HOW TO DEVELOP & LEAD AN AUTONOMOUS TEAM Powered by
This presentation consists of insights inspired by 33voices® interviews with Jenna Abdou.
KRIS GALE Co-founder and CTO of Clover Health @Clover_Health @kgale
Table of Contents Celebrate Autonomy Page 5 Execute Like Champs Page 14 Prepare Your Team to Succeed Page 24 The Interview Page 29 Credits Page 30
Chapter 1 Celebrate Autonomy
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.
Encourage individuals to shape their roles and collaborate with others to improve your product or service.
“Don’t delegate tasks or disempower people through participation in the early days… They need to be empowered to make operational changes in the code.”
“Never stomp on autonomy.”
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.
Chapter 2 Execute Like Champs
Assemble small groups to execute projects. This will decrease overhead, coordination, and management.
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.
Remember these three points before formally implementing a new feature:
Remember these three points before formally implementing a new feature: Start with the company’s mission
Remember these three points before formally implementing a new feature: Create a basic version that works
Remember these three points before formally implementing a new feature: Build only what is necessary
Don’t measure engineers on how well they build software. Measure them on well they build software that achieves your company’s goals.
“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.”
Chapter 3 Prepare Your Team to Succeed
Institute a weekly Demo Day. At Clover, each team member speaks for five minutes about:
Institute a weekly Demo Day. At Clover, each team member speaks for five minutes about: The progress they made that week
Institute a weekly Demo Day. At Clover, each team member speaks for five minutes about: Why it matters
Institute a weekly Demo Day. At Clover, each team member speaks for five minutes about: The value implications for the organization
Institute a weekly Demo Day. At Clover, each team member speaks for five minutes about: How it’s helping them achieve their goal
“It forces individuals to conceptualize what they are doing and enhances their prioritization.”
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.
“People are better at their jobs when they are asking: ‘How does this fit in the bigger picture?’”
To find out how Kris helps his team members answer that question tune into his 33voices interview.
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