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In March of 2014, I gave a private talk to the HubSpot Executive team on how the Product organization was able to operate with a highly autonomous model. Because we had set records for employee happiness, customer happiness and team performance the rest of HubSpot was curious to how they could adopt a similar model for their teams.
W H AT D O Y O U N E E D T O S TA R T
• Someone to be the human shield
• Someone(s) to listen AND react to even the slightest
• The discipline to remove bad actors who can hurt the team
culture. Yes even if they are top performers
• A dedication to constant iteration and learning from
C O O P E R AT I V E N O T C O L L A B O R AT I V E
• Say NO to consensus, to meetings, to
committees to group think. “Consensus” is a
• Find leaders who have opinions but are
humble enough to learn from their mistakes.
• Let people make mistakes, they need this to
really learn a lesson. No cliff notes here.
A U T O N O M Y
• Personal goals/passions have to be aligned
with professional opportunities.
• It’s your job as a leader to make sure those
two are aligned.
• It’s harder than it looks. Most people cannot
articulate what their personal goals are. You
have to tease it out of them and then test.
P R O G R E S S
• It is a leaders job to be two steps ahead creating new
opportunities for team members to keep progressing.
• The focus here is constant learning, not comp, not
• The worst thing to happen is to be caught off guard
and have to react to someone asking for a change
• By the time someone is speaking out it may be too late.
S TAT E S R I G H T S / D E M O C R A C Y
• Leaders need to provide the guardrails and
• When things are working well you do not
need to micromanage or even be in the loop.
• When things are not working you need to
micromanage only up until the point that the
team is back on track, then back off.
I M P O R TA N T
• You don’t get to write the Roadmap. Each
team writes their own.
• You can’t delegate hiring to recruiters or
anyone else. It is your job, forever.
• Caring for your team and preserving the
culture also can’t be delegated.
T U R N F O L L O W E R S I N T O L E A D E R S
• Fight your own instincts to take control.
• Create a model of giving control.
• Success will only come if you can build leaders
• Your team has to outlive you.
• To do this you will need to bite your tongue and
let people make avoidable mistakes.