Last week I talked about poor Valerie. She’s a solid worker, but isn’t bringing much loyalty or passion to her job. It’s just a job.

Across the street, though, we have a small startup company of 8 people who are now getting traction. It’s a small enough group that they know each other fairly well, so their teamwork is pretty darned good.

And they’re not afraid to embrace new ideas. It’s part of their culture, after all.

The neat thing about this company is that they’re moving forward as a unit. People know how to get aligned and execute on a decision.

In this kind of environment, they’ve developed a level of trust. When one moves outside their comfort zone to take a risk, others support and encourage them. When mistakes happen, others forgive them.

In this kind of team, I hesitate to call people “workers.” They’re contributing much more than just their assigned job tasks, and the company benefits. We’re seeing the creativity and passion that people can bring to their employer.

This, my friends, is exactly how a small startup can eat the larger company’s lunch. Most people in the established company just relate to it as “their job,” not as a group of people they care deeply about.

Creativity flourishes. Productivity takes off. And risks are taken, for better or worse. But some of those risks give fabulous results.

But there’s another level above this, which I’ll talk about next week.