leadership

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Bottom Line: A leader has ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of an operation and should have extreme ownership of it. The laws of combat are: Cover and Move, Keep It Simple, Prioritize and Execute, and Decentralized Command.

INTRO

Leaders cast no blame. They make no excuses. Instead of complaining about challenges or setbacks, they develop solutions and solve problems. They leverage assets, relationships, and resources to get the job done.

Their own egos take a back seat to the mission and their troops.

Once people stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in their lives, they are compelled to take action to solve their problems.

Taking ownership for mistakes and failures is hard.

The principles of good leadership do not change.

Laws of Combat: Cover and Move, Simple, Prioritize and Execute, and Decentralized Command.

Without a team — a group of individuals working to accomplish a mission — there can be no leadership.

The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.

Effective leaders lead successful teams that accomplish their mission and win.

Often our mistakes provided the greatest lessons, humbled us, and enabled us to grow and become better.

The best leaders are not driven by ego or personal agendas .

How a junior leader was brought up depended entirely on the strength, experience, and patient guidance of a mentor.

Leadership training curriculum builds a strong foundation for all SEAL leaders.

It’s a myth that military leadership is easy because subordinates robotically and blindly follow orders.

Military personnel must believe in the plan they are asked to execute, and most importantly, they must believe in and trust the leader they are asked to follow.

Combat leadership requires getting a diverse team of people in various groups to execute highly complex missions in order to achieve strategic goals.

Extreme Ownership: Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.

PART I: WINNING THE WAR WITHIN

CH 1: EXTREME OWNERSHIP

In any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.

If an individual on the team is not performing at the level required for the team to succeed, the leader must train and mentor that underperformer.

if the underperformer continually fails to meet standards, then a leader who exercises Extreme Ownership must be loyal to the team and the mission above any individual. If underperformers cannot improve, the leader must make the tough call to terminate them and hire others who can get the job done.

A leader, however, does not take credit for his or her team’s successes.

It is the direct responsibility of a leader to get people to listen, support, and execute plans. You can’t make people do those things You have to lead them.

it was almost always the leaders’ attitudes that determined whether their SEAL units would ultimately succeed or fail.

The team sees Extreme Ownership in their leaders, and , as a result, they emulate Extreme Ownership throughout the chain of command down to the most junior personnel.

CH 2: NO BAD TEAMS, ONLY BAD LEADERS

One of the most fundamental and important truths at the heart of Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

Leadership is the single greatest factor in any team’s performance.

Leaders must accept total responsibility, own problems that inhibit performance, and develop solutions to those problems.

When it comes to standards, as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.

If substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable, if there are no consequences, that poor performance becomes the new standard.

Leaders must enforce standards.

Leaders must pull the different elements within the team together to support one another.

Once a culture of Extreme Ownership is built into the team at every level, the entire team performs well, and performance continues to improve.

Every team must have junior leaders ready to step up.

The best teams anywhere, like the SEAL Teams, are constantly looking to improve, add capability, and push the standards higher.

This thinking starts with the leader and continues until this becomes the culture, the new standard.

CH 3: BELIEVE

A leader must be a true believer in the mission.

A resolute belief in the mission is critical for any team or organization to win.

If frontline leaders and troops understand why, they can move forward, fully believing in what they are doing.

Take the time to explain and answer the questions of the junior leaders.

Frontline troops never have as clear an understanding of the strategic picture as senior leaders might anticipate.

Belief in the mission ties in with the fourth Law of Combat: Decentralized Command. The leader must explain not just what to do, but why.

CH 4: CHECK THE EGO

Discipline starts with the little things: high-and-tight haircuts, a clean shave every day, and uniforms maintained.

Ego clouds and disrupts everything.

Often, the most difficult ego to deal with is your own.

When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues.

Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility.

Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.

Ego can prevent a leader from conducting an honest, realistic assessment of his or her own performance and the performance of the team.

We strive to be confident , but not cocky.

PART II: THE LAWS OF COMBAT

CH 5: COVER AND MOVE

Cover and Move: it is the most fundamental tactic.

Cover and Move means teamwork.

Departments and groups within the team must break down silos, depend on each other and understand who depends on them.

Leaders must continually keep perspective on the strategic mission and remind the team that they are part of the greater team and the strategic mission is paramount.

Each member of the team is critical to success.

If the overall team fails, everyone fails, even if a specific member or an element within the team did their job successfully.

Pointing fingers and placing blame on others contributes to further dissension between teams and individuals.

Individuals and teams must find a way to work together, communicate with each other, and mutually support one another.

Focus must always be on how to best accomplish the mission.

When the team succeeds, everyone within and supporting that team succeeds.

