A bi-weekly newsletter on how to become a better leader, written by Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Team.

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Issue 27 Interview with Peldi Guilizzoni, Founder + CEO of Balsamiq


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

A chat with Peldi Guilizzoni

Peldi Guilizzoni is the Founder and CEO of Balsamiq, a 10-year-old, bootstrapped, $6.3+MM annual revenue company with tens of thousands of customers in 193 countries. In our conversation, Peldi reveals a very counterintuitive lesson he’s learned: Our greatest strengths as leaders often hurt us the most.

Transcript of the interview is here.

Latest reads

The Four X Factors of Exceptional Leaders
“The most difficult aspects of leadership are paradoxes, and executives must embrace them fully, and understand that leadership requires a ‘both/and’ skill set.” Written by David Reimer, Adam Bryant, and Harry Feuerstein, strategy + business

Leading from Joy vs. Leading from Fear
“Yes, I succeeded at instilling a fear of failure, but also the dejection and disappointment that comes with it. It was not a catalyst for action and motivation, but rather the opposite. As I did the post mortem on what happened, I realized I was making four huge mistakes as a leader.” Written by Andy Dunn, Founder of Bonobos

The Problem With Popular Employees
“Forty years after the end of high school, those who were once part of the cool crowd get paid 10% more than their socially excluded peers… Popularity can negatively affect decision-making and lead to suboptimal performance by fueling overconfidence.” Written by Marissa King, Wall Street Journal

The Overlooked Essentials of Employee Well-Being
“Studies going back decades have shown that job control—the amount of discretion employees have to determine what they do and how they do it—has a major impact on their physical health.” Written by Jeffrey Pfeffer, McKinsey Quarterly

“A Blinding Flash of the Obvious”
“‘Poor cross-functional coordination and communication is the principal element in the delay of everything,’ Peters says. Internal barriers, not the competitors, are the big impediment to effective execution. Getting functions to stop feuding isn’t enough; they need to actively work together in a spirited, coordinated way.” Written by Theodore Kinni, Insights by Stanford Business

Favorite reads

Putting a Price on People Problems at Work
“In the course of a day, the executives estimated wasting an average of $7,227.07 per line item per day, for a total of $144,541.30 per day, summing each of the twenty points of waste. That’s an astounding $52,757,574 of lost value and potential per year per organization on people problems.” Written by Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson, Harvard Business Review

Is It Really Lonely at the Top?
“Participants in the high-power group reported feeling less lonely and less likely to feel a need to belong than participants in the low-power group or the baseline group. And participants in the low-power group reported feeling more loneliness and a higher need to belong than participants in the other two groups.” Based on the research of Charleen R. Case, Kyle E. Conlon, Jon Maner, Adam Waytz, Eileen Chou, Joe C. Magee and Adam D. Galinsky, Kellogg Insight

Just for fun

Why Westerners Fear Robots and the Japanese Do Not
“The West, the professor contended, has a problem with the idea of things having spirits and feels that anthropomorphism, the attribution of human-like attributes to things or animals, is childish, primitive, or even bad.”


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