A Napkin Sketch Is Enough

In a brainstorming exercise with my group at the altMBA, I expected to dive deep into the work, tuning our understanding of business models while working under pressure to create as many ideas as possible in a short time. We did just that, relishing our creativity and ingenuity. Yet the most satisfying outcome wasn’t how … Continue reading A Napkin Sketch Is Enough

Flat Organizations: Not Reinventing Everything

Why a Flat Organizational Structure will Fail as You Grow is an insightful and thought-provoking study from Lighthouse, a software tool for managers. Keeping in mind when considering any decision that someone else — somewhere before — solved the same issue. From my personal workflow, to team processes and habits, all the up to key decisions on company structure. … Continue reading Flat Organizations: Not Reinventing Everything

Inclusive Design, Day 14/15: Diverse Teams Make Better Decisions

This is day 14 of 15 in a short series on inclusive design. If you missed any of the earlier posts, see day 1 here or view the full list. Inclusive and diverse teams make better, stronger teams — and these teams make better decisions. Because our work and thought patterns are influenced by our … Continue reading Inclusive Design, Day 14/15: Diverse Teams Make Better Decisions

Maker Versus Manager

An oldie but goodie from Paul Graham: Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule. Posting this as a personal bookmark because it comes up often in conversations with new leads. When I talk to people new to management I highlight the mindset change from "just you" to "the team." The context of an outward mindset is important — … Continue reading Maker Versus Manager

Mary Meeker: The Best Decisions Are Often Made by Diverse Groups of People

A gem from Mary Meeker I found when reading the 2017 Internet Trends report published by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB). Via John.

The Unscripted Dance

A mental model that keeps coming up for me is "the unscripted dance." This captures the idea of going into a situation knowing you can rely on your skills to adapt to the other party. Even without knowing ahead. Even without preparing for each move, each step, or each word you'll use. In a work … Continue reading The Unscripted Dance

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

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

A Conversation Shines the Light

When you need to find common ground, a conversation shines the light. Talking with Group A: “Oh, they’ll [the "others" in Group B] never go for that.” “Have you asked them yet?” “Well, no. We tried to get a meeting and they declined.” "What about just quickly posting your questions?" "Oh, OK." Later, talking to … Continue reading A Conversation Shines the Light

Leadership Gap: Scaling Presence With Distributed Teams

In my practice as a team lead at Automattic I keep coming back to the challenge of scale. Scaling up both in scope and in size, taking on larger projects and bigger teams with more overhead and management. Going from a small team paying attention to one product all the way to a group of teams … Continue reading Leadership Gap: Scaling Presence With Distributed Teams