Was scanning through old posts and came upon this cheat sheet I wrote a couple of years ago. As I cogitate on the future and introspect on the past, this post feels so relevant.
I had a few people ping me on my cheat sheet for team building and organization. Posting my late night top 10 list on building and running great teams. Some are even a bit contradictory (isn't that just life!).
- Have a clear mission (statement). Always. Every team needs something to stand for
- Organize the team for (over)communication and execution. Whether it is a small startup or a large company, having some basic cadence in place is key (standups, Thurs dogfood builds, weekly launches, OKRs etc find your fit). It provides a framework to operate
- Process is sometimes thought of as a bad thing. If process helps execution, then so be it. If process is used to substitute for weak leadership, lack of trust, or worse to micromanage, then push back. Hard.
- Be honest with your team. Trust them. "Buffering' the team from critical decisions/information is a recipe for disaster. I think some variation of this applies to your product's users too
- A wise colleague once said, "A leader always explains or fixes". This is amazingly true. Need to explain your decisions to your team or go fix them.
- Hang out with your team. Sit with them and talk about their life/ambitions. Make sure its a group of friends and not just a team of colleagues. There is a lot of stress in what we do, its best to go through it with friends
- The best thing you can do for your team is to back those who have potential. Work hard on their behalf, expose them to huge opportunities, open doors for them, they will fly and hopefully take the team with them
- Its ok to be very very detailed and micromanage while you build up trust. But you better build it up fast.. and then let go. Let your leads make decisions, let them own, and see how they rise to the challenge
- Make decisions. Be decisive. But thoughtfully. Sitting on the fence is painful (literally). Making random decisions without context is way worse
Be Brave. Question everything. Disagree if you think something is a mistake (but then commit if that is the plan outlined by your leader). Don't be overawed by positions/titles, ask hard questions. If someone fires you because you questioned them, its not the right org anyways.
However don't just find issues. Help solve them!