Nathan Tanner

High Performance Requires High Expectations

I joined DoorDash almost seven years ago. Two weeks in, I was confident that joining the company was a bad decision.

I had left a good, stable job because I wanted to work at a startup. I wanted to build. I wanted to create. I wanted to be at a fast-paced company. They say, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

In joining DoorDash, I got everything I wanted and more. Only I didn’t think I could handle it. I struggled to adjust to how quickly things moved. I was consistently pushed to my limits.

Each morning I’d wake up filled with anxiety, my stomach in knots. I had experienced imposter syndrome before, but this was so much more. The sheer volume of work was challenging, but it was also the pressure of executing. DoorDash demanded excellence and I felt a tremendous weight on my shoulders.

After 3-4 months, I adjusted to the fast pace and incredibly high expectations. I was tackling hard problems and growing quickly. The talent density was unmatched and I loved working closely with so many dedicated and driven teammates. I assumed all startups operated this way, but I’ve since found that’s just not the case.

I’ve learned that you can’t run a high-performing company without first having high expectations.

I’ve learned that in any organization, performance falls to the lowest acceptable standard, and the best leaders set a high bar and hold their team accountable to it.

The best leaders see unrealized potential in others and push them to be their best. They demand excellence. DoorDash did that for me, even though it was really hard.