Episode 5 GOJEKs Organisational Principles

welcome to go figure my name is Nadine McCarran CEO and Founder go-jek Southeast Asia's first super app go Jack does ride-hailing food delivery payments even on-demand massages you name it you do it go figure is a podcast dedicated to expose the inner workings of ambitious tech companies in the emerging world we like to talk about things we like and talk about things together there are a lot of myths out there that we want to dispel so keeping it real is kind of a mantra hope you enjoy [Music] amen what's gonna hire you we gotten a demon Kevin again that's right on go figure podcast today we're gonna talk a little bit about some things that that matter very much personally to us in terms of the philosophy of building a long-term sustainable successful business right that's right I think that's what that's the theme that we wanted to talk today for those listeners that don't know we're the co-founders of go-jek and I think a lot just to kick this off I think a lot of people talk about short term success criteria for technology companies I think people don't even see it as a short term right it's people usually people or media usually highlight the things that short term strategies often are closely linked to so it's very easy to kind of look at well look at these valuation numbers look at the money raised look at you know revenue or users or all these numbers which are important but when you just kind of see a that that is the that is the ultimate objective that'd be all and all it becomes easy then you know when you're building a company to just optimize for those things and what are the things that get you those things immediately rather than thinking about you know building an enduring company or an enduring business and and most of those things that we talk about or the media talks about are usually related to growth or capital raising or you know how many people you've hired you know and all of these kind of in some ways they are kind of the equivalent of lagging indicators as opposed to leading indicators of success right if you just focus on output numbers then at a certain point those output numbers like revenue sustainability and all this other stuff might go down over time if you're not investing in the long term leading indicators of health in an organization and would you agree with me that most of those are evolved around how the internal organization operates yeah it's it's it's the how right I think it's easy to think that you're doing things the right way when the what is you know all you care about right and and the what that you know it's easy to be validated are those you know those numbers those those media stories are easy to kind of it's easy to see that oh that's kind of the the objective and so you know when you go back but when you actually go back and think about like you know how are you achieving those oftentimes you know you realize that you know these things are are exactly as you mentioned or actually I guess you can say lagging indicators because if you're not doing things the right way eventually those things all kind of you know fall apart and I think what often times isn't really being discussed at least at the same kind of pace or at the same kind of breadth or depth is really the how I think people media rarely talk about the how we just talk about the what and and all these house and we're gonna mention I think we're gonna go deep into three things which are some of our strategic themes for this year 2019 is really about the how and what's really interesting about it is that all these house do have no short-term payoff they're very hard at realizing value up early that's true but it requires a huge amount of faith that it will pay off but the reason why we believe in them is because for the parts of the units of the organization that we did apply these principles after about a year or even more than a year then we see unreplicated just kind of like took off and so I think for the listeners here this is about you know especially for people who are starting out their own companies or starting a tech division within their company etc or even people who are you know already are just kind of like working at a company that is that is scaling right now that's right even even current employees and tech companies etc thinking about these long term organizational investments they're just like savings the earlier that you invest in these the more powerfully they will manifest in the company's future whether they compound they compound you know exactly just like saving a dollar every day right and so let's talk about these these three things so in 2019 there's three specific strategic themes that gojek has that represent our long-term investments and the first one organizational investments and the first one is this the theme is called be the best at what matters what true matters and this is a theme around focus yep and around prioritization the second theme is really about bottom-up innovation and how to institutionalize that within the organization as opposed to top-down method and the third theme is really about building bridges and breaking walls so just to review that one more time it's about being the best at what truly matters which is about a focus it's about really encouraging bottom-up innovation which is about innovation and the third theme is about building bridges and breaking walls within the organization which is about alignment and communication yep so those are kind of a triangle of long term competitive advantage and long term performance that we want to institutionalize and go-jek in 2019 even more and I think these are the things that very often organizations are too lazy to invest in upfront because they don't give there's no instant gratification here that's right yeah they're they're rarely they're rarely is for any kind of you know organizational investments and I actually think that it's not just realizing it late and it's not just that I think it doesn't happen frequently enough I think there's almost a cost to it actually melendi that that's why it that that's why it's not just uh-oh like that stuff isn't important and you know let's let's focus on you know other things let's let's ignore all of these that's just noise like it's not it's not just an ignorant of of it it's also because they are inherently hard decisions and and it'll never these things will never seem kind of urgent to implement like nothing is ever on fire and then you oh you have to do these things now yeah and so I think they are inherently kind of I guess those so-called leaps of faith because it's so easy to kind of just brush them aside it's so easy to say you know what it's not worth it right because you it's so fuzzy sometimes it's not complicated what do you think is the ultimate sacrifice of these should we go one by one yeah and talk about it yeah yeah mmm I think I think one very easy one and I think one one thing that you know we've seen here and we've seen here in go-jek but also here in the region and actually you know all around