What does it really take to unleash a company’s growth potential and effect meaningful change?
Snowflake Chairman and CEO Frank Slootman recently published a new book entitled ” Amp it Up: Leading hypergrowth by raising expectations, increasing urgency and increasing intensity. The book outlines Slootman’s framework for leaders who want to transform their organizations and achieve unstoppable, exponential growth.
I spoke to Slootman about his top tips for leaders and his hopes for the future.
Find your mission
Before you can deliver solutions, Slootman says companies need to focus on refining their mission. To be successful, companies need a big and far-reaching, but not impossible, mission. It has to be clear and not about money or the achievement of quarterly milestones.
Instead of focusing on 20 or even 5 different things, leaders should narrow their focus and commit to one thing. This will help build a natural momentum and keep frustration down as you can see real progress.
“If you could only do one thing, what would it be?” he asks. “Any task can be accomplished if you are willing to put everything else aside and make that your sole goal. Then the seas will part for you, and that feeling is so extraordinarily strong.”
Set a high bar
Slootman advises companies to expect excellence and create a “culture of challenge” within their organizations. In his view, attracting and retaining drivers is important, not passengers. Drivers are people who get satisfaction from making things happen; They have a strong sense of personal responsibility for their projects and teams and place high demands on themselves and others. On the contrary, the passengers provide little or no input and are happy to be carried away by the dynamics of the company.
You can overcome mediocrity by consistently asking employees to perform at a very high level – which will actually help your employees succeed as well.
For example, in your meetings, you could spend 5 minutes talking about it is work on a project and spend 55 minutes talking about what is not works – and that’s fine. People want to be pushed beyond the status quo, so cultivating a mindset of continuous improvement will keep self-starters ambitious and capable.
Create an electrifying atmosphere
To drive execution and keep that bar as high as possible, Slootman also advises taking a forward-thinking approach.
“What’s the best way for us to visualize what we’re going to do here and then work our way back to the present?” he asks. “How could we get there? what could we do Then we will have a bold, inspiring and energizing perspective on what we want to do and how to bridge the gap between where we are now and where we are in the future.”
Ideally, you want your employees to be incredibly excited about what your company is working on. Instead of struggling through the day and feeling like going home and having a cocktail until 4:30 p.m., you want people to feel energized throughout the day because they’re so excited about what they’re doing work and what they achieve.
“It’s just a mindset. You won’t be exhausted at the end of the day because you’ll go home with a smile on your face instead of being bored and tired. It’s a much better way to get by today. If you can bring that to an organization, you become unbeatable.”
Slootman also recommends the mantra of going straight, where anyone can break with organizational hierarchies (which to them represent an org chart and nothing else) and step across silos to speak directly to anyone to solve problems. For Slootman, execution is king and the mentality that everyone thinks of the company as a whole is a winning formula.
The bull market return?
Slootman is optimistic about the future prospects for the global economy and the tremendous potential for companies to drive growth.
While acknowledging the current economic downturn, he doesn’t think it will last long.
“People want to do things,” he says. “They want to achieve something. Eventually people will get done with being negative and they will turn around and get optimistic again, guaranteed. Our natural tendency as humans is to be very optimistic about things. We just have to get out of the way.”
You can watch my full conversation with Frank Slootman here:
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