Wonderful video by Dick Costolo (Twitter's CEO) you simply have to watch this weekend. Trying to be liked is probably one of the hardest mistake to avoid as a leader. Avoiding the truth can lead to greater damage and resentment on both sides. I remember someone asked Seth Godin how he manage to write so often, and his response blew my mind: "I write like I talk". He's not trying to be liked, or polite, or even right. There is no conflict. Watch the video, share it with your management team, and ask yourself if you're leading others with the same conviction as you talk.
How do you hire people who could scale the company beyond their 3-5 teammates? Tom Tunguz writes about hiring your "team builders", and I believe it's a very important transition you should be well prepared for. Ideally, you would want to spot potential team builders internally, so you could prepare them for the transition in advance. Hiring from inside isn't the goal, but it's a great indicator for your company's DNA, forward-thinking and hiring quality. This post is a great reminder - make sure you've got the right people in place, and always be prepared for growth. There will never be a "quiet time" for you to handle it later.
A must read from Tim O'Reilly, on his lessons learned growing O'Reilly into the amazing company it is today. I loved most his openness, talking about Cash and Control – "Financial discipline matters. It really matters." – As employees and owners, we often forget the context in which we operate in. We're so in-love with our vision, product and technology, that we lose our business focus. Distributing ownership is a great way to avoid mental overload. Your teammates will understand the company's constraints, how decisions are made, what is your expectations of them and why innovation is so crucial for staying relevant.
Zach Holman with a great presentation on how GitHub retains talent. His tip on "Let people float between jobs" (internally) is a great advice for keeping employees happy and motivated without losing them to other companies. There are plenty of excuses why it cannot or shouldn't be done. It requires a lot of confidence, clear vision and measureable KPIs, but it also distinguished great companies from mediocre ones. Just as much as you need to innovate in your business, you need to innovate in your team building process. After all, we are what we do, not what we say.
Kris Gale is one of the most innovative leaders I know of in terms of process and scaling a company. His willingness to act upon these beliefs are what makes Yammer so agile. It should remind us to seek for better than the local maxima. So many times in my life I heard "it would never work here" or "it applies only to small startups". People like Kris prove that the best people follow their intuition and adjust by experimenting, rather than rejecting the unknown and optimizing the irrelevant. Great read!
Reading and acting by the words of Ryan Tomayko will make you a better manager and leader. You cannot afford to miss it. "I show people how to plan, build, and ship a product together. Essentially, I try to create little mini-managers, each responsible for managing a single person: their self."
David Jackson (CEO of Seeking Alpha) shares a painful personal story on the negative impact of a poorly structured Performance Review. I highly recommend reading his questions lists (link inside the post) and keep a copy of that for your next Performance Review with your teammates. Key lesson from David's post: there are no shortcuts in defining measureable goals and clear expectations. If you'll wait for your annual Performance Review to define it, you already failed.