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What, you’ve done this before? I really could have used your help…

What, you’ve done this before? I really could have used your help…

I once participated in the design of a new sales process. Our existing process had too many people involved, making prospects confused about who they should be speaking with on our side. It added unnecessary complications to an already challenging process.

After three different experiments, we decided to go with a process that would only involve a sales exec and a sales engineer, cutting out an account manager from the process. While we now know that such a process is quite industry standard in the software world, the majority of our team had no experience with this new structure.

A few weeks later, I had lunch with with a colleague on the sales team and our conversation went along the lines of:

“Hey, how’s the new sales process going for you guys?”

“Oh, it’s going well and we’re learning to collaborate much better. I actually worked under a similar structure at my previous job, and I can tell that this is much better than the model we had before.”

“Wait, what? You’ve worked with a similar sales process before?”

“Yeah, I guess I never brought it up…”

Now to add some context… The team member was still relatively new to the company, having joined us a few months before, and was probably still uncomfortable speaking up and proposing ideas. During team meetings, I had noticed that he only gave his opinion when it was actively sought, but remained silent otherwise. And during the sales process redesign, he wasn’t directly involved with planning and decision making, so didn’t actively provide feedback.

It also never occurred to him that he was the only individuals with experience on the new sales structure. He assumed that the leadership and those involved in the process change knew more than he did.

As result, we failed to leverage a valuable source of insight during the planning stages of our new sales process. It definitely could have helped us avoid some newbie mistakes when we implemented our sales process.

What did I learn? That when implementing new solutions, I need to always proactively ask team members whether they have faced similar situations before. I can’t just assume that people will speak up. Especially with new team members and junior employees, there’s a tendency for them to assume that the leadership knows more than they do, and that they are not in a position to speak up yet (takes a while for some people to understand that startups want people to speak up). I’ve also noticed that for many new employees, their top priority is to learn how to meet expectations of the existing system rather than question the system and improve upon it. We often mis these opportunities to learn from insight rather than trial and error.

So what do I ask people now before designing any new processes or changes?

  • Has anybody faced similar challenges and problems before, maybe at your old job?
  • What were similarities and differences between the situations?
  • Anything we should make sure to do, or avoid doing?

These questions alone won’t guarantee a successful solution, or allow us to skip steps in our innovation process, but they will definitely help us avoid unnecessary mistakes.


Recommended exercise

Next time that we consider changing a process, creating a new role, or even designing a new product, let’s ask everyone on the team: “Does anyone have experience with this?”


Are you leading a startup team? Get started on the right foot with the Start-up Manager Handbook. And subscribe on the right for new insights every week!

Why my boss needs and wants my feedback

Why my boss needs and wants my feedback

I want to start this blog post by saying that I love my boss, and almost all past bosses I’ve had. In each case, each job, they taught me invaluable lessons. I’m not trying to kiss ass (ok maybe a little haha), but I’ve honestly been really lucky in meeting awesome bosses and mentors.

Yet once in a while I do get frustrated at my boss (like everyone else in my life).

When that happens, I first keep it to myself, let a good night sleep dissolve my emotions, and move on. I sometimes raise up the matter with them with a clear mind the next day, especially if the issue impact my team, but often not, when it only impacts me.

I never thought to explore why I get frustrated at my boss as compared to other people. That’s until a few days ago, when I was reading The Road to Character (highly recommended), while also being frustrated at my boss for failing to address a situation I raised up weeks ago that has now turned into an urgent fire.

What I realized was that I tend to get frustrated at my boss for failing to be perfect. Being in a position of power (in this case, a VP of our company), being superior to me, and being able to affect our startup’s long-term direction, I expected my boss to know everything I know, take the best decision all the time, and have the answers to everything. How unreasonable, right? Nobody is perfect. Nobody can predict the future accurately. And more importantly, no manager should ever be as technically knowledgeable and experienced as their subordinates (advocated by many top leaders including Andy Grove in  High Output Management).

So why did I expect my boss to never make a mistake? I attribute it to our educational system, where teachers have the answer to everything they teach, and are in a capacity to judge the quality of our work. Especially in STEM programs, there are actually “correct” answers that get perfect scores, and professors whom know the “correct” answers. Our educational system has created the perception that individuals in authority know everything.

This expectation doesn’t stop with bosses. We expect our politicians to be perfect and bark whenever they are less than statesmanlike. We expect our parents to be perfect and get frustrated when they don’t “get us” or don’t understand modern trends. It’s a sign that we simply want people, especially those that have influence over us, to always do what’s best for us.

