When it comes to running your day, it’s easy to get swept up in distractions and tasks that don’t move you forward. The average person loses up to three hours each day due to interruptions from phone calls, email and coworkers, according to a study by CareerBuilder.
Think of a prominent global-company CEO. Sir Martin Sorrell? Indra Nooyi? Elon Musk? Now, name the CFO and CMO. I bet you can’t. This is the challenge we face. Today's company leaders aren't just top-tier managers, they’re increasingly the only person we associate with the organisation.
As a leader, there are things you do every day. Some help—others, not so much.
People don’t work for companies; they work for people–namely, their bosses.
You’re probably familiar with the advice to not talk about politics at work. But the etiquette around participating in political activities outside of work can be a little more hazy.
When we discuss entrepreneurial success, we talk about the power of failure, the impact of smart time-management, and the importance of networking. But none of this matters if you don't have the right team by your side.
Ouch. But looking back, she was absolutely right. A few months after I left, I reflected back on my experiences under her leadership in comparison to the executive boss that came after her. This was a case of two polar-opposite leaders as different as the cultures they helped create.
Hiring is one of the most important things we face each day. The changing priorities and work habits of the workforce will continue to change dramatically into the future.
Kim Scott, co-founder of Candor, Inc., has built her career around a simple goal: Creating bullshit-free zones where people love their work and working together. She first tried it at her own software startup.
The best teachers all have at least one thing in common: they ask great questions. They ask questions that force students to move beyond simple answers, that test their reasoning, that spark curiosity, and that generate new insights.
Once a year, in his letter to Amazon shareholders, Jeff Bezos gives us all a glimpse into his business world view and management philosophy. This year’s version did not disappoint.
Are you a good leader? How do you know? In a startup culture that is obsessed with management by metrics, many founders struggle to answer this critical question about themselves. It’s tempting to measure leaders simply by the success of their businesses.
Yesterday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos published a new letter to shareholders, in which he refers to the company's timeline as "Day 1," allowing Amazon to continually move forward. What does Day 2 look like?
At the start of your career, chances are good that you’ll be hired primarily for your “hard skills”–the stuff you know that’s relevant for the job.
The image most people have of a straight-from-central-casting CEO is usually something like the following: An extroverted, charismatic, confident executive who climbed a mistake-free ladder to the top with a degree from an elite school.
Bezos was explaining how he goes about running the massive company Amazon has become — 341,000 employees — like a startup. That's a concept he calls Day 1.
Business leaders have many tasks to accomplish and prioritizing stuff can be hard. Yesterday I wrote about the need to “do fewer things, more often” in which I described that frenzied world we live in and why the shiny objects and distractions stop us from living up to our true potential.
Like most 25-year-olds, Julia Rozovsky wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She had worked at a consulting firm, but it wasn’t a good match. Then she became a researcher for two professors at Harvard, which was interesting but lonely. Maybe a big corporation would be a better fit.
Designers are frequently finding themselves in leadership roles as their craft holds greater sway on product performance. But too few designers are prepared for the transition. Management and scaling a team just aren’t taught in most design curricula.
A growing number of people feel like an old carton of milk, with an expiration date stamped on their wrinkled foreheads. One paradox of our time is that Baby Boomers enjoy better health than ever, remain young and stay in the workplace longer, but feel less and less relevant.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about building a successful business. Several analysts have predicted that Amazon will be the world's first company with a trillion-dollar valuation, and Bezos recently became the second-richest person on earth.
Kim Scott had one thing to do that day. She was going to price her product. It was the year 2000, she was the founder and CEO of Juice Software, and she had blocked off her whole morning to make this decision.
If you listen to management pundits, "collaboration" is all the rage. While the term is a bit fuzzy, what's usually meant by "collaboration" is 1) plenty of ad-hoc meetings and 2) open-plan offices that increase the likelihood that that such meetings take place.
The modern world is filled with constant distractions. Only those with maniacal focus on results and a willingness not to engage in every activity achieve extraordinary results. As executives we’re all seemingly accessible at any moment to anybody via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Text.
The research is clear: when we choose humble, unassuming people as our leaders, the world around us becomes a better place. Humble leaders improve the performance of a company in the long run because they create more collaborative environments.
Five years ago, Clover Health COO Wilson Keenan got his first job in product management. Before that, he was a line cook.
I once had a boss who would send me a series of two-word emails throughout the day, each one bearing the same message: “Call me.” Each time I received one of these emails, the hairs on the back of my neck would stiffen and my stomach would churn violently.
Too many CEOs fail at their jobs. From 2000 to 2013, 25% of the Fortune 500 chief executives who left their firms were forced out. One major reason is that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what boards of directors think makes for an ideal CEO and what actually leads to high performance.
