Healthy Teams & Tension

When you’re the boss, it’s awkward to ask your direct reports to tell you frankly what they think of your performance—even more awkward for them than it is for you. To help, I adopted a go-to question that Fred Kofman, author of Conscious Business and my coach at Google, suggested. “Is there anything I could do or stop doing that would make it easier to work with me?”

Kim Scott, Radical Candor

I am 80% of the way through my 2nd edition re-write of The Wealthy Consultant. The main additions are more stories and examples.

Although we’ve received magnificent feedback from the book, one thing has come up as a bit of constructive criticism: there are no stories; it’s like a college textbook. That’s sort of how I wrote it, but I’m adding back in key stories to make it flow easier. This morning, as I was gathering stories specifically around the chapter “8-Figure Teams,” I started thinking about culture.

All of my companies have unique cultures.

Culture is defined as the following:

  • What you believe
  • Why you believe it
  • How strongly or fiercely you believe it

A great culture is leverage. Here is how we develop culture internally — the following material contains pieces of in-house training that we send new hires through. In addition we routinely send tenured leaders through this again as refreshers. I recommend copying this into a note taking app like Evernote or Notion for further study.

Culture Code Internal

  • It’s okay to make mistakes. It is not okay to not learn from them.

  • Don’t worry about looking good, worry about achieving your goals.

  • Conflict is essential for relationship. Avoiding conflict says more about you than it does them.

  • Think independently and argue assertively. The mission is more important than a chain of command.

  • Every leader must decide between: (1) Getting rid of liked but incapable people to achieve their goals or (2) Keeping the nice, but incapable people and not achieving their goals

  • Evaluate accurately, not “kindly.”

  • Your goal is not to be popular but, rather, effective.

  • It is kinder in the long run to be direct, even if articulating criticism causes some momentary upset.

  • When you are too invested in everyone “getting along,” you fail to encourage people to criticize one another for fear of sowing discord. Never prioritize being “nice” at the expense of critique & improving performance.

  • The clarity of your guidance gets measured at the other person’s ear, not at your mouth (this means it’s your job for the person to receive and understand what you’re saying — your responsibility).

  • Great teams are made when things are hard. You have to dig deep. Look for people who enjoy solving hard problems.

  • If your people aren’t informed by you, they’ll be misinformed by others. Tell them how the business is doing and loop them in.

  • The most important thing about giving feedback is that it must be about behavior rather than characterization of the person.

  • Retention is not a good metric by which to evaluate your team-building success or whether you’ve created a great culture. Some people just deserve to go.

  • Motivation is about talent density & appealing challenges. People are going to leave if they don’t feel there’s anyone in the organization growing the same way they want to grow.

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