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To Grow Faster, Hit Pause, and Ask These Questions from Stripe COO

First Round Review
First Round Review
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COO of Stripe Claire Hughes Johnson shares a list of questions companies should ask themselves as they head into rapid growth.

1. Have we documented our operating principles?

  • Document core tenets describing the way you work.
  • Stripe has three operating principles: users first, think rigorously, and trust and amplify.
  • Bake your operating principles into both your hiring and performance review processes to make them useful and keep them top of mind.

2. What structure is going to help us achieve our goals?

  • The need for formal management accompanies growth.
  • Every company needs to decide on a structure that fits their specific goals.
  • Critical to choosing the right structure is creating ways you will change and evolve it.

3. Who has been successful at our company so far?

  • Take time to evaluate the kinds of people you have hired.
  • The people who scale with your company are the ones who anticipate what they need to learn now in order to excel at what their role will become in six months.
  • Hire more people who fit the mold of the people who not only have the right skills, but who are having a good time, too.

4. Do we have a 5-year plan?

  • A long-term plan should not be long (think three to five brief paragraphs).
  • Planning should cultivate and instill a shared sense of purpose trained on one outcome.
  • The plan you publish should be stored somewhere central where it can be easily referenced.

5. Do we have a way to measure the employee experience?

  • Every scaling company needs mechanisms in place to gauge and respond to employee satisfaction levels.
  • Stripe surveys its workforce every six months and analyzes the feedback.
  • The best managers make it their highest priority to connect the work their team is doing to the big, ultimate goals the company is working toward.

6. Are we decentralizing decision making?

  • To train people at a tech company, demonstrate how you want work to be done, have them do it themselves, then have them teach new people who are being onboarded what they have learned.
  • Start categorizing the common decisions teams have to make, so you can create rules and methods around how to make them.
  • Stripe publishes an internal framework to help everyone make decisions based on impact and reversibility.
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