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 ]

Develop a Feedback River and System of Record

One of the first things I always do when joining a product team is to setup a feedback river — an open channel for anyone who is interested to get direct access to primary feedback on the product from across various channels. This has typically taken the form of an internal company mailing list in Gmail or Outlook, but I’ve also seen it as a feedback channel … [ Read more ]

Build an “Event Loop”

An event loop is a management checklist to run through periodically — every day, week and month. “The objective is to ensure you’re making time for the important activities that can get lost in the noise. The weekly and monthly ones are particularly tough because you cycle through less frequently, but they’re as important to make a habit.” Here’s an example of an event loop … [ Read more ]

Find — and Slash — Your Failure Rates

A failure rate is the number of times your company is unable to deliver on its promise. A failure rate is a shared operational metric for all businesses — not just security. “To get the failure rates for your company, find them in each department first. Every function will have a different failure rate to assess their work. For customer experience it’s how many times … [ Read more ]

Build Greater Agility Into Your Investment System

One multinational company built greater agility into its incentive system by keeping some investment funds in reserve until the middle of the year, then releasing them for successful initiatives requiring more resources in order to grow. In return for the funding, initiative leaders had to agree to raise their performance targets.

Increase Motivation and Productivity by Showing Your Employees the Positive Difference Their Work Makes

When clients, customers and other end users express feedback and appreciation, employees develop stronger beliefs in the impact and value of their work. Interaction also increases empathy for customers, even when the interaction is virtual.

Action Steps:

  1. Identify groups of people who benefit from your team’s work but have never shared their feedback, such as clients, customers, suppliers, or coworkers and managers from different divisions and departments.
  2. Arrange

[ Read more ]

Expressing Gratitude

When you say thank you, you increase your own happiness. I know of one executive who puts 10 pennies in his left pocket every morning. Every time he thanks someone or expresses gratitude, he moves a penny to his right pocket. He won’t go home until his left pocket is empty. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself to say positive things at work, … [ Read more ]