The Founder’s Feed: 10 Leadership Principles of Dodo

The Founder’s Feed: 10 Leadership Principles of Dodo

22 January 2019

Fyodor Ovchinnikov

Dodo Pizza CEO

Fyodor Ovchinnikov

I’ve created a “founder’s channel” in our corporate Slack where I will write about our company principles and structure and gather feedback from my colleagues. Based on these notes, we will write a comprehensive memorandum on our organization and paradigm. Some of these notes will be published here as well. My first article is about Dodo’s general leadership principles.

What do I mean by that? Well, as far as I’m concerned, these are the key points of our philosophy on which our company leaders should act. I’ve spent a lot of time weighing my requirements and expectations, as well as our practice and experience. I expect our leaders to adhere to these ten principles at all times. They are as follows:

1. Ownership. A leader is the owner of the product and business. That means leaders personally accept and share responsibility for the product and its future in all its aspects. They do not work simply in accordance with instructions but answer for the whole product. It’s important for them personally. They never say, “It’s not my problem.” They plan long-term because they are more concerned with the long-term perspectives of the product and business than with the short-term results. They are aware of their ownership. And this responsibility gives them freedom to make decisions regarding the product and business according to the strategy and values of the company.

2. Customers. Customers are our boss. We are fully focused on them. We build our business for them. Our work is meant for them. We honestly believe that our franchisees’ success makes up our own progress. We are truly client-oriented. In all aspects of our business, we’re obsessed with our customers’ satisfaction. Every team in our company has its customers; for instance, our HR team’s customers are our employees.

3. Strictness. We demand a lot of ourselves and each other. We always set the bar as high as possible. We are never satisfied. We appreciate results, we congratulate our colleagues, but we always know that everything can be done even better. Complacency is a pathway to degradation.

4. Common sense. Our principle is, “no bullshit.” Common sense is king, and it’s always the first thing we think about. Even if somebody has invented rules and processes before us, we always check them against common sense. Rules can become obsolete, common sense, never. And if rules and processes conflict with common sense, we fall back on the “no bullshit” approach.

5. Limitations. Limitations spark solutions. They make you invent new things. We consciously put ourselves in the situations of limited resources. Then we do something, and somebody says, “Wait, you could do that?” We are not afraid to think outside the box, and sometimes we ignore industry experience. It doesn’t mean that we don’t use ready-made solutions though. We are practical. A Dodo leader always looks for an inventive solution, not a resource-demanding one. Limitations also mean frugality. We always want to achieve more with less resources.

6. Action. Action is better than inaction. A leader acts. No research will tell you what to do in real life, but practice tells all.

Instead of a thousand discussions, act. We act fearlessly, but carefully, we don’t risk it all and take small steps towards the unknown.

7. Data. Insights and decision-making are based on data. A leader thinks and runs his business scientifically; he analyzes a situation and makes a decision trying to avoid emotional and cognitive bias.

8. Changes. A leader is the originator of changes. Relying on data and insights, he learns to see the future in the present and changes things in spite of human inertia and conservatism. We are paranoid. We always think about tomorrow.

9. Human growth. Leaders help their teams to grow. They are strict with their teams, they care about them, and that’s what makes people grow for real. A leader is the owner of the product, and so he or she always keeps in mind that sooner or later somebody else will become the next leader.

10. Openness. Leaders are truly open. They are open to criticism. They are open to different opinions. Dodo leaders are not afraid to be seen as weak by admitting their errors.


I'd like to hear your feedback/opinions. Reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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