the world is actually you know the whole bottom up versus top-down thing right I think that one especially you know coming from and anyone you know listening who is coming from a leadership position I think it's very very easy without malice to kind of think that you know top-down either explicitly or implicitly is is is better yeah and I think that even in the beginning stages of our organization we were very top-down very exceedingly top-down and and there were some clear benefits to that yeah there was some clear benefit so we move faster mm-hmm right there was less of uncertainty in terms of what people should be doing mm-hmm right because they received direct commands on on what to achieve and and sometimes how to achieve it there was less a lack of clarity in what product teams need to prioritize because their leader is just prioritized for reprioritize for them so there were all of these perceived benefits right that you could immediately see right away and that's how we grew got really fast right and so on so when when did that when did that change and why did we decide to shift to even be more radically bottom-up in the organization so I think I think in the early stages it's in the early stages it's really easy to do top-down without feeling bad about it especially because you know when when when then the company is like 30 people all in like the same room even top-down doesn't feel very top-down right because it's like okay look clearly you know I'm I am responsible for something you're helping with this you're responsible for that and so it's very easy to kind of you know create that alignment and people are excited and we're all kind of just executing right so it's more so the the top-down side almost feels more like coordination rather than like command and control yeah you don't have to be nasa l-- yeah you don't to have a top-down way of working no your people can infuse that top-down isn't about being a you know like a tyrant there are very very many good benevolent dictators just tech companies out there in all companies yeah and and I but I think when it really changed at least for for me is when the reality is I think as a company you know we simply grew too fast and it's it's out of our control right I mean we we mean the last what four years we just kind of held on by and it was it wasn't like oh we have to grow this fast we just did and I think when you kind of when we grew so quickly and all these people came on and like we had to have more organizational structure and more layers I think the habit of just like hey like let's do this became it morphed into top-down because in order to in and top-down into I would say a negative way because you know in order to be able to influence with a hundred percent certainty like hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of people you have to be extremely forceful right you have to almost not listen to the input if you wanted to kind of behave in the same fast execution quick alignment mode right and it's easy when there's like three people in a room trying to assign something but then when you're like okay I need to talk to three people in the room who have literally hundreds of people by extension reporting in to them wanting that very kind of like super quick decision-making after one discussion and wanting something to actually kind of happen out of that discussion immediately per that discussion I think results in you know if you want that pace that happen results and just saying telling people at some point just do it mmm right and I think what ended up happening was a lot of people ended up becoming more or less engaged you know people and why is that a bad thing we always talk about how that's a bad thing what what is a more scientific way of explaining the effects of lack of motivation or a lack of a sense of ownership what does that mean in terms of real business performance well I think a few things right I think I think what we've seen what we've seen are there's a different flavors of it I think one is people then don't think they don't think because like oh my boss told me to do it right and this whether or not this is a bad decision whether or not I have information that actually might make this a better decision is irrelevant right I don't have to think because as long as I said my boss did it I'm safe right right so because my performance is judged based on how well I execute what my boss told me that's right yeah as opposed to solving the problem correct right so so then people become less engaged because they're just they're just there to do to follow to follow orders and what's bad about that is then information that is necessary for better decision-making doesn't happen because people as incentive is not for better decision-making right people's incentive is to oh okay my boss told me do that how well and how quickly can I do it that's it do you think there's a correlation to you know the level of quality of talent and how demotivated they get with top-down management like usually the what I've realized is that the more talented a person is their level of disillusionment when they hit that kind of top-down mindset without actually being able to air or voice their opinion effectively enough and guide the direction of whatever scope they're doing is even more cataclysmic for for great talent yeah I think so and look hey you're a new father right your new father and you know you have you have two daughters how you know how do you how would you approach like your kind of parenting style with respect to with respect to this right like I mean growing up I think we all were and and kids who probably question authority hmm right and and oftentimes you know again growing up in you know probably more traditional households questioning Authority was not you know something that was viewed positively and but then how did you feel in terms of you know the things that you did with respect to that authority right it was it was you never really kind of you felt oftentimes like you weren't listened to right like that and that oh you had all these ideas but then it just didn't it didn't matter right and you would imagine probably if you have less ideas that probably you'd be happier right I experienced that not only throughout my childhood my egg I got into trouble in high school a few times by by having being too argumentative like some of my ideas to my teachers but I I feel like in in the beginning stages of my professional life I was also so many ideas came to my mind that everyone just kind of dismissed because I had no track record or anything like that and I was just labeled a dreamer all the time right but if you know I think you're right that's that's exactly the the you know the concept of not being able to have agency or control over your thing when you know that you are capable that's the difference right there's people who are not confident enough in their capabilities and yeah sure they would like to be told what to do right that makes them feel more safe but the kind of talent that we have in go-jek as we recruited