As many of you know, I don’t have a business degree, so I’m learning as I go. At 50+ employees, Treehouse is now at the phase where I have to build out the management structure and operations to allow it to become a big company.
The reason why I want the company to be large is because that will allow us to achieve our Mission of bringing affordable Technology education to people everywhere, in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world. We can’t help millions of people unless the company is big and operating efficiently.
As I said, I never went to Business school so I’m now hiring folks who know how to scale companies and build out operations. One of our newer Team Members is Mike Watson and he’s helping us do this.
The 90 Day Plan
One of the first things that Mike did is help us create a 90 Day Plan. This is a Google Spreadsheet that is shared among the Leadership Team. It’s a simple list of actions with priorities and the person responsible. Here’s how we created it:
- We wrote down our most important actions in the near term and gave them a priority of 1, 2 or 3.
- We assigned a point-person for each action.
- We grouped the actions by business area (B2B, Content, Growth, etc).
- We shared the doc with all the Leadership Team and asked for feedback.
- We refined the document
- We shared the document with the whole company
The key thing to note is that everything on the 90DP is an action. No goals or fuzzy items. Everything has to be an atomic action point. Several of them are “Research XYZ and then make decision” as you often don’t know which action should be taken until you investigate.
Running the 90DP
Now that we’ve finalized the 90DP, it won’t change for the next 90 days. That’s the power: The whole company can stay focused for 90 days and execute. Unless there’s a red-alert-emergency, we can all focus and get things done.
We meet once a month as a Leadership Team and review the 90DP. The person who was assigned to an action will report on progress and everyone is held accountable. We take minutes so that everyone is held accountable for the next monthly Leadership meeting.
A key to the monthly Leadership Meeting is that everyone is required to prepare materials and circulate them a full week before the meeting. This allows all the raw information exchange to happen before the meeting, thus allowing us to discuss (argue) the data and then decide on next actions.
Before we implemented the 90DP, the Leadership Meetings I ran where fairly useless. We just regurgitated facts on what each Team was doing instead of discussing strategy, holding each other accountable and then deciding on next steps.
Letting Go …
One big goal of mine this year is to let go and let my Management Team run the company. Like most Founder CEOs I have a tendency to meddle and micro-manage.
Thankfully my Leadership Team was honest with me and told me this was becoming a problem, so I’m being proactive about fixing it and stepping back so they can make decisions and act without me being the bottleneck.
This is the awkward moment in every Founder’s life where they realize that they can’t directly affect anything the company does - it’s down to the smart people they hired to take the company and really make it fly.
I’m excited because I know we have the right people on the Team to kick ass and conquer the world :)
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