What can we learn from how Nvidia's founder runs his company

What can we learn from how Nvidia’s founder runs his company

Who hasn’t heard of chipmaker Nvidia? Known for its top-of-the-line graphics processing units – a crucial component for gaming, AI and data science applications – the company’s shares have lit up the investment world, rising nine-fold since the end of 2022. At the helm is its founder-CEO Jensen Huang, whose unorthodox methods are key to the recent successes of the tech giant.

Jensen’s management philosophy: project-centric, not hierarchy-driven

Nvidia is currently hovering between just above and just below Microsoft as the world’s most valuable, or second most valuable company, making Jensen the 11th richest person in the world. The Taiwanese-born billionaire started his career as an engineer at the semiconductor and AI pioneer LSI Logic.

Jensen’s engineering background became the foundation for his unique brand of leadership. His approach primarily focuses on projects, prioritising them over traditional management hierarchies. Jensen built Nvidia’s organisation and culture around this concept, allowing him to get immediate access to the information he needs and quickly work with his teams to figure out solutions to certain problems. 

This project-focused leadership empowered Nvidia’s teams with agility and transparency that, in Jensen’s words, allowed the company to move very fast and very purposefully. This approach did not just keep the company afloat in its most challenging years; it fostered innovation that made the company into the success that it is today. 

Lessons for business leaders

The way Jensen has run Nvidia all these years certainly challenges the longstanding tradition of management hierarchies. Here’s what business leaders can learn from Jensen’s project-centric approach:

Empower project teams: For Jensen, project teams are top priority, and the rest of the organisation is designed to support their work. This means facilitating smooth collaboration between different departments, allowing leaders to practically dismantle barriers and create efficient, cross-functional teams. 

Focus on outcomes, not titles: While organisational hierarchies keep a company in order, what matters in the end is the results. Give credit to the individuals directly responsible for your company’s wins, and you will learn to value expertise – the foundation to a thriving meritocratic company culture. 

Embrace agility and speed: A project-focused approach practically eliminates the red tape associated with traditional management hierarchies. This is done through streamlined approval processes and allowing teams to make decisions within clearly defined limits. 

Foster innovation and calculated risks: Stopping at empowering your project teams will not guarantee success. Like Jensen, you should bet on the future by encouraging experimentation that lets teams take calculated risks on innovation. 

Prioritise clear communication and accountability: Project-centric leadership can only work when transparency and accountability are present. It pays that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities within a project. 

Conclusion

Business leaders have a lot to learn from Jensen; understanding his project centred approach is a good start. Emulating his leadership style may be a shift worth taking, as we’ve witnessed from Nvidia’s success.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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