Accomplishing the strategic mission is the highest priority.

CH 6: SIMPLE

Simplifying as much as possible is crucial to success.

Plans and orders must be communicated in a manner that is simple, clear, and concise.

Frontline troops need to ask questions that clarify when they do not understand the mission or key tasks to be performed.

Simplicity is key. If the plan is simple enough, everyone understands it, which means each person can rapidly adjust and modify what he or she is doing.

If the plan is too complex, the team can’t make rapid adjustments to it, because there is no baseline understanding of it.

Standard operating procedures should always kept as simple as possible .

CH 7: PRIOTIZE AND EXECUTE

A leader must remain calm and make the best decisions possible.

Prioritize and Execute.

Relax, look around, make a call.

When overwhelmed, fall back upon this principle: Prioritize and Execute.

Stay at least a step or two ahead with contingency planning.

Through careful contingency planning, a leader can anticipate likely challenges that could arise during execution and map out an effective response to those challenges before they happen.

If the team has been briefed and understands what actions to take through such likely contingencies, the team can then rapidly execute when those problems arise, even without specific direction from leaders.

It is crucial for leaders to pull themselves off the firing line, step back, and maintain the strategic picture.

Senior leaders must help subordinate team leaders within their team prioritize their efforts.

Evaluate the highest priority problem. Then develop and determine a solution. Then direct the execution of that solution. Then move on to the next highest priority problem. Then repeat.

Don’t let the focus on one priority cause target fixation. Maintain the ability to see other problems developing and rapidly shift as needed.

CH 8: DECENTRALIZED COMMAND

Human beings are generally not capable of managing more than six to ten people.

Teams must be broken down into manageable elements of four to five operators, with a clearly designated leader.

Leaders must understand the overall mission and the Commander’s Intent.

Junior leaders must be empowered to make decisions.

Teams within teams are organized for maximum effectiveness.

Every tactical-level team leader must understand not just what to do but why they are doing it.

Junior leaders must fully understand what is within their decision-making authority.

Tactical leaders must be confident that they clearly understand the strategic mission and Commander’s Intent.

Situational awareness: senior leaders must communicate constantly to their subordinates.

When leaders try to take on too much themselves, there is chaos.

The fix is to empower frontline leaders through Decentralized Command and ensure they are running their teams to support the overall mission, without micromanagement from the top.

Battlefield aloofness: leaders who are so far removed from the troops executing on the frontline that they become ineffective.

Leaders must be free to move to where they are most needed, which changes throughout the course of an operation.

Understanding proper positioning as a leader is a key component of effective Decentralized Command.

In chaotic, dynamic, and rapidly changing environments, leaders at all levels must be empowered to make decisions.

Decentralized Command is a key component to victory.

PART III: SUSTAINING VICTORY

CH 9: PLAN

What’s the mission? Planning begins with mission analysis.

Leaders must identify clear directives for the team.

Once leaders themselves understand the mission, they can impart this knowledge to their key leaders and frontline troops tasked with executing the mission.

A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep.

The mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and specifically focused to achieve the greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part.

The mission must explain the overall purpose and desired result.

Frontline troops tasked with executing the mission must understand the deeper purpose behind the mission.

The Commander’s Intent is actually the most important part of the brief.

Leaders must delegate the planning process down the chain as much as possible to key subordinate leaders.

Tactical-level leaders must have ownership of their tasks.

Giving the frontline troops ownership of even a small piece of the plan gives them buy in, helps them understand the reasons behind the plan, and better enables them to believe in the mission, which translates to far more effective implementation and execution.

Th senior leader supervises the entire planning process but must be careful not to get bogged down in the details.

Once the detailed plan has been developed, it must then be briefed to the entire team and all participants and supporting elements.

Leaders must prioritize the information to be presented in as simple, clear, and concise a format as possible.

The planning and briefing must be a forum that encourages discussion, questions, and clarification.

Leaders must ask questions of their troops to ensure understanding of the plan.

The test for a successful brief is simple: Do the team and the supporting elements understand it?

Detailed contingency plans help manage risk.

We conduct what we called a post-operational debrief after each combat operation to see what worked and what didn’t work and help improve future planning.

Planning must be standardized so that it can be repeatable and guide users with a checklist.

A leader’s checklist for planning:
Analyze the mission.
Identify personnel, assets, resources, and time available.
Decentralize the planning
Determine a specific (simple, if possible) course of action.
Empower key leaders to develop the plan for the selected course of action.
Plan for likely contingencies.
Mitigate risks.
Delegate portions of the plan and brief to key junior leaders.
Continually check and question the plan.
Brief the plan to all participants and supporting assets.
Conduct post – operational debrief after execution.
Establishing an effective and repeatable planning process is critical to the success of any team . ”

CH 10: LEADING UP AND DOWN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND

It is paramount that senior leaders explain to their junior leaders and troops executing the mission how their role contributes to big picture success.

