Management

Say the Hard Thing

The majority of people-related disasters I’ve created originate with my choice to not say the hard thing. On my short list of critical leadership skills, the ability to “say the hard thing” is right after “delegate until it hurts.” I didn’t give feedback when behavior was off because the person was new and I told… More

A Performance Question

At some point in your leadership career, you’ll need to care about performance management. My first bit of advice is the hardest: don’t ever let yourself think or say the words “performance management.” This is impossible, but aspirational. I will explain. My hard earned definition of performance management: a well-defined workflow that either leads to… More

How to Rands

Hi, welcome to the team. I’m so glad you are here at $COMPANY. It’s going to take a solid quarter to figure this place out. I understand the importance of first impressions, and I know you want to get a check in the win column, but this is a complex place full of equally complex… More

Meeting Blur

Wednesday afternoon. 3:30. Tanya and I walking through a complex political scenario involving Product and Engineering. Nothing devious. Just complex. Many moving parts. I’ve had some version of this conversation five times today. The whiteboard is my savior. I’m using it to draw a picture that anchors the core points of the situation. Those core… More

The Guard

The Old Guard is a set of humans who inhabit the early days of a start-up. As I’ve written about before, they define the culture in both obvious and non-obvious ways. Simply: the way they act and how they treat each other disproportionately affects the values of the company. The Old Guard gets to be… More

How to Build a Rumor

There’s a rumor wandering through your team right now. I’m sorry to report; it’s toxic. It’s the kind of rumor that contains so much interest and emotional energy that the humans can’t help repeat the rumor to each other. It’s about you, and it’s completely untrue. When you hear the rumor, the content will give… More