Large organizations could be wasting a significant growth opportunity because of their inability to effectively collaborate with startups. These “David-Goliath” culture gaps between the two types of organizations are a major obstacle. But it is also important to recognize and address the hidden internal culture gaps between the hierarchical layers in a large organization.
But these two kinds of gaps don’t necessarily have to kill collaboration. When managed properly, organizations can bridge the divide, learn from each other and drive benefits well beyond the initial technological and market gains.VIEW THE REPORT [PDF]
According to our research, there’s much more to David-Goliath culture gaps than meets the eye:
Large firms and startups differ culturally in many ways, but the similarities are often far deeper and touch upon the fundamentals of the organization: the importance of entrepreneurship, innovation at all levels and customer centricity. This can help form an “axis of collaboration.”
The hidden, internal cultural gaps between the layers in large organizations are often far greater than the David-Goliath culture gaps. Leaders at large companies are often unaware, for example, that lower-level employees might be dissatisfied with internal bureaucracies or lack of entrepreneurial spirit.
Large organizations typically seek collaborations to gain access to innovative technologies and new markets, but the ancillary cultural benefits can be far more valuable. Large firms can use collaborations with startups to transfer desired cultural traits, such as an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Identify David-Goliath cultural similarities that will become the foundation for a successful collaboration. Assess the inevitable cultural differences so that workarounds can be developed to mitigate them.
Leaders may initiate the David-Goliath collaboration, but it’s staffers who need to make it work. Map the cultural differences between your large company’s ranks and work on closing those gaps, as closer alignment will strengthen your chances of partnering success.
Identify parts of the startup's culture that you want to adopt to strengthen your future workforce and increase your organization's competitiveness. Monitor the collaboration to ensure that any potential synergy between the two cultures is being realized.