Paul B. Thornton

The best managers and leaders help people become more independent, more capable, and more confident.

Ayo Omojola

What we’re taught when we grow up is that our outcome is 100% correlated to our effort. If I study hard for a test or work hard on a project, I’m going to get a better grade than if I don’t try. So I’ve always just assumed that when things aren’t going well, I just need to work harder. It’s ingrained a lot of habits, … [ Read more ]

Sebastian Leape, Jinchen Zou, Olivia Loadwick, Robin Nuttall, Matt Stone, Bruce Simpson

Purpose answers the question, “What would the world lose if your company disappeared?” It defines a company’s core reason for being and its resulting positive impact on the world. Winning companies are driven by purpose, reach higher for it, and achieve more because of it. Competitors wonder where they can get some of that magic and how they might sprinkle it on.

Molly Graham

When assessing a low performer, the most important set of exercises to run through are: What is this person’s job? What is expected of them? Do they know that? And then once they do, do they have the desire and the energy to fix it? Then you can go to them and clearly explain, “Here’s what’s expected of you. Here’s what you’re delivering. And here’s … [ Read more ]

Molly Graham

Most people can be exceptional and perform way better than they are today, under the right set of circumstances. And so the question for managers is whether those circumstances can exist in the role that that person is currently in, elsewhere in the company, or if it’s just not a fit at all.

Molly Graham

When I was managing a team I didn’t have tons of expertise in […] I first started with: Do people’s roles make sense? Do they know how they fit in? How they align to the business? Then the second piece is, do they know what’s expected of them? Do they know what success looks like? 80% of the time when I go into a team … [ Read more ]

Molly Graham

As a manager, one of the best things you can do is to take your high-performers and make bets on them, stretching them and seeing what they’re made of. Sometimes people are capable of 10X of what you have them working on today. You just have to help them get there.

Molly Graham

I push people to focus on, “What is this person responsible for?” not, “How are they doing it?” As a manager, you can give feedback on the “how,” particularly if it’s potentially destructive to the people around them, problematic in terms of draining too many resources, or when the folks you’re managing are more junior. But goals and expectations have to be set around the … [ Read more ]

Molly Graham

True management is the act of making the people around you better. Management is about investing in people, figuring out who they are, what they’re good at, what motivates them, and then aligning the work a company has to do with their role and their growth areas.

Jeff Blum

You can be a leader without being a manager but you cannot be a manager with also being a leader.

Maya Townsend, Elizabeth Doty

Change champions need to draw out others’ opinions about the reasons their hunch won’t work as a starting point for problem-solving and design. By treating the potential downsides and limitations of an idea as legitimate, rational concerns, people can work together to design solutions that both achieve intended goals and preserve what the organization wishes to safeguard while building commitment to implementation.

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So-called resisters have … [ Read more ]

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Authenticity and the idea of authenticity basically gives people an excuse to not change, to not adapt. So, instead of being true to yourself, you need to be true to what other people around you need from you. This idea that you need to be authentic is insane.

Jaleh Rezaei

Tracking the difference between ‘actual’ and ‘target’ is a really important part of your dashboarding process. My team jokingly calls this delta ‘the shame,’ because that’s what drives them to reflect and iterate.

Jaleh Rezaei

If speed is the yin, the yang is prioritization. You can’t be fast if you don’t know what’s important.

Tim Koller, Dan Lovallo

[A premortem is where] at the start of a project, you imagine that the project went wrong and think about what could have caused that result. You put yourself into the future and, in a non-judgmental way, think of all the things that could derail the project. It creates a safe way for people to discuss their concerns without being perceived as criticizing the project. … [ Read more ]

Eric J. McNulty

One important step that leaders can take is to explicitly acknowledge the circumstances in which either competition or cooperation is most likely to achieve the desired outcome. Then, as a leader, you can examine your organization’s structures, processes, and protocols to see if they align with the intended competitive or cooperative behaviors. Where there is dissonance, correct it.

Brian Spisak

Agile and transient teams are the emerging norm. Organizations have learned to hire cooperative and empathetic individuals who can work well in teams, yet their so-called leaders still construct highly competitive environments (for example, by encouraging teams to compete over scarce resources).

Daniel Ek

A great meeting has three key elements: the desired outcome of the meeting is clear ahead of time; the various options are clear, ideally ahead of time; and the roles of the participants are clear at the time. … I think that’s the single largest source of optimization for a company: the makeup of their meetings. To be clear, it’s not about fewer meetings because … [ Read more ]

Jon Katzenbach, Chad Gomes, Carolyn Black

Feelings are messengers of needs. Meeting needs unlocks positive feelings and energy; neglecting needs does the opposite. By integrating business objectives with meeting people’s needs, companies can make sure the strong wind of a positive emotional force is at their back. Emotions and feelings bring our needs — human requirements for survival — to our attention and strongly move us toward meeting them. 

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Our feelings … [ Read more ]

Jason Fried

If your company makes four products, it really makes five. If it makes 12, it makes 13. Even companies that make just one thing actually make two.

The secret product? The company itself. Your company is a product. Who are its customers? Your employees, who use it to do their jobs.

Since your company is the product that makes all of your other products, it should be the … [ Read more ]