Employee Leadership = Company Growth
Everyone wants to make an impact on the world we live in. We’re no different at Next Jump - our company BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to make the world a better place. Our ‘WHY’ is to ‘do the little things that allow others to do the great things they’re meant to do’. We have approximately 50 different initiatives currently running at Next Jump designed to build up our characters and allow us to obtain a higher sense of purpose, by helping others. But we recognise that to be able to do that, we have to spend time, money and resources in investing in our team.
Our WHY behind why we concentrate on cultural initiatives has been covered in depth. From increased revenue for the business, inspiring new actions and helping Non Profit organisations grow, to bettering public speaking skills and having healthier employees, it’s hard to deny the benefits these can bring into our world. However, one thing we haven’t touched on is HOW we manage to run these initiatives (by investing time, money and resource), and keep our company running so strongly at the same time.
It all comes down to leadership.
I’m not talking about how a select few members in the company direct others - I’m talking about growing leaders out of everyone; creating a ‘leader-leader’ framework which empowers them to make decisions and collectively move the business forward. The more employees who become leaders in our company, the faster we can grow as a business.
At Next Jump, our top leadership team is 21 members strong. Called MV21, this team is responsible for two major things. 1) To lead the direction of the company, “steering our ship through stormy seas” and 2) To grow more leaders in the company. The “MV” part of the team name stands for “Martha’s Vineyard,” the location the team travels to for a week long offsite every year. One of our investors has a property there, which sleeps 21 people, hence “21” leaders became Next Jump tradition.
The criteria to be selected as part of the MV21 Team are simple. MV21 members should: - Take ownership and responsibility of their own actions and products - Build systems and products that impact both short and long term revenue - Be role models in their focus of “Better Me” - they constantly practice deliberate growth - Be role models in their focus of “Better You” - they should be active leaders in giving back by coaching other Next Jumpers and having empathy with clients & users
What’s different about MV21 compared to most other company leadership teams is that it’s reviewed each year, and the entire team is picked through a bottom up, peer-nominated approach. In doing so, every employee is empowered, and more likely to follow the leadership team that they choose – you can’t directly choose who the CEO/CTO/CofS of your company is, but, in this instance, you can choose who your leadership team will be.
MV21 in Practice
Having so many leaders in our top team, who all come from different areas of the business, and are empowered to make companywide decisions, means we can push the business forward at unmatched speeds. The team all work as one unit towards our common goal, but attack the problem from all different sides (they’re all different people with different experiences after all!). In doing so, ideas are generated and executed faster, issues are solved quicker, and revenue comes in sooner. This, in turn, then allows us to invest that revenue back into our employees and grow even more NxJumpers into leaders to push our business forward. It’s a continuous cycle.
Recently, our CEO set us a simple goal - how can we take the company to the next level and grow exponentially? Within days of this request, 11 new projects had ignited, all coming from MV21 members and aspiring young leaders alike. Projects ranged from mass automation to heavily increase content on our site, to deeper integrations with our merchant partners for travel, fashion and tickets, and even going as far as global expansion, with plans to launch in 200 different countries within a month (!). None of these projects were CEO driven, but already, 6 of them have been given the green light to go ahead.
What will come out of the projects is unknown - but at least we’ll be able to test them all fast, iterate like hell, and quickly analyse which of them are working, and which can grow the company quickly in the coming year. It’s the benefit of investing in all employees’ personal growth and creating leaders out of everyone. It’s the result of the Next Jump leader-leader mindset.