Have you ever considered the differences between working in a bureaucratic versus an entrepreneurial environment? And why this matters when designing your entrepreneurial dream team?
Understanding the differences between these two types of workplaces is as important as knowing the difference between east and west. They both determine whether or not a team member is in the “right place,” and what direction to go in.
The reality is that we don’t all view the world the same way—and that’s okay. Some see it with an entrepreneurial mindset and some with a bureaucratic way of thinking. Neither is right or wrong, but it is essential to know the preferences of your team members because if they’re in the wrong environment, they won’t thrive and neither will your company.
So what are the characteristics of an entrepreneurial community?
Learning by doing vs. learning by research.
Anyone in law, healthcare, or a government profession is familiar with learning by research. There are enormous amounts of research that have to happen before they take action.
In the entrepreneurial world, its quite the opposite: We learn by doing. We experiment, test things out, go through trial and error, and build on past experiences. That’s our norm. Learning in an entrepreneurial environment is about starting smaller, talking to a few people, and determining whether or not people are excited about the value you’re trying to create.
Unstructured vs. structured.
Bureaucratic environments tend to be more structured and rigid, with a defined set of processes and expectations. This type of structure gives people who like reliability the certainty they need to perform.
Entrepreneurial companies tend to evolve and develop in a more unstructured way, and there’s often a high degree of flexibility. This fluidity and unpredictability works very well for some people, including me. I thrive on ambiguity and love the opportunity to take something that’s abstract and make it real. Others enjoy creating structure out of chaos and putting a framework to the unexpected.
As entrepreneurs, it’s also important to attract those who appreciate change and are fast to respond because of the technological age we live in. The power of the microchip is moving things at such a fast pace that we need people around us who are excited about what’s next.
Emotions vs. reason.
One thing unique to the entrepreneurial world is that emotions are equally as important as reason. Larger corporations usually put more importance on reason. Anyone who is part of an entrepreneurial team must be comfortable with handling strong emotions—negative and positive. This doesn’t mean that people are licensed to be unruly with their reactions but that they are accepted as a normal part of everyday life.
I think the benefit of letting both the head and the heart into the office space is that people are free to be their complete selves at work.
Contribution vs. status.
Another thing I really appreciate is that entrepreneurial companies don’t reward based on status, but based on the contribution and impact each team member brings to the table. This encourages people to be alert, curious, responsive, and resourceful because they’re focused on all the value they can create—they know their contributions always matter.
This isn’t the case in bureaucratic environments because a team member’s time, effort, and accuracy don’t always correspond to the salary or the recognition they receive.
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Relationships vs. transactions.
In my experience, entrepreneurial companies also have the advantage of being able to devote more focus to relationships with clients because they often don’t have to sacrifice quality over quantity. They can create deep, meaningful relationships where they’re part of creating the future their clients are looking for.
On the other side, bureaucratic, transaction-focused companies want you to get great value for the price you’re paying. You’ll likely experience a pleasant transaction, but they don’t try to create a meaningful connection.
Pick your place.
The differences between entrepreneurial and bureaucratic worlds should give you a good sense of where you’re best suited and how to get where you want to go.
Take some time to think about what you value.
What kind of environment do you thrive in? What kind of team do you need around you to support this? Who do you want to be working with?
Think about where your company falls and use this to make a greater contribution, one of greater freedom, more happiness, and greater impact.