better and better people we quickly hit the wall with that very quickly we realized that these people why did we hire them in the first place if we're just gonna tell them what to do right and how did you feel right like when you were at these places where you work and you just weren't listening - right I mean you you've left I just got it done yeah and then I left yeah while right yeah it was fun it was good I learned a bunch of stuff but then I'm just I'm thinking what's next hmm I'm thinking what's next and it doesn't have to be me who's like more on the end of the entrepreneurial scale it can be anyone who just wants to have a sense of contribution yeah and feeling that loss of control by just having things happen to them instead of them driving the change that they want to see in their work is a fundamentally different experience of working because then you're you're really owning it right and gonna beat your there right but did you also know people who are totally fine with just the game heads down it's gonna do you know I'm gonna do whatever you know whatever some someone told me and and I think you also have smart people who kind of or smart people who also fall in that category and I think you know in a way I think we're almost we've we have a bias towards finding smart creative driven people but then at the time our structure was not appropriate for you know those types of but yes but that's the difference right a bottom-up innovation approach actually favors people potential to become leaders as opposed to people's just potential as an individual contributor right because the whole point about having a sustainable long-term business is having a critical mass of people who can lead and who can drive things forward in and at all leadership levels whether it's team leader product leader department leader you name it like you you need these self driven individuals who are proactively finding the solution as opposed to simply executing it and the reason why is because as the company grows the level of complexity is so high the level of interdependence E is so high is that you have to be a creative problem solver in order to be an effective leader and you also have to be a very effective collaborator to do that I would agree with you except for the individual contributor part of it I think I think not everyone necessarily has to be a leader of like large groups or large teams you could still be somebody who's driving you know something executing an idea as an individual contributor that you know is also given a lot of leeway to kind of you know have ambitious goals I think yeah I agree with you but I I do think that for me I apply this to everyone not just people who are leading people I also think you know if you're an engineer a single individual contributor engineer trying to crack you know a very hard problem when you know somebody gives you hey this is the strategy for our group this is a strategy for our team being given that freedom to even as an individual contributor to kind of figure it out and actually deliver something great I think is definitely the kind of people that you know we try and have more and more of and we'd kind of people that we want to appreciate or because of through this policy I yeah I get it you can you can either be a people leader mm-hmm but you can also be a thought leader that's right but at the end of the day you have to be leaders right even if you're not leading a team you need to have thought leadership and what's the difference between thought leadership and just being really good at execution thought leadership means actually thinking on your own two feet and being able to come up with solutions that are better than whatever your boss told you yeah that should be like a fundamental kind of mechanism that happens the more that people below you come up with better ideas the more you know you're on the right path yeah yeah right it's it's not how quickly they get it done yeah which used to be RIT reah yep back in the day yep I think also a lot of one of the reasons why this is one is challenging is because a lot of times people people leaders then might feel insecure right it's like okay if I am the leader here I am the most senior person within this group of other people and I am not the one who's coming up with the ideas and I am not the one that's getting credit for making the right calls or coming up with the right ideas then what is my value mm-hmm right I think I think I think there's also often times that question from from a lot of folks who then you know might be resistant towards towards this idea it inherently kind of challenges maybe you know traditional notions of what somebody in a leadership position should be doing yeah it's it's it's very hard that's something that people consistently come up against like why am I here leading all these people if they can do a better job than me mmm right but you are managing those people who are better than you so your value you should be secure in the value that you are actually laying the groundwork for those people to succeed by doing things that are better than you so what do you think then is the in in this framework right what do you think is then the a leader like what what what what should they do and and what would you give them credit for in within the context of being a bottom-up facilitating leader right well it's hard it also depends on what department what function what rate of urgency there is so there's all these factors but overall as a general characteristic some of the things that even I struggle with by the way so I'm not saying I am I'm very good at this as well first is actually coming up with problems instead of solutions that's a really simple but very difficult thing to achieve creating a verbal communication ritual sharing a problem and resisting sharing the solution until all parties have spoken in your team right it's a very smart very small nuance but yet critical like instead of going up Oh Kevin we've got this major issue with allocation and this one city I need you to immediately pump up incentives right now by this percent so that we can hit a VCR of this percent or a reliability rate of the next percent instead going look I've noticed that we have an acute allocation some by prop or we have an acute supply problem in this specific geography can you please take a look at it and come up with some solutions on what you think we should do here right so that very act of just Deline you might have solutions in your head and that's fine you can then bring your solution once their solutions have come up you can then bring your solutions to the table and then that's a free and open transparent marketplace of it-- but if you anchor your solution first and they're constantly going to be having to beat your solution and and have the confidence and they have to have the confidence to actually try to beat your solution which is a huge mental hurdle given that you're their boss when they actually did have a solution but they're like if I say this now you know am I gonna make him feel like his