The NY Times interviews Adam Nash, Chief of Wealthfront, an online financial management firm. Among other things, he discusses how to manage a group of smart people by using metrics.
Most people think that metrics are something you use to control employees. I take the complete opposite view. I think metrics are actually the way that you can harmonize a large number of people, whether it’s dozens or even thousands, so that when they’re on their own and making their own decisions, they can be empowered to make those decisions, because they know they’re aligned with the rest of the company.
I actually see that as a gift. People genuinely hate being micromanaged. They hate being second-guessed. If you, as a leader, can provide an environment where you can simply explain what your business is about, and give them a handful of measures to know how to evaluate things, all of a sudden hundreds of conversations will happen without you, with people reaching decisions that are better than the decisions that you would have come up with, because you don’t have their data and their expertise. I think that’s a great gift that leaders give their companies and organizations.
Everyone knows at Wealthfront that there are just a couple things that we have to do to make this business successful. I’ve got it down to two things — we have to acquire clients, and we have to delight them. And there are four metrics that the whole company tracks. They’re up on the wall, literally on a giant screen. And so you hear people debating different ideas, and they’ll say: “Well, wait, is this an idea to do A or is it to do B? How do we measure that?”
Posted by Lewis J. Saret, Co-General Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.