Leaders must routinely communicate with their team members to help them understand their role in the overall mission.

Frontline leaders and troops can then connect the dots between what they do every day and how that impacts the company’s strategic goals.

This understanding helps the team members prioritize their efforts in a rapidly changing, dynamic environment.

It requires regularly stepping out of the office and personally engaging in face-to-face conversations with direct reports and observing the frontline troops in action to understand their particular challenges and read them into the Commander’s Intent.

The team must understand why they are doing what they are doing.

CH 11: DECISIVENESS AMID UNCERTAINTY

In order to succeed, leaders must be comfortable under pressure, and act on logic, not emotion.

Leaders cannot be paralyzed by fear .

It is critical for leaders to act decisively amid uncertainty.

There is no 100 percent right solution.

Waiting for the 100 percent right and certain solution leads to delay, indecision, and an inability to execute.

CH 12: DISCIPLINE EQUALS FREEDOM

Discipline starts every day when the first alarm clock goes off in the morning. I say “first alarm clock” because I have three – one electric, one battery powered, one windup. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail.

Discipline was really the difference between being good and being exceptional.

The best SEALs had the most discipline. They worked out every day. They studied tactics and technology. They practiced their craft.

Although discipline demands control and asceticism, it actually results in freedom.

The more disciplined standard operating procedures (SOPs) a team employs, the more freedom they have to practice Decentralized Command.

Instead of making us more rigid and unable to improvise, the discipline of an SOP actually made us more flexible, more adaptable, and more efficient. It allowed us to be creative.

When things went wrong and the fog of war set in, we fell back on our disciplined procedures.

The balance between discipline and freedom must be found and carefully maintained.

Leaders who lose their temper also lose respect.

Confident but never cocky.

Brave but not foolhardy.

Competitive spirit but also be gracious losers.

Attentive to details but not obsessed by them.

Humble but not passive.

Quiet but not silent.

Leaders know to pace themselves and their teams so that they can maintain a solid performance indefinitely.

Leaders admit mistakes and failures.

Leaders are close with subordinates but not too close .

Leaders understand the motivations of their team members

Leaders exercise Extreme Ownership and also Decentralized Command.

Leaders take care of the team and look out for their long-term interests.

Strategy Concepts of Bill Belichick

The Big Idea: Bill Belichick built a dynasty around on a culture of accountability, continuous improvement, strategic flexibility, and detailed preparation.

Part 1: Culture

  • “Do your job” is the New England Patriots mission statement.
  • The goal is to improve on a daily basis, work hard, pay attention to the little details, and put the team first.
  • Belichick makes sure that the goals set out are achievable.
  • Work as hard at it as we can and improve on a daily basis.
  • Emphasis on individual performance in a team setting creates a feedback loop that raises the performance of the entire team.
  • Without having to worry about the next person, each individual player is able to put their complete focus, dedication, and effort into their own task, which raises the performance of the entire team.
  • No one will be willing to follow someone who isn’t competent at their own job.
  • There are many types of leadership styles.
  • It’s impossible to deal with everyone on an individual basis on a daily basis so Belichick relies upon managers and department heads to keep him informed.
  • Having the right people as captains was critical.
  • Belichick strives to make sure that the right people are in the right positions.
  • Players on the team vote for the team captains ,
  • Players buy into the Patriots’ culture due to Belichick addressing any problems quickly.
  • Hold people accountable for their actions.
  • Belichick views self-evaluation and holding each player accountable as a key part of his coaching strategy.
  • The only way for us as a team to get a championship level is to continue to evaluate ourselves, and we have to look at what we’ve done and critically analyze ourselves.
  • We can’t hire a consultant to come in and fix our problems.
  • The only way for us to get better is to do our own R & D.
  • Everyone in the organization must study, learn, and strive to get better.
  • Everyone must have an open mindset and be willing to learn and be evaluated.
  • Willingness to accept feedback comes with “a certain amount of humility.”
  • Understand that mistakes are not fatal. Only by addressing the problem can things improve.