solution isn't the best yes right so I think that would be my one that's the ritual of share the problem ask them for a solution and then throw even if you do have an opinion on the solution throw it after mmm those issues have been that's I think the first thing I think the second thing is making sure that you talk those leaders talk to their subordinates during the planning and okay our setting okay our objectives key results it's basically another word for target setting and goal setting that process not involving your one downs in that process is basically the first it's like the original sin okay yeah it's very hard to recover after that if you if you just set from top down that that direction without actually taking in the feedback and inputs of each of those key leads under you I think that's where the beginning of the end you know like that's nuts where you start losing credibility you start losing trust and you start losing motivation so I think and the planning process what's your idea of an ideal bottom up leader I think for me I agree with everything that you said and on top of that I think that the ideal bottom up leaders should be providing the platform for their direct reports or for the people that work under them to shine for me I always find it a non ideal when I work with somebody who I know has several direct reports and if I work closely with them if I never kind of you know if I never really hear either directly from or at least a mention of you know somebody else's really significant contribution to the team that's a flag for me because to me that implies that either you know a the team that the team's ideas are being suppressed it could also mean that as a as a leader they want to take all the all the credit for themselves and that inherently blocks bottom up because it means that then the people under this person can rise up because then they never get the credit that they deserve that's super interesting I have I have the inverse of that as the red flag hmm so when I go and say hey can you do this and even me the the leader immediately says yeah yeah yeah we can do that mmm-maybe so what I've realized is that the best bottom up leaders will never do that right the best bottom up leaders like hold on let me talk to my team first Yeah right just that that little towel mmm and that's that's a really good reflection of a that's a bottom up leader no I agree over there yeah yeah they will first check or or let me consult this person first or that has something to do there I'm gonna check it out first so it's funny it's almost the same thing it's just a different way of that red flag yeah yeah well when for you it's when you know you're trying to when you're trying to raise something right for me it's when they're trying to raise something to me right when they're trying to raise something to me I would like to hear you know I would like to hear credit given to others and I think the good sign of a bottom-up leader is one that is secure and knowing that their job is to provide the platform and distill from their team you know the best ideas and rather than being the guy or the girl who has you know who has all the ideas and I think this is why it's a challenge though because oftentimes I find that the incentive to do that isn't always there because if I'm trying to impress somebody and again - this is like I think actually quite thematic to this discussion which is that if I'm trying to impress somebody the shortest path towards that is to show them that I came up with these ideas I did all of that right right and so if you kind of focus too much on the what and the output here which is just like all me then the easiest thing to do is just from its for me to always make it look like you know I am the person who has all the ideas in the execution to my boss and I think for most bosses it's easy to fall into that trap as well right like if you have somebody who reports you who's always doing well who comes up with great ideas all the time the natural inclination is like for you to say oh this person is great right right so that's why the challenge I think is also kind of getting the incentives right and I think that's kind of something that even today I think us as an organization is still grab we're still grappling with yeah I can't tell you how many times maybe I've given some positive feedback like oh man this guy has just been crushing it yeah this person's been crushing it got everything done on time and really over over achieved on on the targets and was constantly being a yes-man throughout that whole process almost like the majority of the time when I go and accidentally stumble in one of their teammates somewhere else over lunch coffee or something like that and I ask hey how you're doing and that's what the waterfall comes out yeah it's been horrible I don't know exactly why I'm doing all this stuff I don't know I haven't gone home since like two days and it just it just shows that there there are some of these like you know it's eevr achiever showers or you know leaders that yes they do they hit those milestones but at what cost yep right and to the point of what's sustainable right exactly and that's that's and that's what doesn't create that long-term success factor because then some of the best people under that person will just go mm-hmm they will just leave or they will burn out or do some chemo but then where is the trade off with speed Kevin I mean it's all nice and easy to say this but when you need to execute a Lightspeed when you need to like we said before run during this marathon you have to sprint during this marathon where do you draw the balance of this bottom-up innovation is a sacrifice really I think a lot of people are a lot of listeners are wondering ladies it really worth it is it really like what do you get okay because we know the risks you slow down there might be some misalignment and what teams are doing versus each other so let's not talk about how to mitigate the risk but what's the payoff at the end let's talk about that because if the payoff is not worth it then why are we even doing this yeah I think so a few things that I've seen payoff wise I've seen I've seen some teams or individuals who have an extremely high sense of ownership where if something goes wrong they are the first person or the first team to kind of jump on to jump on the problem you find out about the problem and you know that actually they've been working at it for a while already you find out you know people who you know are putting in longer hours and not say that you know we should promote necessary longer hours but people who without being asked are putting in the additional hours and I think the ownership comes because it's your idea right right it's your baby yeah it's it's your idea you thought about this whole thing you pitch this whole thing you convince somebody that this is the right path and now you're doing it right so so for you know if you kind of went through that whole thing you know that this is this is your idea this is your baby and and that when things don't