I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase: “think like a startup, act like a startup”… I guess you stopped counting too.
But this imperative calls for a deeper question, why is it so hard for existing businesses to do so?
And aren’t we underestimating the harshness of being a startup?
You need to start with the definition of a startup: A startup is an organization formed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model (according to Steve Blank, in “The four steps to Epiphany”)
Read it again. The startup is formed to seach…
The establish organisations isn’t formed to search – it’s designed to execute.
Startup entrepreneurs undergo tremendous pain and agony through the growth process between idea and product/market fit and revenue generation.
They will have to go through the hard questioning, doubting, hole-poking and criticism inside an accelerator to make the venture even stronger. I haven’t met any manager or executive in established businesses willing to go through such pain… because they don’t have time to do so, and they have no incentivized to do so.
So maybe for established businesses to think and act like startups, they need to institutionalise some time to doubt, to assess wrongful assumptions, challenge their limiting beliefs, articulate their intuitions, raise questions (see leads of belief change in one of my previous posts).