Analytics Start-Up Series : 3 of Many

I have covered my first couple of posts on this topic here (1, 2)

Coming to the fourth pillar of Strategic Alignment – Organizational flexibility is the most important to have and most difficult to ascertain. Whether a business or a group of individuals are ready to do something that they have never done before, is a lot of introspections. No offence meant, but not every leader is Captain Kirk, nor every business USS Enterprise. At the same time, isn’t flexibility at the heart of entrepreneurialism?

Nevertheless, what did I see in my experience? High inertia to change (But we have been doing it this way, and it works!), traditional ways of thinking (been there, done that!), skepticism (will it work?) and arrogance (what can this new kid on the block tell me that I don’t already know about running a business?)

Inertia and traditionalism are vices that cannot be sorted out in the short term. I always felt the need to know what I am up against. A little better. Even with a small firm, I liked figuring out where the funding is coming from. If the money guy wants you to generate returns yesterday, then you are in a big soup. Very recently, I heard about this new start up (a few guys running off from a fairly known name) where the Money guys have given them a 3 year window on returns. I have my reservations about the exact terms & conditions. But nevertheless, that’s a flexibility that you need to pull it off.
One of the biggest vice and virtue of youth is the need to break the rules. And those who play by the existing rules are not the rainmakers. What used to really bug me off was a reminder to stick to the old rules to set up a new business. My usual retort (in my head) used to be – Ok! So you know how it works! Why don’t you just send us a 10-step guide to building a 1bn dollar business? That will help me save time on thinking! BECAUSE THERE IS ANYWAYS NO GODDAMN POINT OF THINKING! 😉
I learnt to think politely later on!  Waiting for crisis to drive a point home seemed to be the easiest way out! But then, business are not built on decisions taken during crisis!

Lesson: Look at who you’re going to work with, and under! Rule of thumb for start up – If you have too many guys who started off as the ground level guy and became Project Managers before becoming leaders, and have not taken a single weird decision in their life, are very unlikely to flexible. Almost every great leader CV has something zingoistic! Remedy for disaster – A “did my schooling from ABC (a known school” and “went to IIT and then IIM” and then worked for company A/B/C (all known brands) for x years (x>5). Whoops! You know that they have already lost their creativity!

Skepticism and Arrogance – Skepticism can be handled. Arrogance, cannot. Unless you are ready to fight fire with fire! Are you one of those people who, when pinned against the wall, can poke their nose into the poker’s eye before betting your life on why you think something is going to work! For skepticism, a thorough research is very important. That’s something that gets discounted when you are in a hurry. Young people like me always make the mistake of not having thought through all possible questions. We just find it too boring, and we ourselves are too arrogant. I know it. I can handle the questions. But vacuous answers increase the amount of skepticism.

Lessons learnt: Do your research well. And be ready to fight for it. Nothing comes easy. You have to be the bad guy at times!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chads on April 30, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    “did my schooling from ABC (a known school” and “went to IIT and then IIM” and then worked for company A/B/C (all known brands) for x years (x>5)”…Well said, i can think of a few people who fit in this category 🙂

    Reply

  2. Posted by Amit on May 1, 2007 at 7:24 am

    funny.. “only a few?” hehe!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on May 14, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Sir looks like you are too busy these days.. wassup.. – amit

    Reply

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