How Valve empowers each and every one of its employees

"Three people at the company can ship anything... the work gets better if you just check with a couple of people before you decide to push a button." - Greg Coomer, product designer at Valve.
"Three people at the company can ship anything."
- Greg Coomer, product designer at Valve, further explains how the company's hierarchy works. He adds, "The reason [we say] three people -- because really ... one person can ship anything -- [is because] the work gets better if you just check with a couple of people before you decide to push a button." There has been much discussion this year surrounding how Valve employees are managed, following the release of the company's new employee handbook. Coomer explained this week at the Seattle Interactive Conference exactly how anyone gets anything done when "nobody is checking your work." "The actual career growth in an environment like Valve's is incredibly accelerated and it is something that allows people to make progress exactly limited only by their own desire and ability," he explained. "When you spend time at Valve, you are enormously empowered and you grow a lot faster than if you were following a more traditional path." Coomer admitted that giving any employee the power to ship a Valve product by themself is "pretty daunting," but noted that "It can feel like an exercise and an experiment in cooperative leadership." He continued, "If we are going to hire these incredible people, and we are not going to put constraints on them, then we can't be afraid to let them actually take charge and ship. That takes a lot of courage and trust. "We are trying to learn to talk about it in a way that doesn't make us sound crazy," he added.

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