I personally do not believe that such an expectation is reasonable, for several reasons:

  1. Everyone makes mistakes. As this blog shows, I certainly make a ton of them. And if my boss is anything like me, a human being, they ought to also have emotions, exposure to new situations, and other traits that contribute to a less than perfect response once in awhile.
  2. What’s bad for us may not be bad for others. No other individual in the world has experienced life exactly as I did. Each one of us can only witness life in our own eyes. This leads to various interpretations on the same situation, differing priorities, and diverse goals in mind. This means that what I interpret as a negative outcome may not always be a negative outcome for others. Yet because we think that we’re at the center of the world, we interpret anything that has a negative impact on us as bad. Fact is that a bad decision for us may have been positive one for our boss and the rest of the team.
  3. We don’t share the same responsibilities. As a team, our skills should not overlap, but rather complement each other. Especially in relation to my boss, I’m not supposed to share the same expertise and day-to-day responsibilities. So any expectation that my boss knows what we know perfectly and can do it even better is unreasonable. Personally, I can’t do what many of my team members do technically and that’s great.
  4. Expectations were not communicated. I also notice instances where I expect certain things of my manager, but have never communicated them. How reasonable is that? I once became frustrated at my manager for failing to reprimand a fellow colleague’s manipulative ways, yet I never spoke up about my colleague’s behavior. Without any evidence or insight on the subject, how can I assume that my boss has any idea that my colleague is behaving negatively? When I did bring up the subject, my manager was actually very receptive.

The only element that’s within our control in the above list is the proactive communication of our expectations. Everything else is outside our control, so I’d argue that we need to learn to appreciate them for what they are, rather than complain about any of it.

So if we have any expectations for our superiors, the only thing we can do is to communicate them. Any frustrations that we have in regard to an expectation are only justified if our boss has agreed to that expectation. Just like when we set expectations with our team members.

Let’s also remember that our manager’s goal is to guide our team toward our company goals. This includes making sure that we are happy and successful. Any good manager should thus be trusted with the ability to listen to our expectations of them, along with any constructive feedback.

If by experience, we find that our boss isn’t receptive to feedback, doesn’t have our best intentions in mind, and has a selfish agenda of their own, it’s time to change teams. But let’s make sure we give it a couple of tries and maybe even address the issue with their manager.

Finally, let’s also remember that all of us are in a position of authority to someone else. A team member, a child, a student… The sooner we set the expectation that we’re not perfect, and that we want their feedback, the less frustrations they’ll experience.


Recommended exercise

Let’s sit down with our boss and ask them if they are interested in receiving feedback from time to time. If so, let’s also ask them how to best communicate them.


Are you leading a startup team? Get started on the right foot with the Start-up Manager Handbook. And subscribe on the right for new insights every week!

Should I speak up and voice my thought?

Should I speak up and voice my thought?

I’ve definitely had strong thoughts about things at work, and yet kept them to myself.

In many instances, it was absolutely the right thing to do (e.g. when I’m frustrated at a client), but in other cases, it was most likely counter-productive. Especially in a startup environment, it’s my opinion that ideas need to flow freely. 

So in this blog post, I’m going to explore a few situations where not voicing our thought can be detrimental to the company:

“That’s a good point… now I don’t need to bring it up anymore.”

My process for reviewing product plans goes something like this: 1. Review the entire plan; and 2. Give feedback that others haven’t given yet (e.g. ask about how my team will be impacted).

What I fail to do is show support for other people’s thoughts and feedback with +1’s.

That hurt us bad one time:

After reviewing the plan for a new product feature, I noticed a comment that a colleague put in: “The design team failed to gather input from the customer success team, which would eventually have to use and educate our clients on the new feature.”

I agreed entirely with that comment, but didn’t show my support. My colleague ended up being the only one that voiced that concern.

So guess what happened… They designed and launched the feature without input from customer success. It resulted in flaws that caused some frustrations among users at launch. There’s a high chance that it could have been avoided by simply including the CS team in the product design process. That wasn’t the only negative outcome either. By neglecting their input, the customer success team had also lost a good amount of trust in the design team.

Speaking with the design team leader over the issue, it became clear that they didn’t get feedback from customer success because they thought that it wasn’t as important as some other issues. Afterall, only one person voiced the opinion that CS feedback was warranted.