when things don't go wrong sir when things don't go right or when things go wrong you don't blame other people right you don't say oh that's not my problem you say yeah that's you know I'm gonna I'm gonna solve it and and because you also understand the decision making that goes into into that you are also much better at problem solving in right because you understand the whole logic of like why you've made these decisions you understand what the objective was you understand the key results that you were trying to achieve and so you know the ownership is also it's not just about kind of like being you know the first on the ground if you know there are issues but it's also about having the best ideas on the solutions because this is your thing and that ownership everyone just keeps talking about ownership like it's the greatest thing alive but what what about ownership makes sustainably successful teams and I think it is the link between ownership and your team's agility and resilience to unknown problems once because most problems are unknown problems you only show you only figure that out later right you think you can plan for all scenarios and then something out of the blue comes from left field and when that happens the amount of cognitive load to this the the higher leader has to put to solve maybe put that fire out or to address that issue is so high when the entire context and level of ownership of that team is not achieved so it's when the hits the fan yeah that actually this concept of ownership and bottom-up innovation shines and in a company that's rapidly growing is always hitting the fan yes I mean on a daily basis she's hitting the fan on a hard way yeah and I think ultimately there's only three ways you can really kind of motivate a team to truly go above and beyond what is obviously that that ownership the other is fear and the third is some material incentive right and and obviously you know fear is air and money fear and money are great for short term oh they're great they're fantastic for sure - yes Astra's yeah for a long term yeah and so you know I think again you keep on going back to this theme of that this is better for a longer term because you know how else are you going to keep people motivated in an environment that's changing so rapidly when unexpected things happen all the time if not through kind of that high level of ownership and so let's talk a little bit about I want to talk a little bit about what we actually did right in the organization to pay tribute to this bottom-up innovation I think one of the biggest things that we did in 2019 was in 2018 we had like I don't know something like 25 key results yeah for the company you know that we wanted the whole company to achieve and what we did in 2019 is that we reduced it to seven basically and instead of creating very very prescriptive key results we just combined those seven metrics with some strategic themes three of which were discussing today in this podcast but that enabled this okay our setting process to be much more bottom-up I'm not saying perfectly bad enough but that's what a lot of people to choose how they're going to contribute to a much more limited set of metrics and gave them the freedom at every level to not have a cascaded target down no but they rationalize how they're going to help achieve that note right though as opposed to we set these very prescriptive targets and goals and then each then the groups take it on and then the subgroups take it on and then it's like a cascading process so this is one of the most fascinating discoveries that I had is that actually cascading kpi's some some people we used to call it management consultant and another colleague of API and during those days in McKinsey I believe that everything was about perfect alignment so you have to have targets at the top and everything has to be me see the middle layer has to contribute to the top layer the lower layer has the contribution the middle layer and that is actually you run into huge amounts of problems cascading targets that way instead of creating flexibility within each of the teams to determine how they want to decide and which ones they want to decide to contribute instead of just getting cascaded like a math formula yeah and also their will they will decide to do things that you might question like they might not be directly linked to these things to these specific metrics but at the same time are important you know to to those themes and to those teams and those can also be sources of insight as to maybe these are other things that we should consider focusing on maybe during the next quarter or the next half these are when like these are when problems that we didn't realize were problems a suddenly surfaced right again so we didn't know that this team that's suffering on the ground because of this problem they decide like okay we're gonna tackle this yes right and and as leadership we had no idea that this is such a big problem yeah and so and so for the next cycle if this is if this actually is a systemic problem across the whole company or across multiple different teams then we can decide to tackle it together as a group right but but without that process we wouldn't have known yeah because they're closer to the problems yeah they just had a way or a means to communicate through bottom up right then we're able even leaders become gain far greater visibility and transparency into what's happening on the ground really and we did this right in our in our recent kind of okay are setting exercise instead of you know us as cofounders kind of just challenging targets etc what we did was we invited all the groups together so that peers could challenge and review and we had a whole section of how they can help the issues that they can help with for other groups and and and became you instantly saw the energy in the room whereby it wasn't just leaders telling oh I like that I don't like this I like that there were real people contributing solutions to the problems of each of the individual groups and that kind of peer rating system peer a city benefits feedback is so much more powerful and led to so many better points than what we could have probably put up with for sure right and that was the that was the payoff in my mind that's a short-term Pam I just got a hint of how taking a step back and managing this process between very talented people could produce better results yeah better results and a little part of me is a little sad right it's a little sad because because it's like I used to deliver it was good results but when realizing at a certain scale when a leader realizes you just can't you cannot compete with the collective creativity of your teams right you cannot compete with that brainpower and a lot of leaders can't let that go and we're all so much further from the problem hey I think this is a good segue to the other theme yep which is around building these bridges build bridges break walls yeah I think this was you know this was this was an interesting one because intuitively of course do you agree like oh