Can large organizations remain entrepreneurial?

Can even the most seasoned companies maintain the excitement of their entrepreneurial beginnings?

Can large organizations remain entrepreneurial?
When a company is just getting off the ground, there's often a great amount of excitement in the air. Growth happens quickly, because you're starting with a very low bar—zero. During this time, things may feel a little hectic; policies haven't been ironed out, adjustments to the team are still being made, and systems are still being developed. But what I hear from most entrepreneurs is that the thrill of such rapid growth outweighs the pressures of day-to-day business. Entrepreneurship is a blast!

As time goes by, though, even the most entrepreneurial companies stabilize. Hard-and-fast systems develop, policies are enacted, silos are created, and growth eventually plateaus. Sooner or later, even for the companies that start off with the most promise, business becomes about maintaining the status quo. The goal of year-over-year growth turns into a goal of year-over-year maintenance. At this point, even the most ambitious leaders can fall into a state of comfort and begin preferring to keep things the way they are.

Some say that this is inevitable. A mature company will eventually stop growing, once it's reached its full potential. So, is that true? Is it just the nature of the beast that we must eventually come to settle for average, or is there a way for even the most seasoned companies to remain entrepreneurial?

In the end, I think it all starts with leadership. I speak to leaders in the mortgage industry from all across the board—leaders of new businesses and leaders of businesses that have been around for decades. What I find is this: the more entrepreneurial the leader is, the more the company continues to grow. The sky is only the limit to the extent that the leader says it is. What kind of leader are you?