So what did I learn? That +1s are important. People gauge the priority of issues by evaluating how much support it has.

“I don’t think they’d listen to me…”

I have dozens of conversations each month listening to colleagues’ frustrations about their managers and other team members. Most of the time, they’re simply venting sessions and I sit there listening. Yet on more than one occasion, people also shared with me thoughtful and well researched ideas that they didn’t share with their managers.

And when I ask them: “That’s a really good idea. Have you shared it with [manager name]?”

The answer is almost always: “No, I don’t think they’d listen to me.”

This clearly indicates that the individual lost some trust in their managerI therefore spend time helping individuals gain the confidence to voice their thought, and formulate a pitch that properly communicates their idea. We then rehearse it together and prepare against potential rebuttals.

In most instances, I’m happy to report that people find the confidence to effectively communicate their idea to their boss. Their ideas aren’t always adopted, but they always feel acknowledged and listened to. And more importantly, they learn a crucial lesson in how to influence leaders.

So if they don’t listen to us, let’s find a way to make the message more appealing and manage up.

“There’s nothing we can do about that…”

When discussing long-term or low-priority issues, I noticed a tendency for me to end a discussion with “Yeah, oh well, there’s nothing we can do about that.”

And right after, I’d feel like a naysayer rather than a problem solver. Why did I even spend time talking about the issue if there’s nothing we can do about it? Clearly I care enough and want to do something.

Yet fact is, there are situations where I’ve heard “no” to an idea so much, or witnessed the de-prioritization of an idea so often, that I think nobody cares anymore.

So how do I deal with that? With time, I’ve learned to stop complaining and take action instead. I actively discard ideas that I also feel are low-priority, but re-work how I pitch an idea that I believe is important. I may gather further evidence to support my viewpoint, or assess if other individuals and teams in the organization feel similarly to gain additional support.

This helps me avoid feeling bleak about the future, and continue fighting for ideas that matter to me.

When should I not voice my thought?

In my experience, there’s only one scenario under which an individual should not voice their thought and that’s when our emotions control the best of us.

Too often, I’ve reacted emotionally to frustrations and concerns I have with a team member. It’d usually put the individual in an awkward spot. Even if the concerns were valid, I always regretted my reaction. It’s simply unprofessional and demeaning to others, and fails to demonstrate that I can keep my cool under pressure.

How do I deal with my emotions now? I have a 24-hour rule. I don’t react for 24 hours and let a good night sleep help me think about the situation. It helps me take the emotions out of the situation, so that I can think and act rationally the next day.


Recommended exercise

Let’s identify one thought that we failed to voice this past week and find a way to communicate it.


Are you leading a startup team? Get started on the right foot with the Start-up Manager Handbook. And subscribe on the right for new insights every week!

Do I care about my team more than my company?

Do I care about my team more than my company?

When a start-up company scales from a core team of 10-20 team members to 100+ people, I’ve witnessed a tendency for departments to lose touch with one another. Thats when we become hyper-focused on scaling our own individual team.

This often results in the loss of cross-team communication, break-downs in collaboration, along with other inter-department conflicts.

In this blog post, I’m going to share one exercise that will help our teams avoid conflicts and stay cohesive. It starts by seeing the organization as one entity, rather than a group of separate teams.

Do I see the company as one?

Adopting this perception is critical to the success of an organization, because the alternative, to see the company as parts that work separately, will never grow the company as a whole. Allow me to elaborate:

In our day-to-day, we often view ourselves as part of one specific team, one group. In turn, we subconsciously view the organization as a group of separate entities such as marketing, sales, customer success, product management, engineering, R&D, finance, etc.

The danger of this perception is that it can create inter-team conflicts: e.g. when goals are missed, we tend to blame it on other teams; when budgets are planned, we tend to fight each other for a bigger piece of the pie.

As we don’t emotionally relate to other teams as much as we do with our own team, we focus on improving only one team: Our team. This can be detrimental. Improving only one segment of the company will not result in a better company: e.g. Hitting our sales goals may not result in higher revenue if the sales team is not collaborating with customer success on retention goals.

A company thus needs all teams to be aligned on a single strategy for it to grow. It becomes clear that improving how teams interact and work with each other is more important than improving the team itself.