Part 2: Preparation

  • Bill Belichick’s father was also a football coach and collected an extensive library of football books.
  • Four hundred and thirteen books served as the foundation of Bill Belichick’s football knowledge.
  • Belichick insists “Bill Walsh: Finding the Winning Edge: is the greatest piece of football literature regarding a franchise blueprint ever written.
  • He is constantly adding to his expertise by finding new information and ideas to win football games.
  • He doesn’t care where the ideas come from, or who offers the ideas.
  • During staff meetings with his coaches, he first asks his staff for their ideas and suggestions.
  • He’s not so full of himself that he won’t listen and tap into any source for an edge.
  • Belichick extensive use of analytics is one of his primary competitive strategies.
  • The work ethic of Bill Belichick is legendary.
  • They know there are nights when Belichick sleeps at Gillette.
  • When everyone else is sleeping, or tweeting, or playing Madden, or lounging around, Belichick is studying the game.
  • One method that Belichick teaches his players is through the use of daily quizzes.
  • No one commands a depth of knowledge quite like Belichick.
  • Everyone is expected to study, regardless of their role on the team and how much playing time they are expected to have.
  • These quizzes and intense preparation clearly pays off.
  • For players who are unable to keep up, Belichick will quickly weed them out.
  • When guys get there they either buy in immediately or they are so overwhelmed that they want out.
  • With the ball on the one-yard line, the Seattle Seahawks threw a pass play that was intercepted by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler. Butler, an undrafted free agent, was coached and prepared by Bill Belichick and told to be ready for that play.

Part 3: Performance

  • How exactly does Belichick ignore the distractions? He places the entire organization’s focus on the next game.
  • Belichick will refuse any interview that has to do with the past because he’s solely focused on the next game.
  • Based on his knowledge and constant learning, Belichick is always innovating.
  • Despite the heavy criticism for what was essentially the right call on 4th and 2, Belichick did not let the negative outcome affect his decision-making process and would make the same call again.
  • If you know the history of the game, you understand that it’s a changing game.
  • He isn’t afraid or held prisoner to a certain way of doing things because he knows that change is constant.
  • Belichick realized that a faster tempo was becoming a competitive advantage.
  • Belichick entire strategy of winning games is based upon exploiting and attacking the weakness of his opponent.
  • The core tenets of Bill Belichick’s football program always will remain the same. Versatility is key. Do your job. Hide your weakness and attack their’s.
  • Even at 63 years old and with four Super Bowl rings on his nightstand, he’s constantly seeking out new information and his plan of attack is evolving.
  • By bringing in smart football players and combining it with his mental training, Belichick is able to create a smart, fast moving team.
  • Belichick cross-trains his coaching assistants. Belichick trains his coaching staff to be able to coach both sides of the ball and to be able to move where needed.
  • Unlike the many coaches who identify with a particular style or tree, Belichick isn’t locked into a singular ideology.
  • Belichick’s greatness has never stemmed from a Big Idea — unless the Big Idea is the relentless application of many Little Ideas.

10 Keys to Success

  1. Clearly define the roles of everyone in the organization.
  2. Hold people accountable for their roles , and help them when they accept responsibility.
  3. The most vocal person isn’t necessary the leader. Be on the lookout for people who are doing their job well in a quiet manner.
  4. Improvement takes place on a daily basis.
  5. You must take the time to learn about the larger trends in your industry.
  6. The goal is to “move the football”, not prove that your way of doing things is the right way.
  7. Use any source that can help you gain an advantage.
  8. Your strategy must be tailored to your current situation. What worked in one situation will not necessary work in another situation.
  9. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t get caught up in any distractions.
  10. Control what you can. You can control your effort and your decision – making process. You cannot control results and outcomes.

The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh

The Big Idea: focus on fundamentals and execution (The Standard of Performance), instead of focusing on the score and on the competition.

Part I: My Standard of Performance

  • Failure is a part of success. Everyone gets knocked down.
  • The Standard of Performance is the set of core values, principles, and ideals that define the organization. Implementing the Standard of Performance is more important than any strategies and tactics you might implement.
  • Bill Walsh wanted the 49ers to be the pinnacle of professionalism in the NFL.
  • Practices were precise and demanding, never sloppy.
  • Continuous improvement was more important than victory.
  • Character, intelligence, work ethic, and fit was more important than raw talent.
  • The leader’s job is to teach and to encourage everyone else to teach.
  • Champions behave like champions before they are champions.
  • If you place a premium on fundamentals and consistent execution, you can perform reliably in big games and in big moments.

Part II: Innovation, Planning, and Common Sense

  • Innovation is often born out of necessity and resourcefulness.
  • Always be quick to share credit (and accept blame.)
  • Contingency planning was one of the 49ers’ secret weapons. Be prepared for anything. Hail Mary’s are not a strategy.
  • Analyze your vulnerabilities and take action to counter or protect them.
  • The truth is hidden in the numbers. Follow key metrics more closely then big milestones or wins/losses.

