By Seth Kaufman
Andy Bromberg, the founder and CEO of Eco, a high-tech financial services firm that aims to consolidate and improve the fragmented world of personal finance and consumer rewards, has a way with words when it comes to instilling corporate culture.
One of the expectations for his team at Eco is "Be 20% wrong."
"You should accept and expect that from your perspective, your colleagues are going to do things wrong 20% of the time, and from your colleagues' perspective, you are going to do things wrong 20% of the time, and that is okay."
No, the co-founder of Coinlist isn't encouraging mistakes. He's aiming to accelerate productivity.
"We want to enable people to act autonomously and drive forward and make decisions that they believe are correct. Building consensus and getting buy-in makes a lot of sense for some decisions, but not every decision. Sometimes the cost of building consensus is actually much higher than the cost of just making the decision and getting it wrong.
“It's really empowering for people to feel that they're being trusted to go and make decisions and be wrong sometimes."
Bromberg also embraces what he calls "Hell Yes" culture—a hiring principle that holds there are only two choices when deciding on a job candidate. According to Bromberg, if a potential hire generates comments such as: "I liked them. We need to fill the role. We might as well hire them"—there is only one appropriate take-away: "At Eco, that's a no. That is not a "Hell Yes" That’s a yes. But it's not a "Hell Yes." And so we do not hire those people."
For more of Bromberg's fascinating insights on leadership – and the future of reimagined banking, read the full transcript of Bromberg's conversation with Vanguard's Ken Stone. Or listen to the podcast or watch the video.
These thoughts are taken from a dialogue conducted on Jan 13, 2023. Participants may have changed companies and/or titles since then.