About The Book


When entrepreneurs seek expert advice to help them put together a compelling business plan, they turn to product gurus, technology experts, and folks with sales and marketing, fund raising, or operations backgrounds. But for guidance on how to create and sustain a high-performance company culture – the softer side of startup strategy – rarely will entrepreneurs find a source of advice and counsel. How the Best Startups Make it Happen fills that void. It is a research-based exploration of what it takes to build and sustain a winning startup culture. provides practical advice, insights and diagnostic tools for would-be entrepreneurs, seed capital investors, board members and advisors to young, rapidly growing companies. It is also a valuable resource for educators and students of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is all about innovation. Leaders of established companies who are trying to change their company’s culture to foster more creativity and innovation will find this book an eye-opener. It identifies the critical seven dimensions of winning startup cultures, and describes the leadership practices required to support breakthrough innovation. Many of these practices apply to managers at all levels in larger organizations struggling to gain a competitive advantage with their people and processes.     


Table of Contents


Entrepreneurs too often overlook or underestimate the importance of the “soft side” of building a startup business. Empirical research has documented the leadership practices and priorities that are required to build a winning startup culture.


Chapter 1

The Importance of Culture

Culture trumps strategy. The right kind of startup culture is a powerful “secret weapon” and a significant source of competitive advantage.

Chapter 2

The Right Kind of Startup Culture

There are seven critical dimensions of culture that characterize successful startups. Entrepreneurs and their advisors must figure out the right formula for their business and then work diligently to make the right kind of startup culture happen.

Chapter 3

Winning Culture Archetypes

The research uncovered five common startup culture archetypes. Each has different motivational consequences and marketplace implications. Founders should use the tools in this chapter to assess their company’s culture.

Chapter 4

Where Startup Cultures Come From

Understanding the determinants and dynamics of culture is the only way for startup leaders to make sure that they are “pushing the right buttons” as they build their business.

Chapter 5

Creating Your Culture from Scratch

Don’t let your startup culture “just happen.” Develop a culture plan that matches your needs, the needs of your leadership team and the needs of the business.

Chapter 6

Scaling Your Culture -- Five Traps to Avoid

As the business grows, the startup culture will have to evolve. There are five dangerous culture traps that have tripped up even the best startup entrepreneurs. This chapter describes these traps and how to avoid them.

Chapter 7

The Payoff of Having a Winning Culture

Winning startup cultures not only make good companies great, they create lasting legacies for the founders and leaders who built them.



The Appendices include practical assessments, tools and techniques to help founders and their advisors create and sustain winning startup cultures.