Yesterday marks 2 years at Twitter for me, which is an exciting milestone. It feels like the time has flown by, and simultaneously it feels like my early experiences here were a lifetime ago. I began reflecting on the various and vast changes that I’ve witnessed in my short time here, and on the way we manage change and hypergrowth.
What kinds of changes have we experienced? Without being too specific to Twitter, startups grow. Management teams change (not quite so much in my case). The vision of the product redirects. New features get added. Most noticeably, the staff increases many-fold. We move into new offices, adopt new traditions and think about monetizing in different ways. Luckily, the snacks pervade.
Navigating that change can be challenging because every day you come into a different set of circumstances and face a different set of challenges with new people. The easiest way to diffuse the change management is to incorporate new additions as quickly as possible and get them acclimated to the environment right away. Then they, too, become the arbiters of the culture and owners of tasks that will help propel the company faster.
A great piece of advice I learned early on here was to innovate quickly and be decisive. I’m not in a product-building role. And I didn’t even start here all that early (this was a fairly large company when I joined). But to navigate the change successfully you, have to be able to do both of these things well. Innovating quickly means being scrappy: sharing your thoughts and ideas, and then rolling up your sleeves and actually executing on them. Going the extra mile to do the analysis, make the sale, build the deck. Being decisive means things get done more swiftly. Indecision can lead to stalling, but these companies grow and march onward whether or not your decision has been made. From my experience, it’s better to be able to march forward with everyone than lag behind.
And finally, roll with it. There are inevitably bumps, reroutes or even mistakes. We hire the wrong person, conduct the wrong study, pitch the wrong idea to the wrong company. Given how quickly these companies grow, those misdirections get smoothed over and course-corrected pretty quickly. But you have to be malleable to turn around when the time comes.
Corporate structural change used to intimidate me, but I’ve come to terms with the idea that no two days will be the same. That’s part of the excitement. Here’s to more of managing the change in years to come.