Bengaluru-based Technology Head Search Firm, Purple Quarter, recently facilitated a move for Dale Vaz, former Head of Technology for Amazon.in to join Swiggy as Head of Engineering and Data Sciences. He left Amazon after 11 years of outstanding and acknowledged work to join one of the fastest growing food delivery companies in India.
Proven and dependable talent is a scarce commodity. So, when a hot commodity moves from a big company to a smaller one, the industry is bound to look up and take notice. According to Purple Quarter, who facilitated five CTO placements including this one in the past 6 months, it is not about money. Though important, that’s not what wins the war for Talent. Purple Quarter believes, “Finding a CTO is like finding a Life Partner, the reasons are, and have to be profound and more meaningful.”
So, what makes guys like Dale Vaz move from a larger organization to a Startup?
- Linear Isn’t Exciting Enough. I Have So Many Dimensions to Explore!
Several top-level employees are polymaths like Steve Jobs and Richard Feynman with multifaceted personalities. They often exhibit a well-developed sense of curiosity, learning, and problem solving. They’re always looking for exceptionally challenging and potentially rewarding opportunities to stretch their creative boundaries and develop new skills.
Their desire to learn across fields may not always get fulfilled in an established organization. But, a smaller fast growing organization may offer greater involvement in organizational decision making along with the opportunity to take on more than one role. They can find many roles that fully leverage their atypical talents.
- Not the Money. I Am Looking to Make an Impact!
They may be looking to make an impact, but their intention is far-reaching. They want to make decisions that will shape lives and set new industry trends. They want to create a legacy of their own. Small organizations, with ambitious visions, provide leaders with creative autonomy and enriching work environment to push their boundaries.
Just like Fuze CEO, Colin Doherty says, “We can actually make decisions here that affect everybody’s future in a positive way and we can get things done. That was the huge ‘aha’ change moment where we thought we can actually affect our destiny here by doing things slightly differently. That was the energizing moment for me. I realized I could never work for a big company again at that point.” We agree with Colin completely.
- I Can Define the Culture That I Aspire For
Today’s top-level talent wants to partner with an organization, rather than work for it. They want their own personal brand to grow as the organization they work for also expands.
Small organizations tend to offer top-level employees more control over their skill sets, often in the form of flexible work hours, the ability to choose their team members, set up priorities, and work from home. Thus, top-level talent can define the kind of work culture they like.
- Not Engaged Enough
Most large corporations have a fixed organizational structure and culture, which can limit entrepreneurship and engagement. Not all top-level employees can thrive in such a culture. According to Gallup, highly talented employees that are not engaged are more likely to have the highest turnover rate. In the financial sector, it was around 10%, while regional healthcare had14% turnover rate.
A smaller organization, owing to its flexible organizational culture and entrepreneurial spirit, often boasts better engagement for everyone. You make a lot more friends when you are fighting an entrenched battle at the fronts than when you do in the cubicles. People are more forthcoming about their own doubts, fears, and strengths and bond easily.
- Unbridle My Creativity
Most corporate organizations have a rigid work structure. They have specific code styles and legacy systems that everyone, from the top to the bottom, needs to follow. However, top-level talent, especially technical experts such as Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) sometimes need to think outside the box. They can’t always stick to the rules or work in silos or rely on third-party resources.
In our experience, most startups and small organizations focus more on doing something than being someone. They allow you to take ownership of your work, methodology, the team and the workflow. Usually, top-level employees crave this type of creative autonomy.
- I Want to Take the Road Less Traveled!
Usually, top-level tech executives have treaded a predetermined career path. In the beginning, money is the primary motivation. But, after reaching a certain level, the journey becomes boring and the desire to take the road less traveled starts to kick in.
In bigger companies, scaling up often beckons the law of average. Thus, the top-level talent doesn’t do humongously better than the not-so-talented. Everybody goes averagely happy. Smaller companies, on the other hand, run at a much faster pace and provide a career path with unexpected twists and turns.
From an emotional standpoint, they want to follow their passion. Top-tiered tech execs have immense faith in their abilities to create value. They have a little alpha trait too! It often encourages them to take risks. If making a move from a large organization to a smaller one fulfills their heart, they are willing to take the risk.
- Is Uprooting and Replanting Yourself Professionally Tough?
Working in a smaller company is different from working at a large organization. The hierarchy and structure may make large companies more bureaucratic with lots of rules, procedures, and codes. But, they also define your course of action if things go sideways. In a smaller company, however, you will face uncertain situations every day with no established guidelines.
Unlike large corporations, most small companies don’t have unlimited resources. So, you have to get creative with whatever you’ve got, be it money or manpower. The ever-changing work landscape requires evolution and realignment of your business goals on a daily basis. Your willingness to embrace this change and your resilience can go a long way in helping you settle in.
- So How Do These Decisions Pan out Eventually? Is It All Happy Thereafter?
“It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket,” says Elon Musk.
The bottom line is, the shift can be a great career move as long as you’ve done your homework. The speed of transition and adaptability will depend on your individual competencies. Careful assessment is required to map the values, work styles and competencies of all key stakeholders.
This is the secret sauce, which we get right every time. We map the horoscopes at all levels, map the stated and the non-stated, and give time for knowing and calibration. If this part is taken care of well, the results can be liberating and amazing for all.
We are living in exciting times! If you have talent, passion, courage, and resilience to be more, do more, and explore more, the opportunities may not necessarily come in Trillion Dollar labels. There is a flip side though. The transition from trillion to billion is tough. That’s why you should seek professional guidance from Purple Quarter, Tech Head Search Firm. With the experts on your side, you will be all set to unlock yourself!