Great leadership is a crucial ingredient in achieving the exponential growth every startup strives for.

Dilemma: execution vs redirecting

One thing that startup leaders often find difficult, is the expectation that you both:

  1. Ensure broad day-to-day results;
  2. Steer the company in a different direction when necessary.

At $Company, we try to reconcile this conflict with two different (but overlapping) leadership teams.

The Executive Team

  1. Contains 8-12 leaders from all key functional areas of the business;
  2. Meets weekly for 60-90 minutes
  3. Follows a strict agenda covering all performance targets of the business;
  4. Monitors, corrects and ensures delivery on key company targets;
  5. Ensures week-to-week focus on the most important priorities $Company has set for this year and quarter;
  6. Tries to remove or downplay any issues that can serve as distractions for delivery on these targets;
  7. Focuses on “doing things right”
  8. Can count “decisions communicated” as key output metric;
  9. Measures success by (1) its ability to deliver on targets (2) the ambition level of its targets when it sets them.
  10. Optimizes for alignment (⅔ consensus)

The Long-Range Planning Committee

  1. Contains 3-6 leaders and/or founders, seen as the most important bearers of $Company vision and culture. Most will but not everybody must also be a member of the Executive Team;
  2. Meets biweekly or monthly for 2-4 hours;
  3. Follows a loose agenda driven by persistently nagging opportunities and/or worries, “distracting topics”.
  4. Keeps questioning if $Company’s targets and achievement are the right ones to bring us closer to our long-term vision (Purpose, BHAG, Values)
  5. Prepares list of top 3 questions quarterly, to challenge the Executive Team on the priorities it will set for the next quarter and/or year.
  6. Takes deep dives into topics that may feel distracting but that have the opportunity to fundamentally alter the direction of the company;
  7. Focuses on “doing the right things”
  8. Can count “topics covered” as a key output metric, even when no decision has been made;
  9. Measures success by minimizing leadership crises: the ability to have thought through topics before they become urgent enough to turn into a crisis;
  10. Optimizes for diversity of perspective (challenge and learning), not decisions or alignment.