing start- ups produced free-flowing, risk- taking entrepreneurs.

The good news for employees who believe they somehow lack what it takes to be entrepreneurial is that, those structures have shifted. BBs need to not only innovate, in order to survive in their markets, but also to become the sort of places that the new generation want to work for. These days, BBs and start-ups are not very different from each other. Both are charged with innovation and keeping on top of a fast-changing market. Both need to find new business models to keep their businesses alive. And both need their people to behave in similar ways. Starting a company has always pushed people, naturally, to activate certain traits and skills that are innate in all of us. Working at a BB until now, hasn’t done this, but that’s changing. This new business environment will inevitably push employees to behave more like entrepreneurs - to make those simple, intuitive shifts. You don’t need some special personality, you don’t need to be Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. You just need to be open to adopting straightforward new behaviours.

The second myth is that; “BBs can never have a start-up culture”. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard this, that you can’t change an entrenched corporate culture, or that BBs can never be entrepreneurial. Usually, when this belief is aired, the concept of the ‘intrapreneur’ comes up with it. In the 1970s, Gifford Pinchot coined the word

to describe specific people charged with behaving like entrepreneurs within a big organisation. Many leaders I speak to still believe that being entrepreneurial is the job of an especially-talented individual or team within the BB. It was a valid idea in its time, but I want to move away from it. It implies that entrepreneurship is a specific, arcane speciality. It implies that it’s not possible to shift the whole culture of an organisation, that a BB as a whole can never be entrepreneurial, and that you can never hope to expect entrepreneurialism from every employee. I think that’s wrong, and Apple CEO, Tim Cook, concurs: “A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong.” He also said; “when you have a VP of Innovation, or something… you know, put a “for sale” sign on the door.”

Te new business environment will inevitably push employees to behave more like entrepreneurs - to make those simple, intuitive shifts. You don’t need some special personality, you don’t need to be Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg

The magic is how to bring start-up culture to BBs in such a way that it infiltrates every department and every role - in short, every nook and cranny of a business. Of course, the road will not be as smooth as newly-laid asphalt, there are always barriers and set ways of doing things will have become entrenched and must be overcome. But knocking down these obstacles is possible, especially as there is so much latent talent ready to be tapped in BBs.

It takes a belief that culture is not static, that it is the sum-total of individual behaviours. The Lean Startup author Eric Ries calls culture ‘institutional muscle memory’. Change the behaviour and, over time, you develop new institutional muscle memory, also known as a new culture. First you start with your small team and then, slowly, the new ways of thinking and behaving spread to the whole organisation. Companies who genuinely value fostering an entrepreneurial culture talk about ‘vigilance’ and ‘counteracting their own complacency and default modes’. They fully recognise that they are not a kitchen table start- up - they need systems and controls - which, in a way, can oppose the spirit of entrepreneurialism. But because they understand this, they are proactive about balancing the need for organisation against the need for innovation. They think consciously about how to keep the necessary level of control without becoming bureaucratic, have processes without dehumanising employees, keep doing what works, but still experiment, and use intuition but don’t ignore research.

It’s not easy, but it is possible, and I believe the rewards are huge. As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention, and right now BBs need to reinvent themselves. The shifting landscape of customer expectations and disrupt-or-die competition that keeps leaders of big organisations up at night, also provides a golden opportunity to truly move culture away from habits left over from yesteryear - habits that, every day, become more out-of-step with the external world. New tools must replace that old-fashioned template, and start-up culture embedded and supported. What could possibly be better than combining the agility of a start- up with the scale of a BB? What could possibly beat being the biggest small company in the world? The burning questions are: “How can we grow big but act small? How can we encourage innovative thinking and drive growth by finding different and new ways of doing things? As we face disruptive change, how can we be more agile? More resilient? Less stuck in our ways? How

MAY 2019 | thehrdirector | 13

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56