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How incumbents can lay the foundations for hypergrowth | McKinsey

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This McKinsey interview with Florian Heinemann, founder partner of Project A Ventures, a leading venture capital organisation in Europe, discusses how to incorporate a “start-up” like approach in larger organisations. (Scroll down for the link).  It provides 7 “key insights” as to how this could be achieved.  In this article, we also provide information on how we might assist.

Key insight #1: To achieve aggressive growth, traditional companies need to adopt an incentive mechanism, good performance-management practices, and a VC mindset.

“Traditional” performance management systems really don’t work when it comes to correlating individual performance scores and organisational performance.  Using OKRs provides a much closer link between team, individual and organisational performance.  But, using OKRs throughout the organisation requires buy-in from the top.  We assist organisations to set up their OKRs and coach them through the first round.  As Heinemann states in the article “teams that include people with different expertise—such as tech, data, and product people—who are very closely aligned with the company’s goals, you have a powerful combination.”

Key insight #2: Big corporations need only a handful of people to kick-start a start-up-like growth engine.

According to Heinemann, it’s not the functional expertise that is the difference between start-ups and big corporations, but rather the culture of the organisation, particularly in terms of attitude, energy levels and willingness to invest significant time.  He suggests that smaller teams that are agile enough to churn out new business models and new initiatives that constantly create new business opportunities is the way for large corporations to mimic start-ups.

Our Design Sprints help your organisation to fast-track innovation through a process invented and made famous by Google.  And, the Nectir product of a partner organisation ( helps to capture innovative ideas from across the organisation, solicit organisation-wide feedback, and pushes ideas to the Design Sprint for further validation.

Key insight #3: Small cross-functional teams are essential.

Heinemann states that small, fully or partially cross-functional teams really gets things going because the intensity with which they can iterate and experiment really creates energy.

Our Reconfigurable Organisation Design helps to create small, cross-functional teams based on value-creation and the Design Sprints help to keep the energy at a peak.

Key insight #4: Achieving explosive growth requires mastering the intersection of data, digital-marketing channels, and technology. A microservice architecture for the tech stack is essential.

Our focus is on the people aspects of the New Ways of Working, but our partner, Rekindle Digital ( is a leading provider in the digital technology space by filling the gap between strategy and execution and turbo-charging your digital transformation journey.  And smaller, cross-functional teams accelerate the process for testing and executing growth initiatives.

Key insight #5: Cross-functional teams need to have business-intelligence talent so they can act as data translators.

Heinemann points out that in the truly good organisations, teams have data accessibility and receive reports daily so that they know quickly if their efforts are successful.  Using the OKR framework for performance, data is evaluated on at least a weekly basis.  This ensures that problems are addressed and changes can be made before the problem can escalate.  We help to develop your OKRs and coach people through the process, at least for the first round.

Key insight #6: The ideal organizational mentality is that the better (data-supported) argument wins.

Heinemann found find that if you have the right kind of mentality within an organisation, it can be highly motivating.  People are deemed “right” not because they did a better presentation than somebody else or their boss likes them more; rather, the better argument wins because it’s supported by data.  At TalentAlign OD, we have a number of solutions that assist better decision-making:

OrgCMF™ is a change capability maturity model that helps organisations through major transformations through a process of continuous improvement and ensuring that the organisation is capable of absorbing the planned change.

Human Capital Scorecard is a tool that helps ensure that decisions relating to people are leading to the return on investment planned

OKRs ensure that performance is driven by organisational goals, and focuses on achieving future performance rather than looking back at past performance.

Key insight #7: Moving fast is critical, but in some cases due diligence is just as important.

The ability to move as fast as possible is the focus and aim of most organisations today.  But, realistically, the organisation cannot move faster than its “change capability maturity”.  Our OrgCMF™ is a scientifically-validated maturity model for organisational change capability (or agility).  The model acts as a “compass” in terms of the change-readiness of the different parts of the organisation, and provides guidelines, based on continuous improvement, on initiatives to move the organisation, or parts of the organisation, to the maturity level needed to absorb the necessary change.

Source: How incumbents can lay the foundations for hypergrowth | McKinsey

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