In one case, I was helping a clothing retailer’s merchandising team identify product trends. The goal was to find characteristics of clothing items that people would buy as part of repeat purchases, then advertise them as part of newsletters. However, because the marketing team had differing priorities, the products we identified as leading to a higher chance of repeat purchases failed to be advertised. Instead, newsletters featured customer stories in an effort to connect emotionally with users. This is not to say that the marketing team’s tactic wasn’t effective, but because both teams failed to coordinate, time and resources were wasted. The merchandising team’s effort was in vain.

The good news is that everyone is capable of seeing the company as one. We do this every day when we look at other companies.

For example, we don’t react to news on Google’s self-driving cars and say: “Wow, the marketing team on Google’s self-driving car project is really effective at …” Instead, we say: “Wow, Google is really catching a lot of eyeballs with their cars.”

Now we only have to see our own company as a unit.

Does my team see the company as one?

team

To help our team members see the company as one entity, we can perform a diagnosis of the company’s traits. This translates into the creation of a profile that defines our organization and exposes our group dynamics.

Having team members evaluate the organization as one re-enforces the mindset that we are all on the same boat, regardless of what teams we work with.

One approach is to survey all team members’ perception of the organization, asking the following questions:

  • What is your perception of our company’s current vision and strategy? How do we hope to impact the world, why, and how do we plan to achieve that?
  • What are natural tendencies and behaviors that you notice of your team, other teams, and the company as a whole? What are some biases that you observe, what do we enjoy/don’t enjoy doing, what mistakes do we repeat, and what do we prioritize and de-prioritize?
  • What frustrations do you experience that gets in the way of our company achieving its strategic goals? What are you repeatedly frustrated by?
  • What do you feel are our company’s strengths and weaknesses? What helps us achieve our goals and what drags the team back?
  • What values do we live by? Based actions and behavior observed, what values do you think we stand by?

Assembling a company profile based on every team member’s perception allows for the entire company to actively reflect on what type of animal it has become. This awareness alone will make team members more empathetic to other teams. Should we take it a step further and incentivize changes while praising improvements, teams will also implement changes to eliminate behaviors they perceive as negative or unproductive.

How often should we do this and why?

I recommend for this exercise to be performed at least twice a year for a couple reasons:

  1. Start-up companies tend to get distracted by new ideas that pull teams off alignment from the company strategy, so regular assessment helps to diagnose whether any team is going off-course, and to actively re-align them;
  2. Similarly, as a company evolves, its traits change. It’s thus important to regularly assess whether the company’s behavior is evolving in the direction that we want, creating the culture that we desire.

Let’s explore these two points in more detail.

1- Aligning teams to the company strategy

one team

In my opinion, it is easier for top leadership to set a competitive strategy than it is for them to keep all teams aligned to the strategy.

Especially at start-ups, individual teams tend to get distracted by new ideas and initiatives that fall outside of the company strategy. This is caused by a combination of factors including:

  • Ambitions and smart team members that want to change the world, but are easily distracted;
  • Ineffective communication from senior leadership about the actual strategy; and
  • Lackluster enforcement of the strategic plan.

The result is that actions across teams and individuals are misaligned and the company is pulled in all directions.

For example, a payment solution provider’s competitive strategy may be to focus on providing payment systems for large hotel management businesses, offering industry-specific solutions.

If that strategy is ineffectively communicated and ill-enforced, teams may take actions and decisions that are counter-productive. Marketing may run campaigns that attract all hotel operators, large and small, to get as many leads as possible. On the other hand, customer success may adopt a low cost strategy to boost profit margin rather than offering enterprise level support for clients.

The result will be that marketing money is wasted on attracting the attention of small and medium hotel companies we don’t want. And down the line, customer success will have a hard time retaining large clients without proper resources to create deep relationships.

Misaligned goals across an organization will thus slow down the company’s growth, if not reverse it.

To avoid such a fate, it’s critical to first decide and agree on a competitive strategy among the senior leadership team. Each department head should have a clear idea of their role as part of the strategy and who they need to collaborate with. Afterward, leaders will need to design and communicate the strategic plan to all their team members.

Results from the company profile survey will reveal whether everyone understands the strategy. Should there be confusion, misalignment, or lack of information on what team members believe the company strategy to be, we’ll need to clarify the strategy (i.e. highlight decisions and initiatives that are aligned or misaligned), actively refuse resources to misaligned initiatives, and review team goals for strategic alignment.

With limited resource, there’s no time to waste on misaligned initiatives.

Following up on our example above, the payment solution provider’s marketing goal should be to attract as many large hotel operators as leads as possible, and to neglect any small and medium size operators. On the other hand, customer success needs to provide enterprise level support with an appropriate budget.

