Search for Hidden Talent Treasures

Organizations looking for outside talent pay an extraordinary amount of attention to resumes. […] Once people are inside, it’s almost as if some of kind of reset button is pressed: The details of their backgrounds seem to get dumped onto a far-off slag heap, and they become known only for what they do at the new organization. I call this phenomenon resumenesia — a malady … [ Read more ]

Create a “How to Use Me” Guide

Jay Desai has FOMU. As a first-time founder and CEO of health technology startup PatientPing, he’s got a healthy fear of messing up. This anxiety especially bubbles to the surface when it has to do with his team — now over 100 employees — and particularly the seven who report directly to him. He’s seen too many immensely talented and productive teams stall because of … [ Read more ]

Learning to Say No: The MSPOT

The single best tool I have found to help unlearn the yes-man ways of a startup CEO is a single-page document we call our MSPOT. With it, we articulate our Mission, the constituencies we Serve, the Plays we’re going to run this year, the plays we are going to Omit, and how we will Track our progress.

The most painful portion of that document are the … [ Read more ]

Gamification of the Enterprise

In the summer of 2011, Facebook announced it would use the social performance platform Rypple (now part of Salesforce.com) for internal reviews and communications.  Rypple allows employees to create and compete in challenges, receive recognition from colleagues, see what others are working on, and find where needed skills may exist within an organization. But Rypple is not a game. It doesn’t even look like a … [ Read more ]

Build a Fact-Base and Search for Strategic Options

By determining where, how, and why value is created and destroyed within each business unit, managers can typically uncover opportunities to double the value of their business units within two to three years. To accomplish this feat, management must identify which customer segments are most profitable, which product and service features are most important to meeting the needs of customers in these segments, and which … [ Read more ]

Intermittent Reinforcement is More Effective

Intermittent “extras” are more powerful than constant bonuses that are predictable. Say that a manager wants to reward employees. A good way to do it is with a lottery system. You could set it up so one would have to maintain some level of performance to be eligible for the lottery. The hope of entering the lottery will keep workers going at a higher level … [ Read more ]

Getting a Fresh Look at Your Products and Services

Every three months, a group of people from the organization—younger people, junior people, but never the same people—sits down and looks at one segment of the company’s products, or services, or process or policies with a question: If we didn’t do this already, would we go into it the way we are now? Every four or five years, that company has systematically abandoned or at … [ Read more ]

A Better Employee Suggestions System

AT&T has built a digital infrastructure enabling all employee suggestions to be logged online. A small, dedicated team regularly reads and triages the suggestions, sending each promising one to a designated leader or expert who is obligated to consider it and respond. Employees can see the progress of each suggestion and log comments. Other companies have developed systems that enable employees to “vote up” or … [ Read more ]

Weekly Coffee Break with the CEO

We started a weekly coffee break with our CEO where six people get to sign up to informally discuss a specific topic with her. Not only does this give employees valuable face time with her, but it’s also been fantastic for Julia because it’s a new way for her to talk to a broader cross-section of the team and get their thoughts on topics that … [ Read more ]

Provide Regular Guidance for Managers

We’ve rolled out a weekly(ish) email for leaders at Eventbrite that summarizes all the things they need to be thinking about in terms of managing and messaging to their team. We break it down into a few sections: things to know, things to do, things to share. It sounds simple, but let’s be real, leaders are an important and expensive investment, so you want to … [ Read more ]

Make Your Remote Team Members First-Class Citizens

If a benefit, perk or experience is created for your in-office team members, find a way to create parity for those who aren’t in person. That means mailing items given to your in-office team to remote workers — or if you cover lunch for your in-office team, send your remote team a gift card or stipend for food delivery. […] If your leadership team has … [ Read more ]

Encourage Learning Experiments

Ongoing learning and experimenting are key to personal and corporate growth. Whether this is formal or informal, it should be encouraged throughout the organization. One way to do so is to regularly ask employees what they have learned recently and how they have attempted to apply that learning in their work. Then share these experiences with the rest of the organization. Be sure to share … [ Read more ]

Create a “Manager’s Letter”

Peter Drucker’s thirty-year-old concept of creating a “manager’s letter” probably remains the best performance-management technique to use with senior executives. Each executive writes an annual letter to her superior, spelling out the objectives of her own job and those of the superior’s job as she sees them. She then sets down the performance standards she believes are being applied to her. She lists the goals … [ Read more ]

External Talent Needs Management, Too

The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]

Have Senior Management Work in Customer Service at Least One Day a Year

Kaizen and the whole process of continuous improvement was, and continues to be, a powerful tool at Amazon. That’s partly because for a long time Jeff Bezos has had all of senior management work in customer service at least one day a year. This allowed executives to see events on the front line, to understand the problems that came up, and to help find solutions. … [ Read more ]

Ban Email

The pursuit of full transparency is behind one of GitLab’s most countercultural rules: a total ban on internal emails. For example, employees seeking information or help are required to request it through the appropriate Slack channel, which may eventually trigger changes to the employee handbook or another key document. The intent is to crystallize and capture the pooled expertise of the collective, rather than letting … [ Read more ]

Private-Equity Exercise

A useful exercise is to think about the value agenda as though a private-equity firm had just bought your company. What would you be working on if you were trying to triple your value in five years? Answering that question in a really finite way, with dollar values next to ideas and initiatives, is a really good thing to do.

The Energy Audit

Behavior changes, even those that represent clear benefits for employees, require active reinforcement — including accountability mechanisms and human champions. A management consulting team leader, worried about exhaustion on her teams, began encouraging more rest. But when the sincere urging hardly affected the entrenched behavior, she established “the energy audit.” Every workday she asked members of her team to email or text one item they were … [ Read more ]

How Effective Is Your Current Message?

Product-market fit is all about finding a product that solves a problem and a message that resonates with your target customers. Evaluate internally and externally whether your current message is consistent and effective.

Internal Evaluation: How consistent is your sales team in communicating product value?

The following exercise is a great way to get a quick understanding where your sales team stands. Send each of your sales … [ Read more ]

Assign New Employees an Early Win

Consider giving new recruits a small project they can accomplish during their first month on the job. Have them all spend five minutes presenting whatever it is they did at the next All Hands following their first day. It’s an opportunity to make immediate impact and introduce themselves to everyone in a positive light. It’ll also build camaraderie between folks who started within the same … [ Read more ]