Skip to content

What Leaders Can Learn From A Start Up

October 20, 2022

Today was a great day – I had the privilege of delivering a keynote on The Future of Work Is Now for the PMI North Saskatchewan chapter.

The event was held in Saskatoon – a hot bed for innovative companies and leaders.

In my presentation I share the human trends impacting companies see below for the polling question and responses:

As you can see that the majority response from the group of over 100 leaders was that they are challenged by the workers market, demand for hybrid/remote and the increase interest in well being/heath.

It is more challenging than ever before to be a leader and we are all having to stay optimistic about the ongoing changes impacting the workplace.

Following my keynote I facilitated a panel where we had 3 local to Saskatoon business leaders – one of the panelists named Brett was a senior leader for a completely remote company focused in the cryptocurrency industry.

When asked the question of how was his company dealing with hybrid his response was, ‘we were built on hybrid/remote because we are a start up’.

He went on to share that because they see themselves as technology company they have been focused on how to be successful as a remote/hybrid company from the very beginning.

In my research I often share with companies that they need to approach their workplace from a ‘start up’ perspective.

An excellent exercise for senior leaders to engage in is to ask themselves if we were starting out now what we do differently?

There is lots for leaders to learn from a start up – here’s a few things to consider:

  1. Start ups focus on the ‘work’ not on jobs – their main focus is to answer the questions, “How do we deliver on our goals through people?” and “How can we scale by leveraging people globally?”

When I asked today’s panel leaders how they successfully navigated the pandemic, Brett answered with, “We were already hybrid/remote – for us it was an advantage”.

Start ups are focused on big wins and quick wins – we can learn from their obsessive focus on hitting big project timeline goals.

A lot of times in traditional organization we can lose our sense of urgency or get mired down in the challenges of helping people change.

Brett said they hire people for ‘autonomy’ in other words they only hire people who are self starters and who can effectively ‘work from anywhere’.

Traditional leaders can learn from this and shift from seeing ‘jobs’ as positions needing to be filled by warm bodies and shift a mentality of asking ‘how does the work need to get done?’

Lastly – start ups attract highly talented people – why? Because a start up is exciting – it is untested – it requires a steep learning curve and active collaboration.

Traditional companies can look at building in new projects for people within the traditional structure that allow people to ‘lead a start up’ within a traditional organization.

Facilitating today’s panel was very fulfilling because every leader corraborated the research we have invested in at NextMapping- stay tuned on an upcoming podcast and interview with the panelists in future blog posts.

Cheryl’s newsletter

The latest insights on the future of all things delivered straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.