So it’s kinda cool to say, I work for a startup. The word start-up is oozing with promise, an aspiration for a dream and a refreshing novelty as against the boring clichés of established enterprises. Well it’s not all hunky dory either. There is as much a risk as there is a promise in being part of a startup. But yeah, what the heck, isn’t risk a part of our primitive spirit of adventurism, a wanderlust that makes us discover the land no one earlier knew even existed?
And so here we are, a bunch of adventurers, though we don’t quite wear bandanas and eye patches. But we do wear tattoos and jeans. It is like a naturally pervasive phenomenon to sport the cool, casual look. We may dress the ‘carefully, careless’ part but we are fanatical about our jobs when it comes to impeccable delivery. What makes us so obsessive about what we do is the unrestrained environment that we work in. For instance, it is perfectly fine to pull my feet up on the chair while I am deep into writing a piece and not be abashed if my CEO walks in that time. It is not because I couldn’t care less but because I know what matters in terms of productivity is ultimately the write-up at the end. Whether it is written sitting on a couch or ramrod straight in a chair is of no consequence to anybody around.
As a start-up we are not punctilious on these little details of mannerisms and behavior. We can call out a loud ‘hi’ without generating ripples of shock in the corridor. We can sit in the conference room and talk about Pink Floyd and Sting with as much passion as we can on customer acquisition and generating more revenue. We can have a guy fresh out of college debate with the marketing head on the efficacy of a particular marketing strategy the latter has in mind. And this fresh-off-the-boat dude is heard, with an open mindedness and respect for his point of view. This is what is the shot of motivation for the newbie – his opinion counts. Here respect makes an entry. While we pride ourselves in our coolness quotient, we also honour each individual’s talent and acumen. Well after all, it was his talent and acumen that made him get here in the first place. Right? So the flat structure is really this creation of space – both figurative and literal for each participant under the banner of LearnSocial.
What’s really liberating is that once goals have been defined and tasks have been assigned, we don’t have a watchdog breathing down our neck every few hours by way of mails and phone calls. There is no micro management of people and their activities. Be it a tea break, a personal phone call or social interaction among people in different cabins, all are treated with as much natural acceptance as a pee break.
So does that mean that we are working in a no rules, no questions asked structure? Well that’s where you may have gone wrong. No restriction does not imply no answerability. It simply means making each individual the owner of his own job. Because the natural human instinct is to rebel against authority, once you remove fetters of super imposed control from the equation, each person becomes an owner of his/her own job. The onus shifts from the task creator to the task doer to ensure timely and immaculate finishing of task and report its completion to the origin of the task chain. There are times when people work through the night not because of someone else’s instruction but because their ownership for the job compels them to meet deadlines and deliver as the need of the hour may be. And guess what’s happening as a byproduct of taking this ownership for the job at hand. Not only am I actively taking responsibility for the completion of the task, but yeah, I also own the innate risks and the results that follow.
All of us in the office are alive with the knowledge that we are in the process of creating something tangible out of what is a dream. We are all walking the journey to create physical, real tangibles that could one day become the business of the century. We are working on the notion of calculated foresight for demand for a particular product or bunch of products in the near future. We have come onboard with our own career objectives of finding money, fame, purpose or growth. While our reasons may differ but our faith in the possibility of the enterprise becoming a success story is the common thread that gets us together as a team.
As we build products and add to our portfolio and chase targets and aggrandize reputation, we really want to do much more than breaking even and make the coffers swell with profits. Of course that is the primary objective but the higher objective here is to have a work environment, an interpersonal space that really epitomizes the reason why each one of us wants to come to work every day. So here’s to the start up spirit that we have generated where each one of us defines the collective spirit of what LearnSocial culture is really about – freedom and ownership.