Most of the startups we know embrace the idea of change. Agility. Flexibility. Course correction as a way of life. Interestingly, this trait isn’t as pervasive among corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, and marketers. Maybe its a different level of urgency or risk that startups feel that enables them to adapt their plans when something isn’t working. Why don’t we always feel the need to be as agile when we’re working on a new idea, a new business model or a new corporate venture? There are probably a few reasons:
- We’ve “sold in” a specific idea or strategy to our leadership, and we don’t want to risk their disapproval as we change plans. The counter-move to this one is to make sure that when we sell in an idea for a venture, we sell in the “big picture” and end goal as being the ultimate success, vs positioning the “way we get there” as the key thing we want or need approval for.
- We believe that if we just try a little harder, our initial thinking will still work out. If this is true for you, go talk to a few startups and get their perspective on how much their venture/idea has changed from the first vision they had. Undoubtedly, you’ll find that, without exception, every successful startup has had to change their thinking on some key element or multiple elements of their idea — sometimes multiple times as the company was building and scaling up.
- We don’t have a sense of urgency to make our idea successful…after all, we’re getting paid either way. This might be a hard one to admit for many corporates. We encourage you to recognize and appreciate the support of your employer. However, we would suggest that you will learn more and create a much more successful idea, business model or venture if you build it in the same way you would build it if your personal cash-flow was depending on it.
In any venture, we should assume that we will need to change course a few times as we learn. We should set the expectation that part of our role in creating new value for our companies and brands is to foresee the need for pivots and changes. Ultimately, our success is launching a successful new idea, business model or venture that creates growth, opportunity or profit, even if we have to make significant course corrections along the way.