2- Is the company maturing as desired?

evolution

Keeping an eye on the company’s behavioral tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses helps leaders acknowledge the company position, and whether we need to change course to stay relevant.

As teams gain experience tackling their problem, and as new individuals join the team, a company’s strengths will evolve and new skills will be added. On the other hand, a larger team will also bring new organizational challenges (e.g. bureaucracy, processes, politics) that may add to the company’s weaknesses and frustrations. Externally, competition and changing customer expectations will often redefine whether a company trait has become a new strength or a new weakness.

Blockbuster‘s rise and fall is a great example of a company that failed to understand itself, and its position within a rapidly changing market. With the introduction of Netflix type services and changing customer expectations, Blockbuster’s competitive advantage evaporated. What were once strengths (e.g. a lot of physical stores and access to customers) became weaknesses (e.g. too much overhead cost), while existing weaknesses grew in impact (e.g. limited stock and selection). Should they have acknowledged these market changes early, there was certainly a chance to stay relevant.

Since a start-up’s operating environment can change month-to-month, it’s critical that we regularly evaluate its evolution and position within the market.

Are we too optimistic?

optimism

It takes a healthy dose of self-belief, courage, and optimism to found a start-up company. This positive outlook on the future is foundational to the culture of most start-up companies, shared by almost all team members that decide to join a start-up and forego a safe job.

I, for one, certainly believe in my company’s eventual success, even though we’ve yet to make $1 of profit.

Fact is, a positive mindset is necessary to pursue dreams and work on unproven solutions. If we had any doubt in our success, we wouldn’t be pursuing this venture. We know that the odds are stacked against us, and yet, we decide to put up a good fight.

The upside of having an optimistic mindset is clear: We always have the energy to get back up after experiencing failure, and keep moving forward.

Yet, there is also a danger to our optimism: It can make us blind to our weaknesses. At start-ups, we have a tendency to turn a blind eye to our company’s structural problems, strategic threats, and other long-term issues. These issues tend to be ones that we can’t solve right away and necessitate company-wide collaboration. And because there’s always more urgent short-term issues to solve at a start-up, we tend to ignore our long-term challenges. With time, the team learns to turn a blind eye to structural problems and let their optimism take over.

What’s the result? Blind optimism can cloud the evaluation of a company’s true situation. And slowly, it can become culturally unacceptable to voice negative thoughts. Team members may not raise or report their frustrations and challenges, for fear of being perceived as pessimists or even worse, not believing in the company’s future success. Complaints and frustrations will often follow with someone saying “Yeah, but we work with really smart people. We’ll figure it out.” Like that adds any value to the conversation…

The leadership team is certainly not immune to blind optimism (they need it most!), so they may become unreceptive to team members’ concerns, shielded by ego and by the fear that there’s nothing they can do about the issue.

At that point, the entire company is no longer capable of objectively assessing itself. Everyone drank the cool-aid. As it is no longer looking to improve itself, the company will slowly become unable to face changing market forces, to resolve internal challenges, and ultimately, to hit its goals.

So allow me to share a word of advice: When assessing the company’s profile, ask team members to be brutally honest. In the wise words of my yoga teacher: “Observe differences, don’t judge.”

Are you leading a startup team? Get started on the right foot with the Start-up Manager Handbook. And subscribe on the right for new insights every week!

How do I know it’s the right decision?

How do I know it’s the right decision?

We’ve all made good and bad decisions.

The tricky thing is that we can only tell if a decision was effective in hindsight, after the fact. And more often than not, it’s also unclear whether our decision was truly the best one.

Take hiring for example: We review hundreds of candidates and come down to a handful of top choices. We can’t hire all good candidates and test their abilities during a 6 months probation period (maybe some companies can, but with limited resources for salary and training, our startup certainly can’t), so what do we do? We decide on the candidate that we think will be the best fit and make an offer. However, even if our chosen candidate ends up bringing positive value to the team, can we confidently say that other candidate couldn’t have done better? We will never know whether unexplored options might have been better.

So we can’t predict the future. Then how can we confidently tell if a decision is right or wrong beforehand? How do we plan for the future?

In my opinion, it comes down to leveraging our team’s existing knowledge and experience, as well as analyzing all possible scenarios that could result from our choice.

