Even small businesses are vulnerable to "Big Company Syndrome." What's Big Company Syndrome? It's the innovation malaise often prevalent in large corporations. It goes something like this:
Constant, company-wide innovation no longer something requested, managed or measured at the organizational level. Therefore the desire for personal reward and recognition drives an informal system intended to produce a promotion and bonus, which results in a strong program mentality. That is, sell a program up and request more resources in the form of bodies and budget, regardless of whether it adds value. Approval is assured because it produces a favor owed and supports the boss’ own career ambitions. Objectives now become focused on meeting budget projections. Company expenses then rise faster than sales, and add further complexity. That limits organizational effectiveness, requiring even more work to execute the program, leading to yet further requests for more resources. When costs swell, senior management puts the squeeze on to stem the tide. Speedbumps get erected, usually in the form of additional project approvals. Valuable ideas get iced along with circumspect programs. Eventually, the ability to flex, react and innovate is lost. It’s something many large companies struggle with.
Compare that to a young, hungry, entrepreneurial outfit, organized around customer-focused goals, projects and processes, not functions. Projects have a clear start and stop, so resources are mobilized to match the need. But at some point, the entrepreneurial company grows up and become vulnerable to Big Company Syndrome.
So how do you know if your company is heading for Big Company Syndrome? Listen for these twenty early warning indicators, then nip them in the bud!
1. "I don't know how to do that."
2. "I smell disaster."
3. "I'm OK with how things are."
4. "Others get more than me out of this."
5. "Here we go again."
6. "I think this will make things worse."
7. "We're already on another track."
8. "Timing isn't quite right."
9. "I'm afraid of the end result."
10. "What's in it for me?"
11. "Seems like a lot of pain for a little gain."
12. "We don't have enough buy-in to do this."
13. "I can't see how this will help."
14. "I just don't get it."
15. "That may work elsewhere, but not here."
16. "I'll go along with whatever the group does."
17. "Yeah, but..."
18. "Too much, too quick...let's wait and see."
19. "We tried something like this before, didn't work."
20. "That seems disruptive."