Evolution in the Startup

As CitySquares has grown over the past 9 months or so, from 3 people in my basement to 14 people in a South End office space, we’ve all had to grow and evolve. I believe the expression is, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Unfortunately I don’t think that’s 100% true in a startup company. Just because the company is growing and is achieving measurable success doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be able to grow and adapt to the changes. And in a startup things can change daily. It’s survival of the fittest and that includes me.

Much of my job as the founder and CEO, among other things, is to make sure that we, as a company, are adapting to change, learning lessons, and applying today’s lessons to tomorrow. But that applies to me, individually, too – I must adapt to change. I must learn lessons. I must apply those lessons to tomorrow.

I could give many examples, from changes in the market place, to changes in the economy, to changes in the company. I’ll use morale as a specific example though. It’s a constant issue, always needing monitoring and attention – like a delicate plant that needs just the right combination of water and sunlight. If you overwater it, you’ll drown it. Too much sunlight and you’ll dry it out. Too much attention to morale in a company and you set a precident and shit doesn’t get done. Too little attention to morale and you risk a coup! Morale doesn’t just mean fun either. Morale is many things, and first and foremost it’s spirit. It’s like being an athlete and not being what you wear. If you’re a Boston Red Sox player – you’re part of something bigger – you represent the Red Sox. You better believe in it. You better buy-in to it. And that’s a challenge – getting your teammates to also buy-in. Without buy-in, you don’t have spirit. Without spirit, you don’t have people that care. And it’s all downhill from there. So before you can have fun, you gotta generate buy-in.

If evolving isn’t simply adapting to change, for the better, than I don’t know what it is. The only way to know is to wait and see the results. Evolution is a slow process, but the results can be seen quite clearly. I can confidently say that everyone is evolving and therefore, CitySquares is evolving.