Managing Teams, Capacity and Work-flow; Three lessons from successful leaders to streamline work flow across departments
The concept of a core team that stays small until you really are forced to scale it up is the preferred approach of innovative companies to manage work flow. The core team concept allows for a more open style of management and culture. CEOs are intrigued by how effective this approach is in terms of helping everybody really live the business. The fundamental concept is to give people more context to their jobs which helps them better evaluate every decision they make.
The concept brings in a start-up culture that is widespread in emerging technology companies. A big part of the appeal of working with a core multifunctional team is that each team member is absorbing a lot of learning that goes beyond just being a good R&D person or a good marketer. At a broader level, a sense of impact is important for any employee, and people really underestimate that. There are no offices, and the CEO sits next to a developer, sales executive and marketer, and they hear almost every conversation, including with investors and partners if the CEO is seated in the same cluster.
Management style and organizational capacity planning
The best performing CEOs generally hire really smart people and spend enough time with them for them to know what they do. They tend to have high expectations in terms of independence of action. They see it as being about giving people a clear picture of what success means. They also accept that they underestimate the importance of giving people feedback in a more formal and regular way.
Successful CEOs always have a list of people they have either worked with or would like to work with. So they always have an ideal team list in mind. They also research individuals extensively before they interview candidates. They pre-qualify competency before they sit down with candidates, so the discussion during the interview is really an exploration of relationship and culture. It’s really about how well they would fit in a puzzle to complement other key people.
Ask the right questions
The questions asked focus on open ended qualitative topics such as: “What did you do in your career that made you happiest, and what are you most proud of?”, “What things made you really frustrated?”, “Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you didn’t feel good about, or when you had to manage an ethical challenge, and describe where that led you in your career.” CEOs say that the response to the last question is always fascinating because they never expect the question, and it’s also a good barometer of management character. The best leaders they have ever worked with are ones who delight in that question and are very introspective about it.
CEOs also ask about side projects. There’s a side project in everybody, whether it’s technology-related, or pursuing an interest and activity. CEOs focus on those because they are the things that people initiate on their own, and they’re instructive about what drives them.
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