Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes? – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Start-ups are not only starting differently, but also growing differently. This is largely lead by their Millennial leaders. These new leaders believe that a more conscious and people-centric way of operating a business to serve a customer or provide a product is the only way. Notable examples include NextJump’s no-fire policyZappos’ commitment to holacracy, and Valve’s employee handbook. There are many more founders who are building successful companies because they understand that the right people, taken care of the right way, will create the right outcomes. For just some of the insights we have gathered across the past couple of years, we offer a bit more about what we mean.

The right people: Innovative founders with a great idea are very intentional about who is on their core and founding team. Fewer founders remain committed to this focus as the company grows. Those that do, create a steadfast high bar on talent, passion, and purpose alignment to the customer imperative of each and every single hire. More difficult is remaining committed to the right customers. Customers that build your brand, develop a referral base, and provide you a place to learn and grow as a company.

Taken care of the right way: In a way that is right for each individual. This can be done by building autonomy from day one. By empowering and liberating top talent to lead itself. By creating environments where relationships can thrive. And by creating accountability to relevant performance. Standardized HR policies and procedures are a contradiction to this way of thinking and human centric growth. Well-being is more than wellness programming and includes individualized, purpose-driven inputs that build a sense of meaning.

The right outcomes: For some start-up growth leadership teams, this has been defined as the growth that is right for them. Not the growth that we have come to know singly focused on profit percentage and sales; outcomes inclusive of human value contribution, community impact and interaction and overall benefit to society through engagement of customers in sustainable endeavors.

We have also observed that most founders and companies in early stage growth lose sight of these human elements as they grow. The pressures of investment-minded stakeholders, the return on investment, short-term revenue growth all become the over-shadowing measures of success. Yet, it is commonly known that those measures can and do become outcomes when the inputs of human value (and other key elements) are the focus.

It is akin to weighing yourself when on a diet regimen. You don’t get lighter from weighing yourself, you get lighter from being mindful, intentional, and committed to the inputs (calories, types of food, exercise hours, etc.).

When a founding team is intentional, strategic and committed to the human value creation needed to create great customer and product related objectives, they then achieve greater outcomes than could have been projected in our current revenue driven system.

For more information about a model to remain human-centric, purpose-based in focus as an indicator for growth, please refer to the brief infographic below.

How do you remain human-centric in your strategy as you manage the pressures of growth in business today?  We would love to hear from you and include it in our ongoing research.

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