Retailers who think they’re too big to act like a startup should think again, according to Marc Lore, President and CEO at Walmart.com.
In a LinkedIn post, the founder of Jet.com, which Walmart acquired last year, says: “Everyone likes to say that established companies need to act more like startups. As someone who has spent most of my career in the startup world and now has the benefit of seeing how Doug McMillon is instilling a startup culture at Walmart, I definitely agree with the sentiment. While an established company will always be different than a startup in terms of size and style, it can still structure itself to behave more like a startup. I think it ultimately comes down to two elements: taking risks and moving fast.”
One of the most admired aspects of a new venture is the ability to take risks, Lore notes. Startups can take bets that have a low chance of working out, but a massive upside if they do. While most established companies are the result of a moonshot that caught fire, over time they can become places where employees are much more likely to take safe bets than bold ones. “This is a tragedy, because an established company is actually a better place to take a shot than a startup is, since it has a wider portfolio and can weather a failure more easily,” Lore argues.
He goes on to offer up various ways in which companies can remain relevant, including the acknowledgement that not everything that gets tried will be successful and the need to rethink how you evaluate and incentivise employees. “None of this is easy, but in today’s fast-moving landscape, it’s more important than ever to move quickly and take risks. And when you create a startup-like culture at your company, it will ultimately feed on itself in terms of successes and attracting the talent you need to keep growing,” he concludes.