January 3, 2020

Autonomy & Strategy

As I’ve returned to the marketing side of Inntopia, the one word that keeps coming up is autonomy. For a small team like ours, we can’t have every person involved in every stage of every task we ever hope to tackle.

Sounds easy, right? But pure autonomy breaks down pretty quickly.

For example, I don’t know our CRM tool or webinar tool very well. So if I need to get the word out about a piece of content I created or a webinar that’s coming up, I have to rely on Kim or Melissa or Pascale. The alternative is me learning how to do every possible thing under the sun and having the green light to do it. But if that’s the case, what’s the point of a team?

The question I kept coming to was this: at what stage does autonomy end and cooperation begin? I don’t know if I have the exact answer, but the way I’ve tried to make sense of it is this:

Autonomy needs to exist when it comes to deciding what to do. Delegation and cooperation begin once you start to actually do the work.

I’m reminded of a restaurant.

When the chef is coming up with the recipe, she doesn’t need – to use the cliche – every cook in the kitchen. She has the skill and experience and, by her title, authority to make that call. Having a dozen cooks all looking over her shoulder, recommending this spice or that temperature would make it impossible to get anything done. That’s not to say she wouldn’t ask for advice, but ultimate it’s her call.

But when it comes to serving up the meal? Suddenly the opposite is true. Without a kitchen full of cooks, there is no way they could serve all their customers.

In other words, informing a decision may be a team sport, but actually making the decision is not.

I feel like the same is true for our little team:

  • One person is over lead gen
  • One person is over top-of-funnel awareness
  • One person is over retention / client communications

We each need to have a autonomy to make decisions that we feel will move us closer to our objectives in each of those areas, but we also need to recognize that in order to send that email or spin up that webinar or publish that newsletter we’re gonna need some help.

It requires trust, it requires everyone to have a really clear north star, but I think it’s the right combination of autonomy and collaboration.

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Hi, I'm Gregg.

I'm a SaaS marketer and maker.


Never heard of me? All good, these days I don't chase influence as much as I do balance. By day I run marketing for Inntopia and evenings see me building SendView, but my happy place is playing in the mountains with my family.