Empower your experts

I love despair.com’s line “none of us is as dumb as all of us”.

A big part of startup success is tied to the quality of people and how well they work together.  That’s why I’m always sad when I see situations where a business has hired someone really good, and then refuses to empower them as an expert.  Occasionally this happens with a micro-managing executive who has to control every decision, but often it is due to an attempt to manage by consensus.

The trouble with consensus is that everybody has opinions, but the best decision isn’t always made by the majority or by the people who are most aggressive in a meeting.

It doesn’t matter whether your team is arguing about SEO, a database scalability approach, user interface design, a game reward mechanism, or some other topic — if you’ve hired someone who’s an expert on a topic, back them up and let them be an expert.  Yes, ask questions and let others express opinions in an effort to get to the best decision, but don’t let decision making be a slave to the group.

I also believe in A/B testing and data-driven iteration, but I just wanted to stop and highlight a simple point that can make your business faster and your high-quality employees much happier.

Hire great people, and make sure you empower them to be awesome.