Make Yourself Redundant is Job One!
So, you’re a fast growing startup, and you have eager new recruits joining you, and they ask what you want them to do.
I could have explained to people joining Naked Bus, the processes and protocols (OK, I’m sure someone did that); I could have told them, how many customers to serve or how many marketing campaigns to run; I could have told them how to design a timetable, or yield-manage prices (OK, I told them that as well).
But what I really told them was this:
“Your job here is to make yourself redundant. We are engineering a business that is continually reducing the input per passenger carried. So, figure out how to spend more of your time figuring out how to spend less of your time working in the business.”
Because each manual piece of work we eliminate, each improvement to conversion rate has a lasting benefit – it lowers our overheads, and increases our revenue.
Of course, with the business growing so fast, people didn’t achieve that goal. People’s roles changed, expanded and contracted but there was always something else to do, another challenge to solve.
Because really, what I meant was this:
“Bake agility into everything you do; your job is not to do the same thing you did yesterday but to find new ways to improve the business.”
And when you give people an audacious challenge, they respond.
Because we don’t really want to do the same stuff we did yesterday, last week. We want to change things and overcome new challenges.