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How do the most successful entrepreneurs build their companies? Here’s what six titans told investor and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman when he interviewed them for his podcast, Masters of Scale.
1. Make time for decisions.
“The most important thing to do is to have quick decisions. We ultimately adopted a model of a staff meeting on Monday, a business meeting on Wednesday and a product meeting on Friday. Everybody knew which meeting the decisions were made at. And so as long as you could wait a week, you knew you’d get a hearing on your deal.”
— Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Alphabet
2. Set a destination, not a path.
“You want to have an aligned mission. Rather than tell people to ‘march four steps,’ you want to tell them, ‘We’re heading there; get there as quickly as you can.’ They’re each going to get there their own way — the fastest, the most efficient way.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
3. Hire your future bosses.
“I’ve adopted this hiring rule: You should never hire someone to work for you unless you would work for them in an alternate universe. There are all these things that Sheryl [Sandberg] is much stronger at than me. And that makes me better and makes Facebook better. I am not afraid or threatened by that. I value that.”
— Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, Facebook
Related: The Key to Hiring the Best Employees
4. Stay simple and focused.
“I like to say, ‘Start small, think big, scale fast.’ I started really small, with one product. I got feedback. I learned what was working and what wasn’t working in a few boutiques in my town. And then I called Neiman Marcus.”
— Sara Blakely, founder, Spanx
5. Prioritize people.
“There are a thousand things to know to start a company, but there are only two things that matter: Build a product people love and hire amazing people. I’d spend more time on those and less time worrying about incremental ideas of traction, on raising money, etc.”
— Brian Chesky, cofounder and CEO, Airbnb
6. Make your mission matter.
“We have these six values — courage, inspiration, respect, judgment, wellness and loyalty — that we entrench in every single thing we do. In our semiannual reviews, you’re rated against your adherence to these values.”
—Tristan Walker, founder and CEO, Walker & Company Brands