The Reason Why Wee Companies Often Stay That Way

CaptureI stumble into Gastronomy on Hale Road a week past Friday for a meeting with a friend.

It’s 9am on a working day so of course the café is rammed because hey who works these days?

The conversation makes me think about all the clients I never had. The ones I spoke to but the chemistry didn’t work, or they were simply commitment-phobes or they were a fully paid-up member of the 35% of men who are utterly uncoachable.

I say to my friend, it strikes me that small companies are owned and run my men who are too strong-willed and who have not had the opportunity of being civilised by an HR department.

I feel this might be profound but I’m not sure as it’s just occurred to me…

My friend says maybe that’s to do with the fact that HR departments are run by woman.

Maybe the overly strong-willed men have not been civilised by women…?

I order what the menu calls a sausage sarnie. I really want the eggs benedict.

But I’m not sure we’ve quite hit the nail on the head with the female-dominated HR department thing.

I reflect later that the difference between big companies and wee companies is not that big companies tend to have a more professional HR department that is often female-dominated. That is correlation and not causation.

I think the cause is this: it’s about the prevailing culture.

Big companies are big companies (often but not always) because they put a huge amount of energy into getting the most out of their people. In a non-exploitative way. In a win-win way.

In fact I’d say that in all big companies that have been around for more than 20 years, i.e. have not just hit oil and got rich quick – this is almost always their edge. Their strategic winning play.

What else is there? Everything else can be bought?

And wee companies are wee companies because their owners want your sweat. What they should want is your soul (in a nice way), i.e. your commitment, your love, your discretional effort.

Companies cannot be great without huge dollops of discretionary effort from the staff.

Now some wee companies will be wee companies because they are toddlers. They are young.

But most wee companies who are still wee after ten years (and want to be bigger) are probably led by some pace-setting psycho who is always right about everything, wants you to do exactly what he says in the way he says, who thinks teamwork is for others and who thinks only of measuring your contribution by your sweat, and as a result gets only sweat, instead of pure soul and discretionary effort.

People like this are usually found out in big companies and then get fixed or fired. If it’s fired they then end up running wee companies that are forever destined to stay that way.

It’s difficult to change these people. Best to simply avoid. 

2 Responses to The Reason Why Wee Companies Often Stay That Way

  1. Keith Plumb December 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Some wee companies are wee because their owner wants it way. I think that included you and I

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