David Loftesness and Alexander Grosse know a thing or two about hypergrowth. You might say they wrote the book on it.
If you asked the world’s most successful business leaders what it means to “be strategic,” how many different answers do you think you’d get? Consider this number: 115,800,000. It’s the number of unique links returned when I searched online for “strategic leadership.”
Teddy Roosevelt did it. Harry Truman did it. Want to be an outstanding leader? Keep a leadership journal. As part of my executive coaching work, one of the most effective tools I recommend that powers up the coaching process is a leadership journal.
Obsess over the customer. Resist proxies. Embrace powerful, external trends. And make high-quality and high-velocity decisions. These are some of the ways a company can avoid becoming a “Day 2” organization, according to Jeff Bezos.
Can you imagine working for someone in a high-level leadership role, perhaps a CEO, and suddenly it dawns on you: This person isn't leadership caliber. Your next thought may be, How in the world did he (or she) make it this far up the ladder?
Even for the most gifted individuals, the process of becoming a leader is an arduous, albeit rewarding, journey of continuous learning and self-development. The initial test along the path is so fundamental that we often overlook it: becoming a boss for the first time.
Ask Bill Belichick if he's one of the winningest coaches in NFL history because he's a football genius, and he makes a face that's familiar to anyone who has ever seen him annoyed. Which is, basically, everyone.
I’ve spent many years referencing Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking is an official bias but I can’t recall the name or details. It’s been an invaluable reference for helping me identify the hidden flaws in my own thinking.
Google. Apple. Dropbox. Twitter. If anyone has had a hand in helping build phenomenal teams at powerhouse companies in their prime, it’s Kim Scott. At one point in her career, she admits she thought she was one of the best people in the world at creating amazing teams.
If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any market, against any competition. But the truth is that genuine teamwork remains elusive in most organizations, and team leaders and members fall unknowingly to the 5 dysfunction pitfalls.
Imagine you need people to donate to a cause you care about. How do you get as many people as possible to donate? You could send an email to 200 of your friends, family members, and acquaintances. Or you could ask a few of the people you encounter in a typical day—face-to-face—to donate.
A friend of mine once had a curious experience with a job interview. Excited about the possible position, she arrived five minutes early and was immediately ushered into the interview by the receptionist. Following an amicable discussion with a panel of interviewers, she was offered the job.
Sometimes, life seems upside-down. So, here goes, and I hope it helps at least a few of you.
These days it seems like most people have too much on their plate. Everyone complains about feeling overworked. So how do you tell your boss you simply have too much to do? No one wants to come across as lazy, uncommitted, or not a team player.
Nine months ago, I became a people manager for my team of privacy engineers here at Google. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a manager. As it turns out, there are some things that aren’t necessarily obvious when you step into a management role for the first time.
Regardless if you’re an entrepreneur, athlete, coach, artist or politician, we all must overcome hurdles and setbacks at some point in our lives.
Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we under perform and become incapable. Isn’t this absurd?
In a recent strategy meeting we attended with the leaders of a Fortune-500 company, the word “culture” came up 27 times in 90 minutes. Business leaders believe a strong organizational culture is critical to success, yet culture tends to feel like some magic force that few know how to control.
I first started managing people seven years ago, three years after I graduated and got my first design job. At the time, I was woefully unqualified. I barely had any experienced being managed, let alone managing others. I remain grateful to my then-manager for her leap of faith in me.
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to make meetings more efficient and productive. And while it’s true that leading focused, deliberate conversations is critical to organizational performance, meetings aren’t just about delivering results.
I became an Engineering Manager over two years ago. One of my main challenges during this time has been to find the balance between my leadership duties towards my team and my desire to keep coding.
There’s an all-too-common cycle in tech these days. Startup avoids management. Founder makes all the decisions. Startup gets traction. Hiring takes off. Management is suddenly needed. Founder turns to his best engineer: “I’m drowning. Can you manage this team for me?"
Several years ago, colleagues and I were invited to predict the results of a start-up pitch contest in Vienna, where 2,500 tech entrepreneurs were competing to win thousands of euros in funds.
Forget overpriced schools, long days in a crowded classroom, and pitifully poor results. These websites and apps cover myriads of science, art, and technology topics. They will teach you practically anything, from making hummus to building apps in node.js, most of them for free.
At Etsy, COO Linda Kozlowski spearheaded international expansion, unified and started growing its marketing plans, began redefining the company’s brand, launched a new communications strategy, and kicked off the integration of user feedback into product development — all in about six months.
