Startups

Do startups need organizational development consultation?

Erika PhD Program Manager & Psychologist

August 4th, 2015

For full disclosure, that's what I do. I'm am NOT looking for clients I'm wondering if this is something people have talked about or used?

Rick Feldman CEO at Universal Quality Machine LLC

August 5th, 2015

I also work a lot with start-ups, and I've had a few myself.  Start-ups having a team of owners/members do in fact run into organizational issues pretty quickly; start-up entrepreneurs are not necessarily experienced or trained in the range of organizational issues they'll confront.  It also true that start-ups are, typically, very lean on resources.  Spending their short supply of initial funds on consultants is not a well-founded strategy.  Once they get some serious funding, it may be time ... until then, I recommend obtaining free mentoring and coaching from experienced friends and contacts.  I participate in programs that link entrepreneurs with mentors and coaches; once a start-up is past its initial phases, the best mentors who initially provided free advice frequently get contracted to provide consulting services. 

Paul Dowling Founder at Dreamstake

August 4th, 2015

Startups should avoid consulting except in functional areas such as UX. Sent from my iPhone

Paul Dowling Founder at Dreamstake

August 4th, 2015

Startups have to chose very wisely where they deploy any capital. They have to follow their own judgement on everything other than very specific functional areas. Consultants rarely understand startup culture enough to add value. Btw I am an ex management consultant and startup entrepreneur :) Sent from my iPhone

Mike Ryan

August 4th, 2015

Agree Paul. Its all about using limited capital effectively on core functions of product development, engineering, etc in a tech or biotech company. During my 500+ startups over 30 years and 60 boards of directors I have never experienced a "startup" engaging in organizational development consultants. The rare exception I have ever seen it is when a founder has an OD background but that's part of their sweat equity.

Bruce Fryer Lean Startup Product Management / Strategy / Marketing with a Flair for Innovation

August 4th, 2015

@Erika  After the seed round where product / market fit has been defined, absolutely if OD is focused on cultural DNA.  Didn't cost much and equity is a good strategy. I did this at my first startup (they also put together the HR policies, hiring strategies, etc.).  I paid attention, so on the next couple I did it myself.  I advised another startup to go the same, was ignored and now they are in employee litigation.

Paul Dowling Founder at Dreamstake

August 6th, 2015

As an ex consultant, it could be argued that there is rarely a right time to bring in a consultant. Naturally, consultants believe there is a burning need for them but there rarely is. CEOs are paid to solve these issues. If they can't they should perhaps be replaced. Sent from my iPhone

Eran Eyal Advisor, startup founder, strategist | endlessly inquisitive.

August 7th, 2015

Startups should have a very clear focus:
1. Team
2. Product market fit
3. MVP and product development

Honestly - if your team needs a his form of consultancy this early on, it's a bad sign for the team. Your advisory board should help you navigate any minor issues. Major issues point to a bad founder/ team combo.

Erika PhD Program Manager & Psychologist

August 4th, 2015

That's interesting Paul. Do you mind sharing why you think so? The reason I ask is because I'm trying to understand different perspectives on this subject. Thanks

Erika PhD Program Manager & Psychologist

August 4th, 2015

Great points! Need to allocate resources wisely. At the same time, I've noticed many issues in management that could be prevented by getting some consultation... I suppose it's a fine balance.

Paul Dowling Founder at Dreamstake

August 4th, 2015

Consultation assumes someone knows better. It is totally impossible for a consultant to put themselves in the shoes of a startup founder. Sent from my iPhone