Job Titles – Weekend Reflections for Leaders

Job Titles:

This week we will continue the series on sharing key concepts for leaders to consider when thinking about making a career transition from a large multi-national company to building the next chapter of their career in a smaller, early-stage business. The trend continues to be observed with today’s Great Resignation and the reality for many that the concept of working for and retiring from one company over the course of a career is no longer the dream it once was and today’s leaders are yearning to create their own unique path to a fulfilling professional journey.

The focus for today’s topic is on helping leaders understand how job structure and job titles are viewed in an early-stage venture compared to those in a large company. Leaders who are emerging from a career in a large company and considering a move into an early-stage opportunity are often concerned with job titling (C-Suite, SVP, etc.) and role specificity (what are the objectives and responsibilities of my specific job).

One of the more striking realities observed by leaders transitioning out of a large company is that few, if anyone, cares about titles and role specificity, especially in the early stage. People (including investors in the business) are more concerned with establishing clear objectives for the business and how senior leaders effectively work as a team to accomplish the company’s critical milestones. Investors are not too concerned about someone’s sensitivities around their title or their need to build their own specific sandbox to play in. Delivering on the company’s milestones is paramount.   

This is not to say that order and organizational design are absent in the early-stage world, they are not. However, the emphasis shifts much more to the accomplishment of key milestones for the business and the team’s efforts, regardless of titles or departments.

A very common experience, especially in the early stage, is for the day (or evening) to start with a major problem that needs to be solved (i.e. a major customer is not happy, a test result can’t be delivered, a product falls out of specification with no back up plan, etc., etc., etc.).  Regardless of title and department, key leaders quickly gather around the table (or a Zoom call) and begin problem solving.  There is zero tolerance for anyone to even think about “hey, that is not my department” or “it is not within my job specifications”. The team has a problem, and everyone is needed to help solve it. 

Everyone is trained and expected to run to the sound of the guns to join the fight, which is different from what commonly happens in large companies due to the many department silos that are created.

Leaders who are focused on growing and learning, and not building more silos in an organization, get an amazing energy boost when they join a company in the early-stage that is focused on working together as a team with little to no concern about titles and departments. As we look to build and strengthen our leadership over a long-term career journey, leaving our titles at the door and running in to help solve problems as a team is a foundational element to our leadership effectiveness.

How can I help you today? My mobile is 269-370-9275 and my email is

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Also, for those leaders in healthcare, the opportunity to be at the forefront of creating and scaling life-changing innovation in healthcare resides in the early stage. This sector needs strong leaders like yourself to drive innovation in the years to come. I wanted to share a link to a program specifically for leaders in healthcare who are looking for insights into building the next chapter of their career in the early-stage. I was asked to contribute to this program based on my experience of leaving a large healthcare company and building my career in the early-stage. Please take a look at the link below.