yeah of course we should foster collaboration of course we should get teams to align with each other but you know why do you think that this was something that was especially worthwhile to call out and I think more importantly why did you think that this was this is something that is actually different than just kind of just saying like hey guys collaborating right like what what what does this mean like what are but what should be we be willing to sacrifice in order to kind of achieve this in order to achieve building better bridge building better bridges I think in many ways we have to sacrifice the concept of overly number one overly rewarding teams for the achievements of their own team only instead of the bigger group or the bigger company for that reason like moving is one you know there's there's there's a fine line between celebrating a team success and creating competitive pressure yeah to achieve things that are only great for that team Joe elsewhere yeah and the inverse part is to create an incentive or a at least a cultural incentive to help out other teams so breaking down silos there's a payoff to it right there is a cultural payoff in an organization for helping another group out or another team out even though it doesn't directly fall under yours but we we took some forcing met some really really interesting policy changes from processes that we took forth as a result of this we didn't just say you know build bridges break walls and then not back it up by anything right we actually forced groups to share their key results right like a pretty significant percentage requirement minimum - that must be shared with another group right and we made the requirement that product groups must share with other product groups and then functional groups must share with other functional groups and there was a minimum requirement yeah not only did we do that we also created a minimum requirement of budgetary spend between product groups - I think very very radical requirements that in some ways jump start or force or jump start the the collaborative effort of the organization and you saw that even in our in our core product group session where everyone was like typing questions and challenges online it was very dynamic so you could see immediately when you have to share targets together and you have to share budget together powerful stuff happens yeah very very powerful stuff happens so so you have to back it up you can't just you can't just throw it out there it's not a it's not just a value like a core value it is an actual you know trade-offs that you have to make and some of the trade-offs you were asking about the trade-offs what's the risk of doing it things like that well some of the risk is you actually slow down some of the key initiatives because you realize that other teams require you sacrifice a little bit of your ego in a team in exchange for helping out a partner group or a buddy right elsewhere right but without that requirement to share the key results then you'll never get credit for it so a lot of companies and organizations try to tell their teams you must collaborate more collaborative but they don't create the goal-setting incentive with which to achieve that yeah I think this is true for well I think a lot of the things that we we say actually I don't think when you when you talk about it and at a high level right I think most smart modern people will agree that these are right things to do like I think maybe bottom-up innovation is a very specific one but you know I think if you asked like oh we should foster an environment where everyone in the team contributes right like like everyone will agree that yes absolutely we should do that and everyone will agree that it's it is the right thing to have teams collaborate right how many times have you heard either a consultant or someone saying oh we're breaking down silos yeah yeah it's like the favorite catch word yeah oh yeah we really love innovation yeah oh yeah we're all about that yeah all the time but it's how I shave how far you willing to go I kind of make that happen I think is really kind of the the the marker of you know whether or not you know companies and individuals are serious about this I think that's very important to to codify it and it seems kind of like I don't know almost administrative in a way but I think those details of like oh this is infused in the way we do performance management this is infused in the way we do goal-setting this is infused in how we run meetings and Cadence's I think that that part is I think the next step of really kind of instituting these philosophies that generally sound good and I think you know we're only kind of in that first layer but you know I really do hope that you know as a company that we can you know go to the next layer and the next layer and then we'll see what that means but I think we really have to be almost obsessed with like infusing that and in different parts of the company I guess processes if you will and if you connect the first theme of bottom-up innovation to the second theme that we just discussed about building bridges and breaking walls right so there is a massive risk in encouraging bottom-up innovation if disparate teams are not communicating and talking to each other and aligning what to do in that bottom-up innovation because if you do not solve the communication and siloed approach of teams at the same time that you attacked bottom-up innovation will exacerbate the silo problem that's right all right if you if you work on only one side of this and only the bottom-up innovation and you don't crack the communication and alignment issues and the collaboration issues then you are potentially worse off because you're creating completely self servant goals that are bottom-up but unfortunately may not help the greater goal the organization so you need that forcing mechanism like me I agree and then it is it is a it is a it is a tenuous balance and I think in some ways right I think I think those two actually you know are necessary for for the other right mmm I think just forcing just saying that hey collaborate more without it being bottom-up I think probably makes top-down worse right like if you just say okay everyone just has to work together and this is what its gonna look like right I think I think actually these two parts of or these two themes actually almost go ahead and add in that sense and so the the role of leadership there and I think there's a point to be made about when you're talking about building bridges and breaking walls forcing that from a top-down approach also is not very effective not like leaders need to reframe their mind and I think in large scale organizations think about themselves as a facilitator role within that and manage the process set the ground rules here's the rules of the game here the parameters here's the targets you got to share here's the budgets you got to share here are the forms by which you have to meet up and then let the magic happen there with facilitation yeah right and I think that that was that was that's been