Cultural gaps that arise when large organisations and startups collaborate can stall or prevent long-term success. Luckily, there are ways for companies to bridge or capitalise on this divide.

When large organisations (Goliath) and startups (David) collaborate, cultural gaps can undermine success. However, the good news is there are common values between these two entities that can help bridge these gaps. In my previous post, I talked about using these common values to form an “axis of collaboration.” Now I’d like to tell you how to do that.

Defining common ground is essential: Leaders should work to identify cultural similarities, then identify cultural differences to understand how to work with them.

Be transparent about the differences and call out how the collaboration can benefit from them rather than just pushing through them.

Foster internal and external collaboration: Keep the lines of communication open to ensure both organisations recognise commonalities and are building upon them.

Be willing to embrace what you need: Goliath’s should identify the kind of mindset and behaviors that startups possess in order to help drive innovation, building on the cultural differences where they can add value.

Lead in the new: Consider redefining roles, increasing transparency and autonomy, and rewarding creativity and risk taking, where these are the attributes from the startup that the Goliath is looking to access.

Leaders of large organisations must be given time to establish and implement ways to ensure the status quo doesn’t prevent the company from reaping the benefits of the startup’s culture. Additionally, collaboration allows for more agility and growth.

Remember, too, that introducing the David people into the Goliath culture without embracing and appreciating the David culture, will risk both partners losing valuable talent.

Monitoring the collaboration is key. Do it right and those companies that effectively combine forces while respecting and working on cultural differences can look forward to a successful future.

For more in-depth details, read: David-Goliath Culture Gaps