Some enterprises, like tech start-ups, are all dream and no structure.
A founder’s dream of making a world-changing product compels other pioneers to work long, self-sacrificial days. In what resembles religious fervor, they are like monks in constant prayer, hunched over computers, collaborating at white boards and talking shop deep into the night.
Investors, however, want structure and a return on their investment. So, eventually, do employees, who want stock offerings, benefits, and some sense that the dream has a future.
This awkward transition from dream-only to dream-plus-structure is where many enterprises fall apart. Freedom collides with accountability, jealousy emerges as some get better titles and more stock options and the freedom of “all in this together” gives way to stratification.