Part III: Fundamentals of Leadership

  • There are many equally valid leadership styles.
  • The common trait, however, is an indomitable will to succeed.
  • Know when to persevere and know when to quit. It’s a delicate balance that requires distinguishing a good plan from a bad plan.
  • Sweat the small stuff, but only the small stuff that actually matters.
  • Leaders must be both subject matter experts and delegation experts.
  • Leaders teach others and show the entire organization how to teach each other.
  • You don’t need to shout, stomp, and strut to be a good leader. Joe Montana was a quiet but incredibly effective leader.
  • Treat people like people.
  • Maintain a positive atmosphere.
  • Know that humor has its place.
  • Give no VIP treatment.
  • Show interest in your people and their families.
  • Don’t let animosity linger.
  • Praise is more powerful than blame.
  • Discipline is based on pride in the profession and attention to details.
  • Officers must be seen on the front lines during action.
  • Bill Walsh’s praise was sparse but meaningful.
  • Employees thrive in an environment where they know exactly what is expected of them.
  • Don’t mistake activity for achievement. — John Wooden
  • Being a good listener is the key to good communication.
  • Don’t let rank, titles, or status impede open communication.
  • Leadership is about teaching skills, attitudes, and goals to the organization.
  • Persistence is essential because knowledge is rarely imparted on the first attempt. You must drill over and over.

Part IV: Essentials of a Winning Team

  • High expectations of your team are the key to winning.
  • Let your people know they are part of something special.
  • You are only as good as your people, so hire only the best.
  • Traits to look for in hires: skills, energy and enthusiasm, ability to spot talent, ability to communicate, loyalty to others.
  • How to keep people working well together: clear expectations, open communication, flexibility in method (but not core values), alignment with core values.
  • Be aware that success can breed over-confidence and complacency.
  • Place a premium on people who exhibit great desire to push themselves. (Ronnie Lott and Roger Craig)
  • Ego can kill an organization.
  • Never ignore the front-line (guys in the trenches) because they will generally pave the way to success or failure.
  • The most powerful way to maximize someone’s potential is to say, “I believe in you.”
  • There are times to sprint, but success is more like a marathon than a sprint.
  • You can’t teach work ethic or willpower.
  • Don’t waste energy on enemies.
  • Focus on the process, not the prize.
  • Make your own mentors by seeking out experts and asking questions.

Part V: Looking For Lessons in My Mirror

  • Jerry Rice and Joe Montana are in the Hall of Fame because of their focus on fundamentals.
  • The starting point for everything is work ethic.
  • Teach your team how to teach their team. Build an organization of teachers.
  • What goes around comes around. Treat people well.
  • Know how to delegate well.
  • Eliminate bad hires or toxic people quickly and compassionately.
  • The best marketing strategy is to build a good product.
  • Don’t expect quick results. Building a winning organization takes time.

High Output Management by Andy Grove

The Big Idea: Understand the principles of factory production and apply them to business management.

Chapter 1: The Basics of Production

  • Focus efforts on identifying and fixing the bottleneck (limiting step) in the workflow

Chapter 2: Managing The Breakfast Factory

  • Define good KPI’s.
  • Understand JIT inventory management.
  • Automate things to improve work leverage.

Chapter 3: Managerial Leverage

  • Judge a manager by the results of his team.
  • Results are what matter; not effort.
  • Most of a manager’s time is spent acquiring information, which is critical to making good decisions.
  • The most important resource for a manager is his time.
  • Being prepared for meetings saves a lot of other people’s time.
  • Investing time preventing someone important from quitting saves lots of time finding a replacement.
  • New employee orientations are important to do well since new employees are most impressionable.
  • Meddling too much can hurt performance in the long-run.
  • Delegation is another way to improve leverage.
  • When you delegate, you must still monitor and follow up.
  • When reviewing reports, ask to see the rough draft to add feedback as early as possible.
  • Batch similar tasks together to save time.
  • Use your calendar to manage your work and minimize interruptions.
  • Have some free-time projects to tackle during downtime.
  • Six to eight subordinates is about right.
  • Minimize interruptions and documenting FAQs, delegating, batching, and having fast access to information (KPI).

Chapter 4: Meetings

  • Meetings have a bad name, but they add lots of value if done well.
  • Regular meetings allow managers to batch decisions and batch information sharing.
  • One-on-ones are great for teaching, sharing information, and building relationship.
  • One-on-ones can start out weekly and move to monthly.
  • One-on-ones should be about an hour.
  • Staff meetings are to discuss issues and offer solutions.
  • Staff meetings should have an agenda and an open discussion session.
  • Mission oriented meetings are ad-hoc and designed to produce a key decision.

Chapter 5: Decisions

  • Be wary of groupthink in group decisions.
  • Be wary of peer-plus-one in group decisions, where everyone automatically agrees with the senior manager’s opinion.

