Individuality and Collectivity

What do entrepreneurs have in common?
Entrepreneurs may share a certain ideology:
to be innovative, to be self-reliant, and to be free (for example, from traditions, bureaucracy, or politics).

These qualities can be summarized by the term ‘individuality’. In a startup, a team of entrepreneurs might be able to work together following their passions and sense of purpose for the company and themselves. However, as the number of members and customers increases, relationships become more complex, and the information that needs to be processed multiplies. If everyone acted freely following entrepreneur ideology, it would be chaotic.

Rather than individuality, collective needs start to emerge. Certain processes and structures need to be implemented for teams to function well. Managers and team leaders need to balance between individualistic ideology and collective needs.

What happens if formal processes are not implemented?
If processes are not formally implemented, informal processes emerge.
For example, if there are no fixed processes for incoming phone calls from customers, members of customer service might come up with unofficial rules that new people should answer the calls even though it might not be the best decision for a company.

This is the beginning of “This is how we do things around here”. In other words, often company culture emerges when new processes emerge without consciously thinking about them. These ‘normalized’ practices are hard to change later because subsequent practices are built on them.

What can we do to foster preferred practices in a company?
It requires implementing formal, conscious practices. And when making decisions, think of the long-term effects they might have.