11 productivity lessons from startups for large companies

Larger companies have a lot to learn from lean companies, especially when it comes to innovation, culture and customer focus.

One of the biggest demands of digital transformation is the need to change quickly and adapt to an increasingly volatile market. And this is precisely one of the biggest difficulties of the largest companies in the world.

As agility and vision are basic market requirements, startups stand out for their innovative projects and products. This discrepancy can lead to large companies being swallowed up by seemingly smaller companies in the long run.

Today, new technologies are born and superimposed on other technologies at an unprecedented pace that conflicts with the way large companies operate, accustomed to observing changes in the market at a much slower pace.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 11 key productivity lessons that large companies can learn from startups:

1) Owner’s conscience

Startups usually start with a small number of employees on the team, either due to lack of resources or because the business is “young”. When those few people “think like owners” pay close attention to every detail and clearly realize that if they don’t, everything can fall apart.

In large companies, on the other hand, people are usually very focused on their domain, performing tasks in a “standard operating” way. Changing this mindset and understanding that you are an essential part of the whole gear, seeking to better understand the “whole” that makes this machine turn will help you move faster, in addition to opening your mind to the possibility of innovation.

2) Culture is the best talent magnet

Startups have a lot to do with their irresistible culture of attracting top talent. Companies that want to remain competitive need to provide a culture aligned with the goals and values ​​of current professionals, like the pioneering startups in this way of thinking.

3) Empowered employees produce more

Another example that corporations should follow is the empowerment of employees practiced by startups. Basically, employees must have the autonomy to innovate, lead projects and contribute with ideas for the growth of the business, acting as entrepreneurs within the company.

Another important factor is tolerance in work-life balance. In startups this is possible because performance is measured by performance or volume/quality of deliveries and not by the number of hours worked.

Managers of large companies with a more traditional bias usually fear this type of action, justifying that such an attitude would reduce productivity. In fact, only a small portion of employees try to abuse these freedoms, and they are usually quickly dismissed from the company. The vast majority will simply see this as an extra reason to work harder and better.

4) Innovation in vein

Big companies are always wondering how to create a culture of innovation. A big factor in allowing startups to innovate so quickly is the market they operate in. Worldwide, approximately 100 million new businesses are formed each year. Taking statistics into account, this means that more than 11 thousand startups are formed every hour!

This fast-paced and highly competitive environment practically forces startups to innovate at a faster pace to stay relevant in their market. It’s a matter of survival.

Managers need to be aware of what is happening around them and adapt as quickly as possible to the actions of their competitors, after all, it only takes a new disruptive technology to take a company out of business in a matter of weeks, depleting all of its time, energy and resources. .

Therefore, it is up to large corporations to break the legal, hierarchical and procedural barriers that prevent experimentation and innovative projects.

5) Simplify

Rigid structures do not favor innovation and, therefore, competitiveness. And this is a common feature of larger companies. On the other hand, agile methodologies are part of the daily life of startups, as they need to make decisions quickly, grow and even fail.

Implementing simpler and faster ways to solve problems, which don’t require extensive meetings with many people or bureaucracy that spans multiple domains, helps the company a lot. This can be simplified and made more flexible in many cases. It is a matter of being attentive and aligning expectations with those involved.

6) Customer feedback comes first

Another lesson from startups is to use customer feedback to continually improve your products and services.

Validations with your customers help speed up the growth of new strategies, in addition to saving time and money, before putting new services and products on the market. Listening to those who consume them is undoubtedly the smartest and most practical strategy. The vast majority of startups do this masterfully and there is nothing to stop large companies from learning from this attitude.

Do interviews, empathy map, email survey and any other initiative to listen to what customers have to say and adjust solutions according to their feedback.

7) Customer success is company success

Customer success is the primary concern of the customer success function. Discovering what is success for the customer and working for him to achieve this result through the company’s products and services is the objective of this work.

Therefore, large companies need to exchange customer service for customer understanding, like startups that prioritize a close relationship and are concerned with offering an extraordinary experience to customers.

8) Understand the consumer deeply

A successful innovative action goes beyond studies, theories, well-presented projects and hours on the computer. In startups, absolutely every employee, from the CEO to the marketing assistant, digs deep into the consumer’s natural environment to find out how things are working in the real world.

9) Investment

If, on the one hand, large companies feel the weight of their budget, Startups often have many resources at their disposal. Even with lean teams and products that are not ready for the market, they look for risk investors, who contribute high values ​​in the dreams of new entrepreneurs, because they know that, if they come true, they will result in an absurd profit.

When the company has a clear vision of the future and its role in it, and sees new ideas as something positive in the long term, expectations about investing in innovative projects tend to be prioritized.

10) Failing is part of the process

Contrary to what the culture of mitigating the risk of failure (mainly through human intervention) has always led us to believe, errors are actually one of our best friends in the early stages of a project or product creation.

The concept of fail fast is practically a motto that permeates the universe of startups, since hypotheses are tested all the time. If some do not make sense, they are simply discarded and the next one is moved on. This is one of the best practices of agile management.

11) Collaborative culture

Ultimately, collaboration is one of the most valuable lessons from startups to large companies.

In practice, this means breaking the isolation of departments and creating a free flow of information in internal communication, integrating teams from different areas around a common goal.

Of course, this is simpler in lean teams, but corporations can turn to technology and collaborative platforms to expand their dialogues and create a more collaborative culture.

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Tamarineira, Recife/PE


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Rua São Vicente, 150

Tamarineira, Recife/PE


+55 (81) 4042-1987



+55 (81) 3877-9987


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