Grown-up businesses are increasingly turning to start-up approaches as a means to address organisational stasis.
You’ll know how fraught this approach is if you’ve ever been involved in enterprise Agile training, tried to explain an MVP to senior management or witnessed the blank looks when you explain how Slack can be better than email.
There is perverse logic in recommending that mature companies should embrace start-up methods. Such methods might in part contribute to the handful of tech unicorns, but they also correlate to the majority of startups failing.
So where should these enterprises — hungry for transformation — turn for inspiration?
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The things you learn in maturity aren’t simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions, if you have any, which you do. You learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent, but pays off on character.
John Maeda re-posted this beautiful rumination by John W. Gardner on self-renewal for those approaching or caught up in middle age. You should read it all.
I’d read this before but it’s always a lovely surprise when something swings back around and tugs you on the shirt sleeve again.