Start-up businesses continue to emerge for many reasons.  Individuals laid off from their present jobs have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and have decided to start their dream business.  Some laid off workers are starting businesses out of necessity since jobs requiring their skill sets are not available.  And then there are those who have a job and are disgruntled with their present situation and decide to leave.

It is this last category which provides many lessons for leaders and managers directing organizations that are transitioning from start-up to a mature company or to a company that has been acquired by a larger, corporate entity.  No matter what the situation, these transitions provide lessons that, if understood and addressed, can reduce turnover and maintain the solid performers needed for any company to be successful.

Start-ups are fun, exciting, and require a great deal of hard work.  The fun and exciting parts keep employees energized, engaged, and hard working.  I often say that employees in these start-ups will work into the wee hours of the morning for a fair salary, a pizza, and a six pack of beer.

However, as the start-up organizations mature, managers must realize so too do the employees.  Single employees get married and start raising families.  Bottom line – they now have additional responsibilities different from when they joined the start-up.  The time spent on the job now needs to be balanced with family responsibilities.

In the case of start-ups being acquired by large corporate entities, the environment often changes.  The once fast-moving, innovative, and fun environment is now laden with corporate rules, policies, politics, and slower decision-making.  Those entrepreneurial spirits find it difficult to operate under such bureaucracy.

Thus managers must understand and monitor these transitional changes in both people and organizations.  Managers must keep in touch with their subordinates and maintain relationships whereby candid and skillful discussions take place on a frequent basis.  These discussions should uncover and then demonstrate understanding for the transition individuals are facing.  Armed with this understanding, managers can work to address issues, make adjustments (work schedule, type of work, etc.) and hopefully maintain the solid performers who have made the start-up successful.


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