Check Your Fuel Gauges

Via McKinsey Quarterly Q1 2018, The four questions to ask when serving on a nonprofit board. Question 4 hit home for me as I ramp up my leadership IQ, "Do we have the right ‘fuel’ to drive our organization?" If you want to be an effective strategic leader, you can’t settle for a regimen of reading board … Continue reading Check Your Fuel Gauges

Agile Thinkers Know When a Best Practice Isn’t Best

I have a hiring heuristic called ABCDEF, which stands for: agility, brains, communication, drive, empathy and fit. For gatekeepers, I’ve found agility is the most important attribute. To test it, I ask them: ‘Tell me a best practice from your way of working.’ Then I ask: ‘Tell me a situation where that best practice would … Continue reading Agile Thinkers Know When a Best Practice Isn’t Best

Your Judgement Differentiates You

Keep learning. You've only touched the edge of the issue. Develop your judgement, which is essentially decision making under uncertainty. Pattern matching: keep growing your pattern matching database, and be very conscious about it. Heard on the a16z podcast for March 26, 2018 with Andy Rachleff, Wealthfront founder and CEO.

A Higher Standard

Last week I shared Amazon’s Leadership Principles, which includes "insist on the highest standards." Modeling the higher standard myself, and expecting it in others I work with. The concept of leaders training new leaders is on my mind a lot lately, because it's central to my role at Automattic and in the WordPress community. When looking … Continue reading A Higher Standard

Leader as Gardener, Not Chess Master, to Create the Space for Great Work

A frequent topic I talk to other leaders and managers about is how to influence change. This goes for anyone working in a team, of course — not just managers. I'd like to share how my ideas have evolved in the last year or so as I've scaled up my own role at Automattic across … Continue reading Leader as Gardener, Not Chess Master, to Create the Space for Great Work

Decision Journals and Framing Your Bets

Decision journals are designed to create a log of the decisions you've made and why you made them. To both capture a snapshot of your thinking at the start, then use the notes to improve your decision making process when you review it later. I first heard about decision journaling when Ian Stewart pointed to a … Continue reading Decision Journals and Framing Your Bets

The Real Reason People Won’t Change

I first heard the concept of uncovering competing commitments in a talk by Rich Sheridan of Menlo Innovations. On the topic of embracing change he pointed to the act of uncovering as a key activity when teams are blocked. And when addressing low performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs11ltxEWBM In the Q & A of this session I asked: When … Continue reading The Real Reason People Won’t Change

Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Still haven't found a better list than Amazon's Leadership Principles. Concise, clear, ambitious. A benchmark. Bookmarked this in 2017, now printed it (on paper!) for a weekly read and review. Here are my favorites. Bias for Action Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value … Continue reading Amazon’s Leadership Principles

A Product Lead is a Quality Driver

As my product lead role evolves I've started to see patterns emerge in my work across WordPress.com teams at Automattic. Two that keep coming up for me are focus on people, not technology and be a quality driver. I'd like to dig into the Quality Driver aspect in this post. A Quality Driver navigates all the … Continue reading A Product Lead is a Quality Driver

Inspired by Doug Glanville’s Triple Threat: Baseball, Journalism, and Social Justice

A modern-day baseball anthropologist, Doug Glanville is a former Major Leaguer whose activism and advocacy for social justice is as inspiring to me as his incredible talent as a writer and journalist. For years I've enjoyed his essays and reporting on sports, society, and life from The New York Times to ESPN to The Atlantic to … Continue reading Inspired by Doug Glanville’s Triple Threat: Baseball, Journalism, and Social Justice