Why corporates cannot adopt the startup culture

By Bhupendra Sharma|30th Nov 2016
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“Startups are not micro corporations” - Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur

Those who have never been exposed to a startup ecosystem believe that it's cool to work in a startup. They believe they get to wear casual clothes, work from home, enjoy a beer or two in the office, and interact with founders regularly. According to them, startups are much more fun to work than large corporates. But how true is this in reality?

corporates-and-startup-culture

In a country as big as India, you can make money by doing almost anything under the sky. There's enough space for large corporates as well as small startups, and it's not fair to compare the two. Chances are you may not see just how much pressure really drives those happy faces at startups and corporates on a daily basis.

Even if large corporates try to adopt a startup culture, they can't, and the reasons shouldn't shock you at all.

Roles are well-defined at corporates

Since large corporates have been operating for a while, they have already crossed the initial challenges and are now expanding their operations. Corporate employees have well-defined roles. They operate more or less in an organised manner, which may not be the case with startups. Most startups are led by young founders, and job roles aren’t set in stone on account of fewer employees. Startup founders can ask their employees to switch between roles and multitask whenever the need arises, which is understandably challenging for large corporates.

Risk appetite and preferences

Those working with startups are there for a reason, and that reason is to explore the creative and entrepreneurial side of their personalities. Most startup team members are risk takers, go-getters, and willing to walk the extra mile every single day. On the other hand, most employees working for large corporates have reached there after spending a hefty amount of money on education and going through an exhausting hiring process. Hence, they have high expectations from their jobs and seek peace, and most of them prefer not to live on the edge.

We spent the previous decade learning that startups are not smaller versions of the large corporates. Now we're unlearning the fact that corporates are not the larger versions of startups. The two are completely different entities and should remain that way. Just like a perfect financial portfolio can't have equity alone and requires a proper mix of debt as well, an economy can't grow on the back of startups alone. It requires a proper ratio of large corporates and startups and their work cultures. While one paves the way for innovation, the other provides it much required sustainability, both of which are important in today's time.