a big transition point for me to actually force myself to move there and then we come to the third kind of a strategic theme would just be the best at what matters oh yeah this was good about focus and prioritization so we've cracked it we need to first bottom-up innovation we need to tap into the collective creativity and power of our teams number two we need to ensure that they are building bridges and breaking walls so that they are communication communicating with each other that collaborating with each other they're forming self self-generated alignment and finally when we're talking about what exactly they're doing being the best at what matters means if you're the best at everything you're the best at nothing this has been a contentious kind of battle we've had you know different form he's ever informed get out you know you've constantly been and I think you've been doing it rightfully reminding me to not spread ourselves way too thin but really determine what truly matters and refocus and redeploy resources on that and this can be a very powerful thing when combined with bottom-up innovation because what truly matters to the user you want the person closest to the user or to the problem to actually decide what truly matters so I think I think there's a there's a big risk though here in terms of deciding what what truly matters so this theme is about focus yeah you're just can't do everything this is one thing that I think all companies including ourselves are consistently terrible at consistently this is the hardest thing to do to focus on what truly matters because what it does require is for you to sacrifice yes something I think for especially for companies that are seeing good growth I think it's particularly problematic because oh yeah when things are bad you have to yes yeah yeah yeah when you know when things are what things are good you're growing well you know investors want to talk to you everyone you know media's writing about look at all this amazing stuff that I can do anything yes of course I was like oh yeah okay we got this we got this and I think I think it's easy to kind of get into that into that mode and yeah I and yeah the sacrifices I think are what's hard right I think you know in a world where you know company is growing in a world where there is competitive pressure obviously in many different you know from many different angles in the business I think there is the temptation to say oh we have to win every single thing right I think I think I think that's that's that's dangerous right that's dangerous because it doesn't allow it doesn't allow for that focus that that can then really build something that's sustainably advantageous or sustainably great because you know when you're juggling and I think we're all guilty of this in many many ways around thinking that hey we can do it all as a company as leadership like I know that right now for example I think me personally you know I have probably I don't know like 10 to 12 like pretty major things that I am either directly or indirectly responsible for like in a in a in a pretty intensive way right not on a light touch way and I know that you know out of those things like I'm probably doing like four or five of those things pretty well pretty okay and the others are probably not doing a great job and I'm probably disappointing people I probably dropping balls and and I think you know really kind of taking a step back and thinking like what what are the things that really matter and and there's a lot of different ways to define what really matters like what's urgent what is high leverage sometimes this is dangerous but you know what you're good at but I think really having that mindset of being thinking about you know what are the things that really matter and what are the things that don't matter even though I kind of feel like I should be doing them right because cuz it's easy to say oh those things don't matter and it's easy right but but I think in reality you have to push yourself up to the point where every single one of the no decisions are hard right easy easy things to say no to don't count and they don't count it's got to be painful not to say and this is why I think we made all of our product and group heads kind of stand up even before they were sharing their objectives and key results right we told them to first tell us the first part of their presentation is tell us what you're sacrificing yeah yeah that's what you want to be the best at yeah tell us why it matters and tell us what you're gonna be sacrificing yeah and explicitly calling it out in front of all the other product repents yeah right and that's a very powerful statement yeah and getting feedback from people about that and some people were more courageous than this than others you know what I thought that was a very powerful moment where let's not talk about what we're gonna do yeah let's talk about what we're not good together and that's okay let's have these explicit conversations yeah and and and to your point I thought was really interesting this whole notion about this it's all fair and good until you get until you select the wrong thing yeah to be the best head yeah it's all fun and games until you get that decision wrong and here are some common mistakes that I've seen and here's where it gets really tricky some of the mistakes are like people choosing what they want to be the best that at what they're currently good at yeah yeah that does not necessarily mean like for the user for example but that's the most important thing for that it's just that they have their team happens to do that really well yeah but in the bigger scheme of things it's not what truly matters to their end user yeah and you see this in product teams all the time right oh like you know we have this feature that you know we've been working on you know for a long time we've invested so much time and effort and look at all these great things that this thing can do now but does it I mean do people actually care I mean you know I think I think I mean how entertaining you know specific things that we've done there's definitely been a few big things that we've done we've invested a lot of time and effort in and I think they're actually pretty good in and of themselves but you know whether or not they're really impactful whether or not they're really worth the effort available it's debatable yeah and this is where also gets tricky he's like what you want to be the best at what truly matters must be passion agnostic interesting this is the hard part because a lot of people decide that some people may decide what they want to be the best that is something they're deeply passionate about instead of what their end user is deeply passionate about yes yeah yeah yeah and therein lies the scientific and very rational approach is extremely important and the research and the data is very important as well yeah with which to decide what to be the best at because it's not just to be the best that it's something you can leapfrog either competition or your estate you can be the best at something