Here’s a series of questions that have helped me evaluate decisions:

Why are we considering this decision? If we don’t have clarity on the ultimate goal, then let’s not waste any time on a decision. So what’s the problem or pain that this decision is trying to deal with? What’s the goal that we’re trying to achieve?

How does the decision advance our team goal? All decisions must help the team hit its goals, and in turn, help the company achieve its vision. Decisions and activities that don’t help us advance our cause distract us, and waste precious resources. So let’s avoid them. For example, if our team goal is to sign on a large number of small and medium clients, deciding on how to better attract attention from large companies is a distraction.

What has already happened in relation to the decision? Let’s document all steps that we’ve taken to date, so that if other stakeholders need to be looped in, they can easily be briefed on the current status. For example, if we’re deciding on a new office location, what have we done already as part of the process? Have we visited potential offices, talked to agents, or analyzed our needs?

What did we do yesterday to cope with this problem? Is this a new problem, or are we trying to improve the way we deal with an ongoing problem? Documenting and communicating a problem’s history ensures that parties that are not familiar with the subject understand the full context when evaluating the decision.

How important is it to take this decision relative to other decisions in the pipeline? We’re likely to pursue many different decisions at one time, so we have to prioritize the ones that may have the strongest impact on our team goals.

When do we need to decide by? Waiting too long on a decision and it may become irrelevant. Not spending enough time evaluating our options and we may miss valuable insights. So let’s set a decision date based on how much research and analysis we can realistically do and afford to do.

What’s different this time? If we’re taking a decision regarding a situation that we’ve dealt with before, do we know the similarities and differences between the situations? What have we learned from the past event? Should we react similarly to last time, or take a different approach?

What insights exist to help us evaluate the different choices?

Data: Do we have relevant analyses and reports that can help us evaluate our options?

People: Who has experience or insight on the situation?

Historical cases: Have there been similar cases like this one before, either at our organization or at other organizations, that we can review and learn from?

Who needs to be involved in the decision? My recommendation is to loop in a representative from each team that may be impacted by the decision, subject matter experts that have insights to offer, along with someone that has no real stake in the decision. This last individual will be able to offer an unemotional and objective view of the situation.

What are our potential options? What are all potential options that we have regarding the decision? Which ones are realistic? Let’s remember that doing nothing is a choice too.

What are all potential outcomes? Have we evaluated all potential outcomes of our options? We can certainly leverage scenario planning here. The exercise will help us identify, plan around, and react to all possible outcomes.

Are we ready to face the impact of all potential outcomes? Which scenarios identified above are we ready to face, and which ones are we not ready to face? Are we OK with not being able to react to certain scenarios, or do we need more time to achieve operational readiness?

What’s the right thing to do? Is there a potential for people to get hurt, either today or tomorrow, by our choice? Will we be able to sleep easy with our decision? If there’s a risk of hurting people, can we tweak the solution to avoid it, or mitigate the risk? For example, if we find that producing oil from tar sands is still the most economically viable option, can we minimize damages to the environment?

Does everyone agree on the decision? Is there a clear option that most people involved in the decision agree upon? If there is no consensus, the main stakeholder, usually the person with the most stake in the decision that has to manage and implement the decision, needs to take the lead and make a choice. This will help to avoid decision paralysis, which hurts team cohesion and diminishes trust in the leadership. (In High Output Management, Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, offers a very clear approach on decision making in a team environment to help get consensus)

How will we communicate the decision? I’ve often found that how I communicate a decision is just as important to success as making the right decision. In one situation, I let go of a team member that was clearly unproductive and a drag on the team. Yet by not communicating why we let go of that team member, who was a friend to many people around the office, it created confusion and fear among team members that were not familiar with the individual’s performance. So with every decision, let’s work to communicate why we’re taking the decision and how we went about evaluating our options. The key is to shed any doubt as to whether we reviewed the necessary data, consulted the relevant parties, and compared all possible scenarios.

The decision taking process explored above is like a production process. A car is worth much more than the value of the raw materials it’s made of. Similarly, with each additional question answered, a decision gains more value and importance.

So let’s be careful about not advancing unimportant decisions further along the evaluation process to avoid wasting resources, but also diligently vet important decisions.

I also recommend checking out the couple resources below on decision making:

Happy decision making!


Recommended exercise

The next time that we are faced with a decision, let’s start by asking ourselves: “Is this decision relevant to our mission?”


Are you leading a startup team? Get started on the right foot with the Start-up Manager Handbook. And subscribe on the right for new insights every week!