Chapter 6: Planning

  • Understand basic factory production principles.
  • Apply Management By Objectives (Key Objective, Key Results) and review every quarter or every month.

Chapter 7: The Breakfast Factory Goes National (Scaling)

  • The central tradeoffs when scaling is centralization/decentralization.  (Buddhism/Catholicism in Scaling Up Excellence.)

Chapter 8: Hybrid Organizations

  • Mission-oriented companies are completely decentralized.  Units work towards the mission but operate independently.
  • Functional companies are completely centralized.
  • Most companies are a hybrid of mission-oriented and functional.

Chapter 9: Dual Reporting

  • Matrix management means employees can have two supervisors (their business unit supervisor and their functional unit supervisor.)
  • For example: a controller can report to the CFO and also to the business unit general manager.

Chapter 10: Modes of Control

  • Sometimes you will motivate by money, sometimes by contract, and sometimes by shared cultural values.

Chapter 11: The Sports Analogy

  • Management is a team activity.
  • Employee performance is a function of training and motivation.
  • Understand where on Maslow’s Hierarchy the employee is at.
  • Most people are competitive and motivation is a given in competitive sports, so try and turn work into a game by providing instant feedback and metrics.

Chapter 12: Task-Relevant Maturity

  • Provide detailed instructions to an inexperienced employee.
  • Establish monitoring and then give experienced employees freedom and autonomy.

Chapter 13: Performance Appraisals

  • Performance reviews are absolutely necessary.
  • Level, listen, and leave yourself out.
  • Document everything.
  • Give the review in writing, first, and then meet later in person to review.

Chapter 14: Two Difficult Tasks

  • Interviewing is just about impossible.
  • Do everything you can to save a valued employee who wants to quit.

Chapter 15: Compensation as Task-Relevant Feedback

  • Some employees view salary as a means to pay for living expenses.  Some employees view salary as a measuring stick to compare to others.
  • Performance bonuses should be partly individual, partly team, and partly organization.
  • Performance bonuses should be linked to objective metrics.

Chapter 16: Why Training Is the Boss’s Job

  • Don’t hire external trainers to train employees if you can do it yourself.
  • Managers should learn how to teach a formal course to employees.

 

Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao

THE BIG IDEA

Scaling is a ground war, not just an air war. Scaling requires grinding it out; building the organization brick by brick, day after day. One more metaphor…it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

META LESSONS

1. All scaling issues are basically the same across all organizations and industries.
2. Scaling entails more than the Problem of More. You must grow AND get better.
3. People who are adept at scaling excellence are comfortable with the uncertainty and mess that accompanies scaling.
4. Scaling starts and ends with individuals.

SCALING MANTRAS

1. Spread a mindset, not just a footprint.
Running up the numbers and putting your logo on as many people and places as possible isn’t enough.
Examples: Facebook Bootcamp

2. Engage all the senses.
Bolster the mindset you want to spread with supportive sights, sounds, smells, and other subtle cues that people may barely notice, if at all.
Examples: Disney theme parks

3. Link short-term realities to long-term dreams.
Hound yourself and others with questions about what it takes to link the never-ending now to the sweet dreams you hope to realize later.
Examples: Stanford Directors College

4. Accelerate accountability
Build in the feeling that “I own the place and the place owns me.”
Examples: NovoEd

5. Fear the clusterfug.
The terrible trio of illusion, impatience, and incompetence are ever-present risks. Healthy doses of worry and self-doubt are antidotes to these three hallmarks of scaling clusterfugs.
Examples: Oracle Financials at Stanford

6. Scaling requires both addition and subtraction.
The problem of more is also a problem of less. What got us here won’t get us there. There is time to take down the scaffolding.
Examples: IDEO, Cost Plus Market

7. Slow down to scale faster – and better – down the road.
Learn when and how to shift gears from automatic, mindless, and fast modes of thinking (system 1) to slow, taxing, logical, deliberative, and conscious modes (system 2); sometimes the best advice is, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

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PART I. SETTING THE STAGE
Chapter 1. It’s a Ground War, Not Just an Air War
Chapter 2. Buddhism Versus Catholicism

PART II. SCALING PRINCIPLES
Chapter 3. Hot Causes, Cool Solutions
Chapter 4. Cut Cognitive Load: But Deal with Necessary Complexity
Chapter 5. The People Who Propel Scaling: Build Organizations Where “I Own the Place and the Place Owns Me”
Chapter 6. Connect People and Cascade Excellence: Using Social Bonds to Spread the Right Mindset
Chapter 7. Bad Is Stronger Than Good: Clearing the Way for Excellence

