Taking the Leap: From corporation to startup

It’s funny how life offers us moments in which our choices define our future. For me, one of those moments happened 3 years ago when coming back from a business trip. It had been a long day with tough customer meetings, and to add to the stress, the flight was delayed by snow. Finally, I got on the plane, took my seat,  started to relax, until, a lady comes and tells me I’m on her seat! We started talking, one thing led to  another and soon we got married.

Then came the time for a critical decision – should I  leave a 16 years’ successful professional career in the automotive industry? I was leading global customer projects and was really good at that. Should I take the leap? Should I quit everything and  move to a new country, where I don’t know the language and there’s basically no automotive industry. Of  course, my wife was facing the similar dilemma situation.

After a lot of thought, I decided that I wanted to go ahead and try something new.

Why did I took the leap? I love cycling, and there’s only one truth in cycling – to improve you have to get out  of your comfort zone, train hard and keep pedalling until you reach your destination.

So I took the initiative to go and make a degree in international business, to put a scholar framework on  my work experience, I am learning Finnish language and the most important challenge – I’m working at a startup.

Honestly, I had never given so much thought, but working on a startup has been the biggest leap for me.

Having worked in a big corporate company there were clear roles and responsibilities for each task,  procedures, guidelines. I always knew how to make the best out of it, having learnt to navigate around those big requirements.
And now I’m in the startup world where the team is small, the guidelines are not existing, the roles are  not strictly defined, and I have to admit: I ’ve struggled a bit to get around. I had no idea I was so accustomed to the strict framework of a corporation.

Now that I’ve been few months at the startup, I’ve come to see and appreciate how it works – it’s nothing new a startup typically innovates faster, adapts to the environment better than a big corporate. In my opinion this happens because of the smaller teams, the freedom and the sense of community they have, they’re all helping each other, they know their future is depending on themselves and they tend to keep the focus.

Funny thing is, when growing fast, they fail because of the lack of a framework to accompany them.

Now I’m working on trying to bring the best of both worlds together, a minimal structure and procedures  to ensure successful execution of any project, whilst keeping the dynamic, flexible, innovative and  community feeling.