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Our Thoughts

The Parallels of Leading Small Teams in Startups and in the Military

By May 11, 2021January 24th, 2022No Comments

The U.S. military is often perceived as a rigid, monolithic organization where the top brass controls every detail of an operation via orders dogmatically followed by subordinates. The assumption that can follow is, in this type of command-and-control environment, there is no room for the development of entrepreneurial leadership when simply executing orders. In our experience, that could not be further from the truth.

The reality is that the military, while structured as a hierarchy, operates as a team of small teams. Units, and the elements that support them, work together in fast-paced, ever-changing environments that value ingenuity and flexibility, where problem-solving and decision-making are pushed to the small unit leaders closest to the action.

These leaders are expected to take initiative in accomplishing a mission, within the context of the overall objective, or “commander’s intent.” This approach and mindset lends itself well to leading the close-knit teams we find operating in the fast-paced, dynamic environments of technology startups.