Rocket Space is global tech incubator with tech campuses around the world. It recently published an article about the dangers for startups — to innovation, employee engagement, to their very vision — of transitioning from plucky newcomer to established business. They write:

Once their startups take off, founders often fall into the trap of becoming managers instead of leaders. They start spending most of their time setting up hierarchies, controlling processes, and dealing with employees who may not understand, or may even actively resist, the changes that inevitably come as a company grows from a handful of employees to several hundred. The excited startup-phase conversations about new ideas and visions for the future gradually give way to more mundane discussions about work flow and processes. In most cases, innovation stalls.

Some founders fall prey to relying solely on themselves to lead change. Others allow visionary change to fall to the wayside while they’re absorbed in management details. Instead of falling into either of these traps, founders can learn to communicate with employees in ways that unleash creativity and guide the implementation of new ideas throughout the company. That means having regular and productive strategic conversations with employees about business constraints and how to remove them.

The article takes many of its ideas from our book Strategic Conversations and the practices of the Network Leadership Group.

If you’re making the difficult transition from startup to established business, we’d be happy to help you do so without missing a beat. Reach out and we can schedule a time to talk about how you can keep the flames of innovation and engagement high even as an established entity.

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