PART III. PARTING POINTS
Chapter 8. Did This, Not That: Imagine You’ve Already Succeeded

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PART I. SETTING THE STAGE

Chapter 1. It’s a Ground War, Not Just an Air War; Going Slower to Scale Faster (and Better) Later
-scaling requires grinding it out
-make one small change after another, day after day
-never leave well enough alone
it’s a marathon, not a sprint
-7 scaling mantras (see above)

Chapter 2. Buddhism Versus Catholicism
-Buddhism: mindset guides behavior, but actions and practices vary wildly, KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut in China, Joie de Vivre hotels,
-Catholicism: actions and practices are replicated identically, In-N-Out, See’s Candies
-constant tension between replicating tried-and-true practices and modifying them (or inventing new ones) to fit local conditions
success requires balance between Buddhism and Catholicism
-examples: IKEA in China, Atul Gawande and surgical standardization, Girl Scouts of Northern California, Starbucks, McDonald’s
-start with a great template and customize it
customization of a template instills a sense of ownership in people
-references: Mindset by Carol Dweck, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
-scaling tradeoff “alone versus together”: shunning partners can slow growth but retain quality and consistency
-scaling tradeoff “more versus better”: grow faster might cost quality, sometimes quality can rebound
understand these tradeoffs and make a clear decision

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PART II. SCALING PRINCIPLES

Chapter 3. Hot Causes, Cool Solutions
-a hot cause (crisis) triggers attention, emotional energy, and commitment
-when changing a culture, focus on both beliefs and actions
-when getting people to rally behind a hot cause, the key is creating experiences that generate “communities of feeling”
-it is harder to break a commitment when you have proclaimed it publicly
don’t foster a heroic mindset, where problems are continuously resolved with quick fixes by heroes instead of finding permanent solutions
-focus on creating good systems and a continuous improvement mindset
-strategy: name the problem to galvanize efforts, ex: “date rape”, “100,000 Lives Campaign”
-strategy: name the enemy to create some team spirit, ex: Apple vs Microsoft
-strategy: make efforts highly visible, Cialdini’s public commitments and accountability, ex: Gandhi’s Salt March
-strategy: breach assumptions, ex: IDEO CEO desk
-strategy: create gateway experiences and on-ramps, ex: teddy bear, security blanket, Chrysler factory cleanups,
-strategy: new/better rituals, Omnicell coatracks to check ego at the door
-strategy: lean on people who can’t leave well enough alone, identify and promote change promoters, ex: Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy Mathers
-tradeoff between poetry and plumbing, poetry can inspire people, plumbing makes things work
-example: Stanford bike helmets and smashed watermelons

Chapter 4: Cut Cognitive Load
-new rules, processes, and technologies can create cognitive overload
-cognitive overload can obscure focus, lower motivation, increase errors, decrease effectiveness
as teams get bigger, individual performance suffers
-J. Richard Hackman rule of thumb: no more than 10 people in one work team
-Dunbar number is 150 people
-at some point, bloated bureaucracies overwhelm the advantages of greater scale
-most startups are too small to suffer from Big Dumb Company disease but lessons still apply
people say they dislike hierarchies, but studies show they are happier, calmer, and more productive when power and status differences are present and well understood
-strategy: subtraction is a way of life, routinely refactor to remove bureaucracy
-ex: scaffolding in construction is needed at the beginning but always removed
-A.G. Lafley: keep things Sesame Street Simple
-strategy: make people squirm, killing bureaucracy is always a little scary, ex: Pixar’s Incredibles
-strategy: bring on the load buster (subtraction by addition), tools that focus attention to what matters, ex: Sberbank’s traffic light system, ex: checklists
-strategy: divide and conquer, divide large teams into smaller teams, ex: hospital pods, carefully think through coordination between small teams, bonus for team/organization performance not individual performance, ex: Ben Horowitz Freaky Friday
-strategy: bolster collective brainpower
-stick with savvy insiders and stable teams over new hires and new blood
-put together people who’ve worked together on new teams
-a team of smart people doesn’t automatically mean success
-fatigue and burnout hurts performance and decision making, so make sure everyone gets plenty of physical and mental rest
-it’s a marathon, not a sprint
-more hiring, more processes, and more rules are inevitable but wait until they are absolutely necessary
-Ben Horowitz says “give ground grudgingly”

