Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deliberate Action

I was just responding to an internal email thread at Gnip and the following came out. As I re-read it, I thought it might make a good blog post. Here it is.


One of the most valuable things we have is our deliberate, conscious, and directed trajectory. The approach we take to closing a prospect, conveying a message (internally or externally), or prioritizing a feature, is deeply thought out, and has been tuned over time. Most importantly, it's working!

For example. The board has been "on us" for years now to "go faster," "push harder," and to "take more risk." We listened to that feedback, rolled it into our overall operating plan and philosophy, and executed against *that,* as opposed to jerking our knees to the "go faster" message. The result? A phenomenal 2012. We continue to do this.

I think something we do exceedingly well as a management team is orchestration. Are there times when it feels slow? Yes. Would I rather have those challenges than those in which we're managing reactive behavior? Yes.

We begged borrowed and stole (metaphorically speaking on the "begged" and "stole" fronts), during the first half of Gnip's life, but, we haven't had to do that for awhile now. We have strong business underpinnings (from a customer/revenue standpoint, as well as management team). We have gotten to where we are via luck, and careful calculation (on the part of smart people who know how to calculate). There will always be moments when we need to grab the wheel and jerk it (e.g. if we realize we're approaching the edge of a cliff at the final second), but that is not how we lead, and that is not how we execute, on a day-to-day basis.

As we all come to terms with the task at hand (the need to "go faster" and "capture more" and "think bigger" and "take more risk"), we cannot forget where we've come from. We can move faster and take more risk without radically changing our management approach and style. We will do it by consciously steering the ship at the right times, and in the right places. The key to the long-game here is consistency in approach and behavior (not to be confused with consistency of personell; the team is going to change this year). We win by, channeling our enthusiasm, passion, drive, and direction, into prioritizing the things we want to accomplish, and letting the process and system we've created execute.

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