Here’s a question I get alot: “Would you rather work with large companies or do you prefer small ones?”

My response, “If the Titanic had been a smaller boat, it would have missed the iceberg!”

It’s inspiring to me when any company – regardless of size – wants to do the work to change the way business if conducted within their four walls. The commitment and investment to acquire new skills and positioning can be daunting – especially for those in management. In truth, it’s easier and faster when the company is small and there are reasons why.

I had this experience confirmed as I was reading, “Stand Out” written by Marcus Buckingham. He writes, “It is rare to discover a best practice that is transferable person to person at such scale, with no lessening of its effectiveness. Normally what happens is this: An enterprising employee will come up with a new way of doing things. This new practice will spring from within her as an irrepressible manifestation of her personality. It will be authentic and natural, and she will use it to outperform her colleagues. This success will bring her to the attention of her superiors, who will interview her to discover her secret. Her new practice will be elevated up the corporate ladder, vetted by Operations, Human Resources, Training, Communications, and Legal, until eventually, stripped of its unique characteristics and the person who made them, it will be introduced to the rest of the ‘field’, where it will end its life as just another corporate program, smoothed out and lifeless, inauthentic for everyone else and ineffective for the company.”

At a time when innovation is critical to our future, how can we get past this? Does the pasturization of new thinking occur because management wants to weigh in and contribute so as not to be obselete or appear afraid? Can change really be that adverse – even as we regularly recognize those who achieve outside the norm? Is innovation only possible at the small company, branch or franchisee level? What’s really going on?