There is a major gap between old business culture typical both in industrial and service area companies and new business culture that start ups typically represent. Even though the former has taken some steps to change the culture, these are minor moves rather than attempts to make any real changes.
Seldom it is realized how significant this new culture has been in start up phenomena. The egalitarian nature of working and possibility to fulfil your dreams while starting from zero in such a direct way is seen nowhere else in business area. No matter what is your background, education, experience etc. it doesn´t matter. If you have a good idea, some amount of business talent and if you are committed you have all the possibilities. Business becomes almost intimate in a start up.
Old business culture is much more reserved towards such attempts. Even though business under old culture fundamentally consists also of as small units as in start up environment, they are typically bound to rigid and hierarchical systems. From new culture point of view they are historical relics but for people within old culture they are business as it should be.
Sometimes it is said that the difference between old and new is matter of efficiency but that is missing the point as it is like saying that in a modern culture people are not efficient. The truth is that you cannot survive in a modern culture without being efficient and productive. What makes the difference is that you focus on different things. You have to be lean and efficient which is in no way contrary to for example creativity. Even artists are often lean and efficient.
For old school production oriented people it is difficult to realize that in a modern culture there is no such thing as a long stable production phase during which you are “just efficient”. In early days change and stability were more distinguishable. In a modern culture that is less true. Change is integral part of business as well as efficiency needs are all over.
Existing companies need to find new ways to change their culture. Those companies that stay in old culture will face major difficulties to meet new challenges. That is simply because they don´t empower their people to make changes that are needed.
Business empowerment will be one of the biggest challenges that old companies will face in the future. In a typical company people are not used to take up business responsibilities as part of their their own activities. Business is left to specialized managers and leaders. Such a centralized system is not competitive in labile environment.
Sad thing is that the transition from old to new culture takes a lot of time. Not much discussion can be seen around this. Typically old players don´t even recognize the cultural change. They see start ups only as a new way to new businesses.