Mood: 😃. Content from another week of friendly faces, good bants and shared experiences.
🌹 What am I grateful for this week?
It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed the buzz of a recruiting fair. The whole setup is a bit funny if you take a step back — professional speed dating! — but I’m hoping we left good impressions across all the conversations we had. And if we piqued anyone’s interest to check us out further, hopefully they’ll also find the recruiting blog I wrote and be happy to continue the conversation.
Facilitation Friday was also a thing this week. Starting first with running the fortnightly delivery lead meeting, I was wearing both my Badger Prime and director hats, trying to review and prioritise multiple backlogs while encouraging feedback across the group. I don’t know why but I felt rather like a department head that hour.* This then rolled into me hosting a lively cell leadership brainstorm around recent account and engagement planning activities, people plans and close plans. More traditional retro facilitation, but we got lots of good insights from the group and a clear plan of attack for the next session.
Doing these back to back was a touch exhausting, but satisfying. Context switching is where the energy drain comes from, I think — I’m probably a bit less used to it being between projects at the moment. Though that might well be changing soon…!
🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?
Grateful for the couple of solid opportunities to field on the business development front right now, but admittedly I got a tad stuck at the end of one — we’d been running through our qualifying canvas at top speed, and it wasn’t entirely clear how to close given all the ground we’d covered. Perhaps a gracious “now we’ll take some time to digest” rather than feeling a need to fill the scheduled time is the better way to go.
It’s always a bit tricky to lead a group into the unknown with confidence, but such is the way with consultative sales; we have to trust in the process, and the questions we’re asking, to get us the clarity we need to determine fit. I’m just hoping we’ll have uncovered enough to bring them both to a decision point before my next holiday.
💡 What do I need to remember?
Buried in this article about a PM skill matrix is a helpful acknowledgement about performance assessments — they are always subjective, so rather than fight it, embrace it by coding the assessment around expectations:
Using expectations as a means of scoring makes clear that there won’t ever be an entirely objective opinion on the scoring. It should be according to the expectations of the company for the given role. This will be judged by the leader. Thus, it is the leaders’ responsibility to collect feedback on the skills from different people and perspectives.
But that doesn’t take away from the potential for calibration mistakes to be made; in fact, owning up to leadership means exposing yourself to making mistakes. Contrary to popular opinion (or perhaps initial instinct), this can make for a much stronger leader than the one who blindly insists they never get it wrong.
Leading means opening oneself to being publicly judged for mistakes. Scary, but necessary.
📚 What did I discover?
A timely set of booknotes from Sachin highlighting his lessons from Zero to One, namely: focusing on one distribution channel, right-sized for your CAC, not falling into lean dogma**, determining your competitive moat or “hard-to-copy advantage” to protect against the competition.
Peter Thiel's Anti-Lean Manifesto
The Lean Startup methodology, first described in 2008 by Eric Ries, has taken the startup world by storm. His 2011…
The Seeking Wisdom archives seldom disappoint, and this one had some great nuggets from Sarah around the value of impact statements in the hiring process. Simply put, state the expected impact someone should have 1, 3, 6 and 12 months into their role. Also a great idea for distinguishing senior roles from more junior ones — there ought to be a clear difference in impact!
Seeking Wisdom with David Cancel: #141: Lever's CEO on the 3 Key Elements to Hiring for…
On this episode of Seeking Wisdom, DC and DG sit down with Sarah Nahm, CEO of Lever. Sarah grew up in Alabama, studied…
There’s something really appealing about the simplicity of Gibson’s framework for a product vision: get big on X, lead on Y, expand into Z. The whole series of posts is an atlas of strategy artefacts worth reviewing.
Had a nice time at Gibney’s this week 🍷, we don’t get much SLT face time beyond the weekly sales meet nowadays. I do think there’s a ceiling to how much team-building you can do in scheduled screen time, and with society mostly opened up again, it’s making more sense to take advantage of the ‘other’ half of hybrid these days. And I’m finding that I organically spend 1–2 days a week in the office anyway — it’s not been too hard to rearrange things to encourage a bit of serendipity.
*There’s an irony here, given that we’ve recently been discussing the gap of not having a single department head. Being one of only two delivery directors at the moment, I ought to feel like I have this remit normally, but I’m always a bit wary of putting my foot down without building consensus among the group first. It’s that whole facilitative vs. directive inclination I’ve been working through over the years.
**Don’t fall into any dogma, for that matter!