Everyone knows the slogan “Never change a winning team.” It is true that well-established teams and familiar processes have their advantages, but they also harbor dangers if they are too committed to their procedures. It’s especially important for companies to be flexible in their organization in order to be prepared for the digital future. Startups, which are naturally flexible and agile, have a clear advantage over large companies, because they are able to constantly adapt to the dynamic environment without having to operate within established corporate structures. In fact, there are plenty that companies and corporations can learn from young startups.
Successful startups encourage their employees to try new things and to network with each other in cross-functional teams. A high degree of flexibility in procedures and the abandonment of hierarchical structures are also typical startup characteristics. In large corporations, rigid structures, strict hierarchies and processes often prevail—in short, the opposite of agility.
As consultants, we recognize that this silo mentality hinders new ideas and visions. Through more openness and mobility, the infamous silo thinking can be dismantled, and new ideas promoted.
From design thinking comes the saying “fail fast and learn.” This is based on the idea that errors should occur early in the process in order for companies to be able to react more quickly. Flexibility is key, and not only for startups. This flexibility is only possible through an agile organizational structure.
Agile teams that can be put together again and again, knowledge transfer that can take place across all departments, and new ideas that can be tried out and further developed. Flexible work options, open offices, and backing away from rigid working hours can help enable employees to develop further.
This allows companies to make space for a new way of thinking—a way that is appropriate for the digitized world and changing markets. Here it makes sense to always keep a market-oriented and customer-centered orientation in mind, while at the same time building up the necessary flexible infrastructure. This makes organizational processes more dynamic, which ultimately benefits the entire company.