How to Move Past Bureaucracies of Larger Organizations
11 March, 2022
Taking Opportunities in a Large Organization
In a startup I worked in, we were partnering with an international organization and this partnership was the first of its kind in the US. This meant there could be a higher focus and scrutiny on the initiative. I identified this opportunity to partner with this organization; although it wouldn’t be easy, it would be a considerable revenue and brand reputation booster – not to mention it would also improve the customer experience.
In larger organizations, there is a tendency to be bogged down by all the processes and bureaucracies of the organization. It can be challenging to locate opportunities and create a zero to one work environment.
When pursuing opportunities, my personal style is to beg for forgiveness later on but not ask for permission. It may be different in other organizations, but from my experience, this method usually works. That being said, the hypothesis, when following an opportunity, needs to be backed by solid data – even if you have to pivot or beg for forgiveness later on.
Creating a Partnership Product
I brought my idea to my C-suite leadership, who connected with the organization when she was traveling internationally. I had previously backed her up with all the information regarding why we should partner with the company and their business case.
As the conversations progressed, I was added into the loop – to connect with the leadership of the partnering organization. The conversations were difficult, especially since they were an international company. Through the discussions, we realized that partnering with this organization would require a completely new integration effort – although, as I knew, the outcome would be very beneficial.
In parallel, both companies worked on technical infrastructure. At our end, our tech leadership and I understood what could be done, and I involved all the necessary stakeholders to ensure that all the aspects were thought through. We went through these conversations, ensuring that we would do the right thing while providing a stellar customer experience.
As it happens with most organizations, this initiative went through the rigor of review by a “new product” committee, which essentially comprised all executive leadership from multiple organizations to assess the risk and reward of bringing a new product to the market. I met with each stakeholder of this specific partnership to receive their buy-in, so during the meeting, we all had a univocal voice.
In only one month, we were able to release this partnership product. All of our other initiatives were paused during this time for a brief period of time so that we focused on the technical, product, and design aspects of the new initiative and went to market with a well-rounded class product.
Validating an Opportunity
- Even within a larger organization, if you have a strong business case, data, and facts, I am absolutely certain that you should be able to push forward an opportunity. Executives are looking for business value, so depicting that firsthand, with relative data, is essential to move forward.
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