Vision, Talent & Tech - The Right Start-Up Culture Mix

Date:   Thursday , May 07, 2015

BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) is a global leader in mobile communications, which has revolutionized the mobile industry. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, the company has a current market cap of $5.50 billion.

A wave of new gen, young, innovative companies also known as \'startups\' have taken the country by storm. India is the fastest growing and the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem globally as per a 2014 NASSCOM Startup Report. India has the right mix of a great talent pool, open economy, burgeoning market along with government focus to propel the growth of start-ups. This new breed of young entrepreneurs are unique in more ways than one, be it the products and services they offer, the risk they are willing to take or belief in their ideas.

With a strong focus on innovation and lateral thinking, it is extremely important for start-ups to foster an open and collaborative culture. As widely known, the failure or quit rate of start-ups is around 50-60 percent during the first two years. There are many causes for failure but one common problem is poor leadership which translates to weak strategy, poor execution and weaker teams - all of which impacts the company culture. In such a scenario where the risk of failure looms large, it is imperative to build a strong work culture from day one.

Working in a Start-up could be Stressful!

Building a strong company culture from day one is as important as the product, the go-to-market strategy, and almost even the bank account of a young company. Start-up life is stressful and unforgiving, and without culture as a backbone to hold you up, the risk of failure grows exponentially higher.

Culture is as important for a business that\'s just starting up, as it is for the company that\'s going from good to great. In a stressful and high risk work scenario, new age entrepreneurs must ensure that the team as a whole is well aligned to the company vision, core values, and beliefs to accomplish the set goals. To build a strong culture, some of the points that start-ups must focus on are:

Creating a Strong Backbone

Talent is the key driver of any business and it is important to put forward an employee first culture. It is important to identify your core values which will in turn become the backbone of the company\'s values. More than the perks, freebies or flexi timing, employees are motivated by the feelings of support, success and respect. By ensuring that the core values of the company are developed in tune with the people and the business, and communicated to the team helps in connecting and creating a sense of ownership in the business. Further, these values can become the way of life around which the organization can guide every team member\'s actions.

Talent Management & Listening

Half the battle is won when the right team is put together to innovate. Therefore, it is important to have the right network of skilled talent that understands the company goals and helps in nurturing that single idea to success. It\'s crucial for a start-up to have an ear on the ground, listen to what the customer facing employees are saying carefully and weigh it for action. A start-up should invest in talent smartly and engage with the team creatively in an open work culture with tactics like town hall sessions, team building exercises and customer feedback mornings amongst others. All this further help as a retention strategy besides continuous improvement inputs.

Cultivating a Data Driven Culture

For any collaborative decision making, start-ups have to rely on massive amounts of data. We work in a set-up where day to day tasks are dependent on technology. Organizations over a period of time have the capability to accumulate tons and tons of data. By cultivating an environment where data is valued as much as intuition and experience, helps in transforming a start-up into an established organization in the long run. Technology is an asset for a start-up and by enabling employees to understand the importance of harnessing data intelligently at an early stage will help in meeting business goals efficiently and effectively.

More than anything else, startups have revived the innovative streak in the country. There is a rise of a new power house of young leaders with an eye to take India on the global map of innovation. With their insatiable desire to create something new, start-ups have disrupted the Indian business scenario and provided people with a new direction to think. Integrating the right culture right from the beginning has ?become an important part of growth and innovation.

To sum up, building and maintaining a strong culture is much of what separates average start-ups from the exceptional ones. It separates the \'I know what to achieve\' company from the learning and growing organizations. By focusing on developing the right culture early, acting quickly to maintain it will certainly improve the odds for a start-up to accomplish what it is set to achieve.

Every organization has a culture. The question is whether or not it is the right fit. It has to be a mix of values and collaborative efforts that help in evolving a start-up to a business giant. This journey is a learning curve that every budding company or entrepreneur has to undergo.