Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose

19 Oct, 2017

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Anyone who studies leadership will have come across Dan Pink and hopefully read his work. One book, Drive, is a well known masterpiece.

Succinctly and insightfully he’s shown for people to be happy and motivated they need to have autonomy, mastery and purpose.

But it’s a constant quest to provide the perfect environment for all three. Below are just a few of the ways we try for each point.

I want to find more ways to drive confidence and happiness in our team. I want people to make mistakes proudly as they iterate through the innovation journey and as the founders of IDEO put it, “stop trying and just do it”. Please take a look at my list and tell me what we should add.


  • Describe the problem: Most tech companies have become pretty good at describing the problems for development in the context of the user. We try our hardest to do this not only for each user story but the wider project and let the developer loose to find a solution.
  • Help with prioritisation: It can be easy to get lost in all the things that need to be done. Servant leadership and a good product manager (@Tammy!) aim to empower autonomy.
  • Collaborate: Autonomy doesn’t mean being left alone. We solve problems together and ask questions about other’s ideas to help with creativity rather and offer support and guidance.


  • Build the team, not just an individual: Each hire we make aims to add value in filling a need, but also bring skills into the company we can “knowledge share”.
  • Conferences: We send people to conferences or encourage online learning to promote a constant improvement environment.
  • Retrospectives: We hold regular retrospectives to review, discuss and improve.
  • Maintain a research focus: This is extremely important for our company — we want to always be a technology company, committed to research. We even partner with universities to focus always on research.
  • We’re honest: If someone needs to improve something we work with them to do it. Honesty is rare in many companies and we try to build the trust as quick as we can with every need team member so we can have an honest and creative environment without judgement or fear.


  • Constantly talk about the vision: Storytelling is awesome and alignment on the vision sets a common purpose.
  • Share: Communicating well and sharing each other’s work creates greater perspective and transparency on how everyone’s work comes together for a wider purpose.
  • Change: We truly want to change the industry we are in to a better way so we always look for ways we move forward that change and improve lives.

What other things should we try?



Cameron Mitchell
TrademarkVision COO