Barely Manage to Lead

How Geoff Wilson, founding partner of 352 Inc., ditched the management rule book and led his company to success by barely managing at all.


Barely Manage is a leadership approach that empowers your employees to lead themselves. By creating small, cohesive teams and turning managers into servant leaders, 352 has seen greater innovation, quality of work, customer satisfaction and company culture. Once you stop managing and start leading, you can see the same results.

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The Barely Manage Story

A few years ago, Geoff Wilson was in a tough spot.

His digital agency, 352 Inc., was growing quickly but was barely managing to keep up with the workload. Projects were disorganized. Employee morale was low. Customers were frustrated. Geoff needed to do something fast. He came to a realization: the less you manage, the more you lead.

Geoff and his leadership team restructured the agency into cross-functional teams and turned managers into servant leaders. The change dramatically increased innovation, quality, customer satisfaction and employee morale - almost overnight.

Geoff believes that every organization can find similar results when its leaders learn to barely manage at all.

The Barely Managing to Lead Strategy

Dedicated Teams

Employees achieve the best results when working within small, cohesive teams dedicated to a single client at a time. The team – working together on a single project – can achieve a whole that is far greater than what individuals could achieve alone.

Singular Focus

All team members are fully focused together on the same project from beginning to end. Great outcomes are undermined by splitting focus and effort across several projects, and engaged team members will add value to every step of the project, even when a task is outside their expertise.

Short Bursts

Work is planned in short sprints – typically 1 or 2 weeks – which encourages rapid progress. Teams must be free to make their own commitments about what can be achieved during each development cycle. This offers total transparency with the client, and accountability is self-created in its most beautiful, natural form.

Innovate, Iterate

By planning work in short sprints, there are natural points in the project for the team to reprioritize with their client or stakeholder. By working in this manner, innovative, disruptive ideas are encouraged and incorporated into the project rather than being shunned because they don’t fit the project plan.

Clients at Center

Hypercommunication – daily contact between the client or stakeholder and every member of the team – fosters closer collaboration, shows progress and solicits feedback by demonstrating work early and often. This ensures quality outcomes and enduring relationships.

About Geoff

Geoff started 352 Inc. from his dorm room at the University of Florida more than 15 years ago. He is passionate about growing businesses and coaching entrepreneurs. Read More about Geoff