Autonomy & Strategy

January 3, 2020

This is part of a weekly journal I'm keeping about my day job running marketing at Inntopia.

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.

More updates from my day job journal:
A Different Style
June 12, 2020
Tough Times
June 8, 2020
Complexity vs Disorganization
May 29, 2020
Fewer Things: Part II
May 24, 2020
Foot on the Gas
May 15, 2020
Smart, Simple Retargeting
May 8, 2020
Go Bigger
May 1, 2020
Zizzer-Zoof Seeds
April 24, 2020
A Simple Goal
April 17, 2020
Coming Together (Again)
April 11, 2020
Goggles for Docs
April 3, 2020
Pausing Work
March 27, 2020
Pausing Marketing
March 20, 2020
Come Together
March 13, 2020
Moving the Needle
March 6, 2020
Fewer Things, Done Better
February 28, 2020
Marketing / Product
February 21, 2020
February 15, 2020
Things I Don’t
February 7, 2020
Practice, Practice, Practice
January 31, 2020
January 24, 2020
Validating the Message
January 17, 2020
A Different Kind of Story
January 10, 2020
Autonomy & Strategy
January 3, 2020
A Big Year
December 31, 2019

Hi, I'm Gregg.

I'm a marketer, maker, and long walk taker.


By day I run marketing for resort CRM / ecommerce provider, Inntopia. After the kids go to bed my laptop is my workshop where I'm building an email marketing tracking platform called SendView.