How To Execute With Autonomy

By Patrick Thean

Daniel Pink, author of the best selling book Drive, shared his insights on how we are really motivated on 61MnRyNuIDLmore complex things. The key, he said, is that we are motivated or driven by 3 things: Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery.

A client, who is the CEO of a YPO type company, recently shared with me that one of his top executives did not like to provide him with the regular reporting of status on smaller tasks leading up to the main goal. He resisted the monotonous reporting of status and wanted the autonomy to deliver on the main goal. At first my client was a little bothered by this. But over time, this executive delivered well repeatedly on the main goals. This executive enjoyed and insisted on having the autonomy to deliver on complex and important goals.

This is great! Yet many of us might be wondering how to inspect what we expect so that we can avoid getting blindsided. And is this abdication (bad) or delegation (good)? 

One way to do this well is to work with the executive on agreeing what the Main Thing is, agree on a personal Critical Number, and have him forecast the outcome based on the Critical Number versus being focused on the past status. The key here is focusing on the future with the executive by focusing on the forecast versus the past status. This creates the kind of future-based discussions that allow you to provide autonomy and inspect what you expect.


Patrick Thean


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