Corporate World vs. Entrepreneurship – can we please end the debate?
Is the corporate world “better” than the entrepreneurial one? At times, one party goes after the other with loud statements that it’s much better on their side. And I have to admit, it happens very often on one of the sides, almost exclusively by newly minted self-proclaimed entrepreneurs.
For me, after putting enough years in working under both “systems”, the pros and cons of each are clearer. It was never about one being better than the other, but about what felt right for me at a particular time of my career.
In entrepreneurship, we usually get a sense of freedom, more flexibility but very often a lack of structure. On the corporate end, there is loads of know-how, resources, but the environment is frequently perceived as somehow rigid and not agile enough.
Can we work towards a solution that takes the best of the two worlds? Definitely, many companies are moving from one end of the spectrum towards the middle: corporates borrow practices from agile startups and entrepreneurs are visibly more structured and start seeing the benefits of a more rigorous approach.
On the entrepreneurs’ side, there is, at times, a ridiculous broadcast of one’s pseudo-glorious lifestyle, as if it’s such a personal distinguished achievement. You know, the “influencer” type that posts pictures of an open laptop next to a cup of frothy cappuccino (heart-shaped foam mandatory), a wise stoic quote and followed by smart-ass hashtags such as #entrepreneurlife, #businessmorning, or #workhard.
I would argue that such childish behaviour has rather a negative impact on the perception of the general population of a mostly hard-working segment of entrepreneurs. And us trying to educate this quite awkward behavior is beside the point and probably useless.
But the trends are shifting, worlds are colliding, behaviors are blending and a new breed emerges from this overlap. It is the more entrepreneurial corporate employee, the professional that is given more freedom, whose value is recognized and is empowered to carve out its own operating rules, as long as the outcome of his or her work is clearly of value. And this is the type of professional, mature individual that I have the utmost respect for.
There are medium and large companies that open themselves to this new kind of mentality, that have both the courage and maturity to fully trust their employees and give them that special set of liberties and privileges accessible up to now only to entrepreneurs and startups. And I place all my bets on those companies – by understanding that times are changing and by giving up tighter control on their employees over a more trusting and flexible environment to operate in, they will eventually emerge as more powerful, tightly knit and, yes, more profitable players. And we can all benefit from this.