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The Daily Grind

startups can be a great place for executives

Tired of Big Company Culture and Pace? Look Smaller and Reignite Your Passion

Serving as a top executive in a large company can be an amazing experience. At its best, you’re in charge of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people doing amazing things. You get to travel internationally with other industry leaders. For many, the best part is knowing that when your company makes a move, the industry feels it and the media takes note.

On bad days, you feel the pressure of unrealistic performance expectations, the inability to move the organization fast enough to be competitive, and the feeling that your influence over the organization has waned. Rather than being energized by the challenge, you find yourself a little bored, and unable to connect with the passion you once felt for the business.

Successful people often have big dreams and goals when they launch their careers. If you’re like many Shields Meneley Partners’ clients, you may have “checked those boxes.” It’s not surprising that you may be feeling less motivated and less satisfied with your work.

It might be that you are too far away from the action. The answer might be to move to a small or mid-size company whose ambition is to revolutionize the industry altogether. What’s better about a smaller company? Here’s what our clients tell us…

Less Risk

You may think of smaller firms as more risky, but the truth is actually the opposite when it comes to a specific role. A smaller company is able to pivot when they spot a market opportunity. There is a willingness to experiment and innovate, or as one client said, “We have a culture where there are two outcomes: success or learning.” The key is to learn fast, and make adjustments.

Think about it. You bring your big company smarts into a small company that needs your expertise and ability to commercialize innovative ideas. The small company gives you renewed energy, excitement, and passion for doing something great.

More Agility

It’s a known fact that the bigger the company, the more regulations and paperwork you have to go through every time you want to make a change. If you’ve felt bogged down and held back by bureaucracy at your current job, you may find you’re much happier at a smaller firm where the only approval you need to do something is to talk to the person next to you.

Better Culture

Big companies are highly political environments. No company is without politics — it is part of the definition. But some companies acknowledge it, and encourage people to play fair. But others are filled with passive aggressive behavior and turf battles over even the smallest things. If you’re sick of playing that game and are looking for a workplace where you can ask for what you want and talk about how you feel, a smaller company will be a breath of fresh air to you.

You might also have a bit more fun – and we don’t mean just playing around with ideas. The smaller the company, the more likely they are to be more casual in terms of policies and practices: working from home, other forms of flex time, comfortable dress code, culture-building events like happy hours and day trips, and actual play (those stereotypical ping pong tables didn’t come out of nowhere). If your current environment is rigid and internally focused, it might be time to look elsewhere.  

Big companies can be be great for your resume and for making a name in your industry. But, you don’t have to stay forever. If you find that being around hundreds of people isn’t for you, or want to have a more direct impact, reduce stress, or experiment more, consider moving to a smaller company. Not sure? Get in touch with your Shields Meneley Partners advisor – or reach out today to start a conversation with us.

 

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