Ask any sports fan about their favorite team and they will usually spend half the time either cursing or extolling the manager. Apparently, the manager is responsible for every loss, and perhaps even the occasional victory.
Any team leader knows that it’s what happens between project meetings that makes or breaks a project. And yet it’s often challenging to keep a team motivated and focused on getting agreed upon tasks done.
The concept of a career path at Buffer has changed a lot over the past six years.
A few months ago, my friend Tim took a new sales job at a Series C tech company that had raised over $60 million from A-list investors. He’s one of the best salespeople I know, but soon after starting, he emailed me to say he was struggling.
In 1934, a young woman named Sara Pollard applied to Vassar College. In those days, parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and Sara’s father described her, truthfully, as “more a follower type than a leader.” The school accepted Sara, explaining that it had enough leaders.
Here at Google, we don’t have a secret formula for innovation. But that doesn’t mean Googlers’ best ideas are ineffable mysteries. On the contrary, we’ve found they can be systematically coaxed into being and steadily improved upon. And so can yours.
Schwab (oddly enough, no relation to Charles R. Schwab, founder of the Charles Schwab Corporation) was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in the U.S. at the time.
This article is by Dave Girouard, CEO of personal finance startup Upstart, and former President of Google Enterprise Apps. He’s well known for building Google’s enterprise apps division into a $1B+ global business. Here he shares his tips for making speed fundamental to your company.
Since the early days of Google, people throughout the company have questioned the value of managers. That skepticism stems from a highly technocratic culture. As one software engineer, Eric Flatt, puts it, “We are a company built by engineers for engineers.
When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called:
Maybe it’s your performance review. Or a 360-degree feedback report. Or (unsolicited) advice from a colleague. Maybe you got a dressing-down from an angry client. Or overheard the nickname your team has for you. Whatever it was, it was wrong. Off-base. Unfair.
On my birthday this year, my coworkers planned an elaborate surprise. When I came into work, several dozen colleagues had dressed up as me, donning my trademark accessories: a flannel shirt, a baseball cap—and a scowl. There are two takeaways from this anecdote.
Kabam's story is pretty well known. In a Cinderella story twist, the social network-turned-sports-turned-gaming company weathered three major pivots in 10 years to ultimately sell for $800 million. This is pretty much unheard of.
Employee burnout is a common phenomenon, but it is one that companies tend to treat as a talent management or personal issue rather than a broader organizational challenge. That’s a mistake.
When you’re part a fast-growing company, it can often feel like the challenges and breakthroughs you’re experiencing are unique to your team and organization—that these are problems you have to solve together, for your company’s unique position. In some ways, that’s true.
The fog of war envelops every battlefield.
About four years ago I started working for myself. I wanted the freedom and flexibility to own my schedule and the space to bring my ideas to life.
Organizations aren’t getting the performance they need from their teams. That’s the message we hear from many of our clients, who wrestle with complex challenges ranging from strategic planning to change management. But often, the fault doesn’t lie with the team members, our research suggests.
Amazon is a remarkable company. It's no surprise that it was built by a remarkable mind. The brilliance, philosophy, and quirks of founder and CEO Jeff Bezos are deeply baked into Amazon, which is what makes his pronouncements about his approach to business so fascinating.
We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives — getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on.
It's time to switch to Basecamp instead. It’s the saner, calmer, organized way to manage projects and communicate company-wide. More than 89% of our customers say they have a better handle on their business thanks to Basecamp.
How is it even possible that Elon Musk could build four multibillion companies by his mid-40s — in four separate fields (software, energy, transportation, and aerospace)?
No one has enough friends. And if that's not reason enough to be likable, we tend to do business and build professional and relationships with people we like. We're instinctively drawn to people who are modest, agreeable, polite, kind... in short, to people who are genuinely likable.
How is it even possible that Elon Musk could build four multibillion companies by his mid-40s — in four separate fields (software, energy, transportation, and aerospace)?
It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re facing a thorny dilemma. Blinded by the particulars of the situation, we’ll waffle and agonize, changing our mind from day to day. Perhaps our worst enemy in resolving these conﬂicts is short-term emotion, which can be an unreliable adviser.
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes. I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as a Design Ethicist at Google caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked.
An evolutionary geneticist, a professional gambler, and a business school professor walk into a bar. What might appear to be the start of a horribly nerdy joke is simply a scene that could happen any evening at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“You just talk to them for half an hour.” That’s the guideline I got when I first joined Spotify for how to run my 1:1s — a recurring half hour meeting between a manager and their team members. It didn’t leave me with much to work with. I was admittedly clueless about the practice.
In today's knowledge economy, people are often a company's most valuable asset, and losing talented employees can be extremely expensive.