Autonomy begins during the first
conversation you have with a new team member. At Clover, Kris asks, “Now that you understand what we are trying to accomplish, you tell me. What should you be doing every day?” Team members are then asked to study the organization and come back with recommendations.
Remember: Promoting autonomy doesn’t indicate
a lack of leadership. Leaders who master sustainable growth are obsessed with constantly repeating the company’s mission and working closely with each team member to help them grow personally and professionally.
“Never stop preaching why you
are here, and what your mission is. Say it again, and again and again: ‘Here’s where we are. This is the progress we need to make.’”
When meeting new colleagues, or
evaluating potential ones, your team members should be able to proudly declare: “This is what it’s like to work here. This is why our mission matters. This is my part in it.”
Repetition is especially important for
hyper-growth startups that are adding team members weekly. In addition to the founders sharing the mission, team members should be billboards of your company values.
Make it a habit for
engineers, designers, and product managers to go into the field with your team. Based on their observations, encourage them to build MVPs to test a new feature with a few on the ground employees. These experiments should be executed at the most basic level before being built in your software.
“If there is a non-flashy,
less glamorous way to get there faster we should be celebrating that; Not celebrating things that demo well, or seem technically impressive.”
“Part of the Clover hypothesis
is that our protocol is going to be a cumulative result of a lot of little things that add up and are really impactful together. It needs to be a forcing function of the organization that we keep batch sizes small for things we want to roll out so they can be operationalized and tested. The hypotheses need to be confirmed or disconfirmed by a really small group of leaders.”
The presentations are done with
a microphone to cultivate formal public speaking and presentation skills. These habits enable team members to grow in their roles, excel in the organization, and shape the future leadership team.