that truly matters yeah to that end user right and so having that empathy is key instead of having a more kind of inward-looking part about what your team is obsessed with or passionate about and that's hard to do you know decoupling what truly matters to the user to what you you're so fired up about oh I love this feature it's gonna mean whatever we're gonna do our best at yeah and that just doesn't work yeah right then it requires actually you know strangely enough it does require a certain level of you know dispassion dispassionate yes miss passions passion in this there's passionately that is a way yes yeah it was just if you just kind of have to really view things from you know a problem or customer or user first I think it's very easy to fall in love with you know your solutions and your your ideas or the things that you know you you particularly kind of good at or you've what you've been doing for for a while and I think that that part is yeah I agree with you that that is that is probably one of the the harder ones where you can actually because it's hard to say that oh this thing that you know I'm really fired up about it this thing that I've been doing for a while actually doesn't really matter mmm-hmm like that's a really hard thing to say for a firfer I would say anyone AB which is super hard being in a tech company with running like hundreds of experiments at the same time by default things have to fail yeah the majority of things have to fail yeah right so if you're if you if you don't have that mental resilience to know that your baby could be irrelevant yeah then you know it's kind of hard being in a tech company yeah yeah yeah you have to constantly experiment by default that means you have to fail most of the time yeah okay yeah and I think that kind of like ties us all together so you know I love what you said about trade-offs gotta hurt for it to be meaningful yeah yeah they have to be painful for it to mean something the organization so if what you're saying what you're sacrificing is not painful hmm then I think that there's something wrong there that you should only assess again what is it that you are not what is it again that you should be sacrificing even more so yeah and I think that so just to remind the three axioms we short-term gains a lot of people talk about it short-term benefits short-term success but the difference between short-term success and long-term success is that willingness and I think courage to believe that those unsexy slower more painful investments you put into your organization's will ultimately lead to far longer successful run and in a much more sustainable way yeah and it's it's hard it's it's hard and it's harder than anything any kind of fast-paced industry right it's it's because saying that oh we're going to slow down things it's almost against the the philosophy of the industry blitzscaling yeah yeah no totally totally and and I think that's why it but it's also like you know obviously you know in the grand scheme of things you know if you look at like how fast companies are executing or and are moving we're definitely you know still in the fast range of the spectrum right if you kind of look at the universe of companies but I do think that you know there comes a point where a little bit more a deliberation and thoughtfulness is is required and I think out of at least four you know all the companies that I admire like I've seen this be a pretty consistent theme where you know I'm always shocked when I hear the amount of effort and depth a lot of field leaders I've seen in many other companies put into there people put in to their organization that don't have like payoffs this week or next month or might be has to be something like our next quarter you know this is gonna be great and I'm always really amazed at you know companies that will say like okay this is one thing we're really going to nail right and and and and and kind of see that every new check-in like every year it's still the thing that they really want to know that that level of conviction of saying like oh we're gonna be great at this and then seeing them execute it you know month by month year by year and seeing like oh and then so I think you know I mean I can name a company I guess in this case which was actually one of our investors Google you know when they a few years ago said they wanted to be an AI first company it was like okay that sounds cool right but I recently I think over maybe over the past year I've recently been totally hooked on YouTube I never used to be a regular YouTube visitor like usually I just saw one like people linked me a video and I watched it and then I just bounced right same exact thing right feel exactly the same I don't know why suddenly yeah yeah I'm so much more the recommendations are just amazing right you're just like I just spent like an hour and a half of my life just like in a YouTube hole yeah it's like a learning like hub right yeah either that or entertainment but for either reason it just keeps guessing what I want to do thanks and so you see like that payoff right like they want to be the best at recommendations what artificial yeah I've read I've read multiple articles about how you know they've they've cracked through AI the YouTube recommendation engine and you know as users this is now a huge advantage like if you imagine trying to start another just general video sharing platform thing like creates these moats yeah massive moments yeah and and I like yeah I can't I mean obviously there's multiple video sharing kind of a companies being started with niches but I really think that you know YouTube have such a large advantage I think in the general video space I really don't see how they could get challenged in the near term and it's amazing that you kind of see a company publicly say that oh we're gonna do this and then suddenly like a product just like leaps you know and in terms of just quality you know about like a year or two years after that well did I think I think we've covered a lot of ground here we've run out of time but you know we could go on for our as well this is a great topic yeah we can go on for hours about this but you know with with all great things I think we've come to two kind of conclusions long-term success takes a lot of sacrifice in the short term a lot of painful activities that don't deliver fruits that are obvious that are more painful than beneficial in the short run but you need to trust the investment process because it constantly compounds to the future and I think it's much easier for companies to ignore this fact but if you get that right in the beginning there's your probability of success I think coming in year three four five and then ten years is exponentially greater so make those painful moves early yeah and unsuccessful later yeah awesome cool thanks a lot keV until next time see ya cool [Music] hey guys hope you enjoy the podcast if you liked it please hit like subscribe and follow us on social media thanks so much for tuning in [Music]

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