How to Run Your Team Like a Startup, Even When You’ve Grown

By: Sid Banerjee

February 17, 2015

This post originally appeared in Fast Company on February 5, 2015.

It might be cliché to say that people want what they don’t have, but it’s also quite often true, even in the business world. Just consider the world of startups: Startups, which are known for being nimble, fast-paced, and tight-knit thanks to their size, dream of becoming big companies.

But those same characteristics that set startups apart and usually contribute to their success often fade in its wake, as success inevitably means growth. The result? Startups are in a hurry to grow up and make it big, just as large companies try desperately to hold onto their startup youth.

Is it possible to have the best of both worlds—to become a big dog and still maintain that desired startup vibe?

The answer is yes, but it’s not always easy. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting was interpreted by many as an attempt to re-establish a tight-knit startup culture—but was also quite controversial. Other tactics are less controversial but increasingly standard; many established companies continue to offer perks and focus on fun, open work environments, for instance.

To truly get the best of both worlds, leaders need to take things a step further. Here are four of the most effective ways to ensure your company keeps its startup swagger even when it’s no longer a new kid on the block:


One cornerstone of working for a small, tight-knit team at a startup is that everyone knows and is invested in how the business as a whole is doing. At large organizations, individual departments and teams often operate like separate companies with separate goals. But at a startup, everyone rides the rollercoaster together.

In order to maintain that feeling, companies must constantly communicate successes, failures, new policies, big decisions and so on to all employees. As a company grows, this will require the development of a team dedicated solely to that cause. Invest in people who want to be communicators and whose main focus is on intangibles like talent and culture.

While there will always be lines to draw in terms of what can be shared, this open, over-communicating mindset keeps everyone focused on the company’s overall success and fosters the same sense of community as when it was just founders and a few employees.

To read the rest of this post, please refer to Fast Company.