Chapter 5: The People Who Propel Scaling
effective scaling requires people who care about the company and the customers
-Netflix pays top dollar to have stars at every position, then expects that they “act in Netflix’s best interest”
-alternatively, Japanese food service Tamago-Ya hires high school dropouts, give them lots of training and support, and receives loyalty and effort in return
-organizations that scale well avoid the trap of hiring “high-priced stars” to fix issues, instead they do the deep thinking and demanding work required to install, spread, and sustain excellence
-talent x accountability = scaling excellence
-strategy: squelch free-riding
-at about 20 people, if startups aren’t careful, new hires will feel like employees not owners
-at P&G, managers who fail to share ideas simply don’t get promoted
-GE evaluates managers based on leadership (including supporting GE’s culture) and performance
-moving out bad apples (free riders) is almost as important as hiring the right people
-strategy: inject pride and righteous anger
-Netflix treats the company like a competitive sports team, not a family, to focus employees on winning
-strategy: bring in guilt-prone leaders
-leaders who worry about their performance tend to be action-oriented and put the needs of others ahead of their own
-strategy: use subtle cues to prime accountability, ex: pair of eyes on the wall
-strategy: create the right gene pool, hire carefully early on
-a company becomes the people it hires, because founders and first employees create the culture
-founders tend to believe they are destined for greatness, and this belief gives them resiliency, persistency, and persuasiveness
-people shape the culture, and the culture then shapes the people, ex: Tata CEO Factory
-strategy: use other organizations are your HR, ex: hire from Teach for America, military, Stanford
-strategy: hire people prewired to fit your mindset, ex: Specialisterne hiring autistic workers

Chapter 6: Connect People and Cascade Excellence
-scaling hinges on discovering pockets of excellence and connecting them to others, then the excellence spreads on its own like dominoes
amateurs discuss strategy, professionals discuss logistics –US Army
-having a diverse change group propels scaling because diverse people interact with diverse groups of people
-look for master multipliers, high energy people who can spread the excellence broadly, ex: Hayden Fry, ex: Dr. William Halsted
bring on energizers, people with lots of positive energy to infect others with, ex: Facebook Chris Cox
-implement savvy gamification, ex: Rite-Solutions Mutual Fun for idea generation
-seven tools for activating domino chains of excellence: top down, broadcast your message out to one and all, have the many teach the few, one on one, from the few to the many, brokers, create crossroads and meeting places
-create a common heart beat through stand up meetings, 2-4 week sprints
-scaling is propelled by leaders who think and act like connectors

Chapter 7: Bad is Stronger than Good
-a little bit of negativity can undermine a lot of good work
when one deadbeat or asshole joins a small team, performance can drop 30%-40%
-8 strategies for getting rid of bad: nip it in the bud, get rid of bad apples, plumbing before poetry, adequacy before excellence, use the cool kids, kill the thrill, time shifting, focus on the best/worst/end

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PART III. PARTING POINTS

Chapter 8. Did This, Not That: Imagine You’ve Already Succeeded
-Daniel Kahnamann’s premortem: imagine failure and try to explain what happened, imagine success and try to explain what happened
most high-growth startups fail because they grew too big too fast
-ask your team, are we happy living in the world we built?

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

This one’s a classic business book by the dean of business thinking.

  1. Effective executives know where their time goes
  2. Effective executives focus on results
  3. Effective executives build on strengths
  4. Effective executives focus on the 80/20
  5. Effective executives make effective decision

1. Effective executives know where their time goes

  • people can be very time consuming
  • be slow to hire and hire only good people
  • track your time and prune time wasters
  • beware the recurrent crisis b/c these should be foreseeable/preventable
  • a well-managed plant is usually quiet and boring
  • time-wasters often result from overstaffing
  • too many meetings indicate poor organizational structure or employees with the wrong skill set
  • consider working from home one day a week or in the morning

2. Effective executives focus on results

  • efforts don’t matter, only results matter
  • three types of results are: 1) direct production, 2) culture building, 3) employee development
  • four requirements of effective workplace: communications, teamwork, self-development, development of others
  • effective meetings have a clear purpose that relates directly to the corporate mission

3. Effective executives build on strengths

  • promote based on the candidates strengths
  • strong people often have strong weaknesses
  • identify the right person to fit the role. Rarely change the job to fit the person.
  • do not hunt for a genius to do the impossible, redesign the job
  • make each job demanding and big

4. Effective executives focus on the 80/20

  • this is the secret to success
  • do first things first and do one thing at a time
  • success is not a sprint, it’s a marathon
  • stay lean by discarding anything that’s not working
  • always prioritize work based on opportunity not problem

5. Effective executives make effective decisions

  • don’t worry about unimportant decisions, worry only about important ones
  • if a problem is general, solve it generally and establish a rule
  • identify the criteria to determine if the problem is solved
  • afterwards, test to see if the problem was solved
  • one does not argue with a hypothesis, one tests it
  • encourage disagreement because disagreement often leads to alternate solutions
  • sometimes decisions are like surgery, the best option is to do nothing