Very few organizations get started because the founders wanted to do something like the next guy.
Startups are the result of someone questioning the current way of doing something (or seeing that there is no current way at all) and coming up with a better solution – a vision for how the world could be made a better place with their business/organization/invention in it.
The best companies are those that are able to tap into that original vision and make it real for everyone involved.
So why is it that so many organizations you go into now don’t have the same energy and idealism that pervades most startups?
One reason is that most employees in companies that have been around a while have lost any connection to the original vision of the organization and the underlying values on which that vision was based, especially values beyond profits and stockholder return.
Without being connected to a vision of a future that they see themselves actively helping shape, it's easy for employees to see themselves as merely a pair of replaceable hands. And if employees think that they are only valued for their hands (ie: completing a set of rote tasks), it's pretty hard to expect that you'll get their hearts which is where all of the customer magic really happens.