Navigating the transition from a startup to a mature company can be challenging. The Dunbar Stage, typically reached when a company expands to around 150 employees, is a critical point of this journey. It’s named after British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who proposed that humans can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 individuals.

At this stage, companies often experience a shift in culture and increased complexity. As teams grow, communication becomes more challenging, and the original company culture may struggle to remain intact. To combat this, companies need to establish clear communication channels and reinforce their core values.

To navigate the Dunbar Stage successfully, companies should focus on four key areas: People, Process, Product, and Profit. It’s essential to hire the right people who align with the company’s core values. Processes must be defined and standardised to ensure efficiency. A clear product vision should be established, and the company must remain focused on profitability.

Mature companies also need to foster a culture of ownership, where employees feel responsible for their work and its impact on the company. This promotes accountability and drives the company towards its goals.

The Dunbar Stage is a crucial period of transition for businesses. By focusing on People, Process, Product, and Profit, and fostering a culture of ownership, companies can navigate this stage successfully.

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