Newsletter Issue 41

Every few weeks, I ask one question to a founder, CEO, manager, or business owner I respect…

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The Heartbeat Podcast: A chat with Nick Francis

Nick Francis is the CEO and Co-Founder of Help Scout, a customer service platform that serves more than 10,000 business customers (we’re in fact happy customers!). I’ve long admired Nick for how he thinks about leadership. In our conversation, we talk about self-awareness of the things you don’t know as a leader, hiring people in remote cultures vs. co-located cultures, and how the real measure of a good leader is what happens when you’re not around. Catch our full chat below…


Listen to the podcast and read the transcript of the interview here.

Have you been enjoying these Heartbeat episodes, lately? If so, it’d mean the world to me if you wrote us a review in iTunes. The more reviews we have, the more we’re able to share all our lessons from leaders. Thank you! <3


What I’ve been writing lately

How to onboard a new hire
“Recently I hired someone new here at Know Your Team. Here’s exactly what I wrote on Day 1 and the 27 questions I asked as a part of our employee onboarding process.”

What should you ask a new employee in a first one-on-one meeting?
“You’ve got your first one-on-one meeting with a new employee scheduled. Here are the 15 questions you should put on the one-on-one meeting agenda.”

What I’ve been reading lately

Confronting overconfidence in talent strategy, management, and development
“Could these leaders be succumbing to the same optimism bias that motivates three out of four people to imagine that they are above-average drivers? The answers to these questions matter: companies with very effective talent management enjoy higher total returns to shareholders than less effective competitors do.” Written by Tera Allas, Louis Chambers, and Tom Welchman, McKinsey Quarterly

How I failed
“But if you are to succeed in building an enduring company, it has to be about far more than that: it has to be about the team and the institution you create together. As a management team, you aren’t just working for the company; you have to work on the company, shaping it, tuning it, setting the rules that it will live by. And it’s way too easy to give that latter work short shrift.” Written by Tim O’Reilly, Founder of O’Reilly Media

What Climbing Expeditions Tell Us about Teamwork
“Greer and other researchers used mountain climbing as a lens to explore longstanding assumptions about group performance. For decades, academics have suggested a straightforward link between a group’s solidarity and its success: The more a group operates with a single mind, the better its execution. But this is true only under certain conditions, according to a forthcoming article in Organization Science.” Written by Dylan Walsh, Insights by Stanford Business

What Silicon Valley Can Learn From Bill Walsh’s The Score Takes Care of Itself
“But what Bill Walsh correctly points out is that the ultimate outcome metric that you are so focused on in your OKRs is not in-fact in your control. Many of the inputs to that outcome are in your control. But certainly not the outcome itself. And so what Bill is saying is that an over-fixation on that outcome metric actually doesn’t help you get there. You should instead focus on the part that you can control.” Written by Sachin Rekhi, CEO of Notejoy

What Makes a Leader?
“Research has found that when women exhibit character traits typically associated with male leadership — traits like decisiveness, authority or assertion — they are likely to be viewed as bossy, pushy or too aggressive, and some people reel at their behavior. And yet when women turn around and exhibit the qualities traditionally expected of women — like niceness, nurturing and warmth — they tend to be perceived as pushovers, too soft or not “tough enough” to do the job.” Written by Jessica Bennett, New York Times

A handy leadership tip

From our online leadership community of 1,000+ managers in The Watercooler in Know Your Team

Favorite books on leadership read this year so far:

Just for fun

Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think
My brother sent me this piece (ha!) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Know Your Team. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.

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