You see James on the 8th-floor cafeteria. You haven’t seen him in weeks which is fine because while you’ve worked together for years, your paths are currently not intersecting. “Hey, James.” “Hey! Long-time, I was just thinking about you.” “Really, why?” “Randy just called you out in the launch meeting. He said the project was… More

Everything Breaks

We’re going to play a really simple and really dumb game. I’ll explain the setup and the rules: Two one-person ‘teams.’ On a flat, boring surface, you draw two parallel three feet long white lines which are fifty feet apart. Teams choose one home baseline. The other line marks the opposing team’s home base. Team… More

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