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What Makes a Modern Company?

In the past, I wrote about the cultures of Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, & Google, etc. In many ways, these companies are operating in a modern way which allows them to adapt to a rapid pace of change. There are a number of things that are common across these companies that make them modern. Here are a few characteristics of a modern company that came to my mind:

  • A modern company has a learn-it-all, high-performance culture that fosters growth and innovation.
  • A modern company has a customer-first mindset and not only knows how to delight their customers but also knows how to invent on behalf of their customers by understanding the unmet, unarticulated needs of the customers.
  • A modern company has a clear purpose that articulates who they are and what they stand for. This clarity in purpose then guides every mission, vision, strategy, & experiment.
  • A modern company uses technology as a catalyst for change.
  • A modern company knows execution trumps everything else.
  • Every employee in a modern company is an entrepreneur and is responsible for growth.
  • Every team inside a modern company experiments rapidly with new products and business models.
  • A modern company makes investments based on usage and adoption, not business case and ROI.
  • A modern company has a 21-st century org chart with small teams empowered to make fast decisions.
  • A modern company takes sides and knows activism is an expectation, not a choice.
  • A modern company knows how to be resourceful (ruthless prioritization, creativity, focus, and determination) to get things done, and is not constrained by lack of resources (time, money, people, etc.).
  • Leaders in a modern company make decisions based on long-term objectives, not short-term goals.

Ultimately, modern companies know that nobody wins unless everybody wins, which is why they strive to be good at every single characteristic listed above.

Think: What’s preventing your company from becoming a modern company?

What else am I missing? Please leave the name of your favorite modern company and what you like about them.


Here are a few things I thought were worth sharing this week:

The 7 Core Qualities of a Leader: This is my go to guide for leadership. I use it to both remind myself of the core leadership qualities and also as a guide when it comes to hiring my leaders.

Sir Ken Robinson: How To Create a Culture of Innovation: Sir Ken discusses the myths, conditions and the culture needed to innovate inside of our organizations.

Want to Kill Your Economy? Have MBA Programs Churn out Takers Not Makers: This essay goes into why business education is failing businesss and is adapted from Rana Foroohar’s award winning book “Makers & Takers”.

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