The people on the team have the right tenure and expertise to have full ownership over their work, with as little need for external approval as possible.

Think about the most fulfilling work you’ve done during your career. What made the work special?

When we have control over day-to-day decisions, we feel connected to the output, which makes us work with purpose and gumption. Autonomy is one of the most important factors for engagement and meaning at work. Being dependent on external input or approval can block, distract, and even demoralize teams.

Autonomous teams move faster. By establishing decision rights, we enable autonomy and reduce the number of external dependencies. In some instances, certain decisions are not safe to try, in this instance, an approval process should be streamlined and used sparingly. Approval should help teams make decisions, gain alignment, and go forth and conquer with speed and agility.

At PepsiCo, the complexity of our structure and legacy habits mean that true autonomy is hard to achieve. For the time being, Indra still wants to approve the Super Bowl ad. Finance still controls how much money flows our way. However, we can work towards empowering our teams by making it clear which decisions they can and can’t make on their own, and actively trying to increase the former.