When times are great be a voice of moderation, when times are bad be a voice of hope.
To maintain an effective organization, a managers span of control should be around 7, ranging anywhere from 4 to 10. Below this range the inefficiency of an extra organizatinal layer is larger than the benfit of a specialized group. Above this range the manager don't have time to do proper 1:1's anymore.
If you praise someone try to do it in front of an audience. If you give suggestions to improve, do it 1 on 1.
As soon as you know you'll have to let someone go, do it immediately. The team member is entitled to know where they stand. Delaying it for days or weeks causes problems with confidentiality (find out that they will be let go), causation (attributing it to another reason), and escalation (the working relationship is probably going downhill).
When performance or behavior is below par or not in line with our values we normally put someone on a performance improvement plan (PIP). However there are some exceptions to following the PIP process but in all cases managers should speak to the people operations generalist or Chief Culture Officer early on to evaluate the best solution.
Not all underperformance should be in a PIP. You may just need to realign them. Take off some tasks and see if they improve.
When addressing underperformance, don't wait. Set appropriate goals upfront, both parties are clear.
Understand that there are different ways to get to the same goal. There are different perspectives and discussions need to happen.
When someone says they are considering quitting drop everything and listen to them. Ask questions to find out what their concerns are. If you delay, the person will not feel valued and the decision will be irreversible.
In addition to announcing new team member arrivals, departures are also announced in the #general chat channel (once the Google Slack accounts are blocked, see the offboarding page and the offboarding checklist for details. We must respect the privacy of the individual concerned. If you are asked why someone has left or is leaving, please refer that person to the general guidelines section of the handbook where we describe what can and cannot be shared.
People should not be given a raise or a title because they ask for it or threaten to quit. We should pro-actively give raises and promote people without people asking. If you do it when people ask you are disadvantaging people that don't ask and you'll end up with many more people asking.
Don't refer to [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME HERE]bers as family. It is great that our team feels like a close-knit group and we should encourage that, this builds a stronger team. But families and teams are different. Families come together for the relationship and do what is critical to retain it. Teams are assembled for the task and do what is required to complete it. Don't put the relationship above the task. Besides, families don't have an an offboarding process, families should have unconditional love, teams have conditional love. The best companies are supporters of families.
Praise and credit the work of your reports to the rest of the company, never present it as your own. This and many other great lessons in an ask metafilter thread worth reading.
Try to be aware of your cognitive biases.
Great article about how to think about PIPs, although our time scales are shorter.
Do everything to unblock people. For example, if someone has a question that is keeping them from being productive, try to answer the question or find someone who can.
Communicate in a professional manner as though your words will be shared widely (e.g. published in a newspaper).
Employ multimodal communication to broadcast important decisions. To reach our distributed organization announce important decisions on the team call, email the appropriate team email lists, Slack the appropriate channels, and target 1:1's or other important meetings on the same day, with the same information
You are expected to respond on social media.
Make sure your reports experience a sense of progress in their work.
A tweet by Sam Altman combined the reply by Paul Graham says it best: "People either get shit done or they don't. And it's easy to be tricked because they can be smart but never actually do anything." Watch for results instead of articulate answers to questions, otherwise you'll take too much time to identify under-performers.
Our summits are meant for informal communication and bonding across the company. There is a limited time for business activities during the summit so all our regular meetings should happen outside of the summit. We want informal, cross team, open-ended meetings, that includes individual contributors. For example, inviting everyone including sales to suggest currently missing functionality in [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME HERE]. Formal, team restricted, structured meetings, where not everyone is welcome shouldn't happen. For example, an executive team meeting to set the yearly budget. Never delay a decision until the summit, if anything use the summit as a deadline to get things done earlier.
We don't have explicit 20% time at [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME HERE]. We measure results and not hours. If people are getting good results in the work that is assigned to them they are free to contribute to other parts of the company or work on a pet project. Don't say "your work on the pet project is hurting your performance" but say "we agreed to getting X done but it is delayed, what happened and how can I help?".
Pick a metric before launching something new. 9 out of 10 launches fail. If a project is not working out shut it down completely. Starving a team of headcount to have it die a slow death is not frugal nor motivating. Fund the winners which will still take years to break even.
Do not discuss raises in advance because the salary calculator may change before the amount of the raise is decided.
Instead of prescribing a direction to your reports it is best to ask ask questions following the Socratic debate until you're happy with the direction. Your reports will have deeper knowledge in a more narrow area, so it is easy to draw a different conclusion because they base it on different data. That is why the questions are so important.
From the common injunction at Berkshire: "Always tell us the bad news promptly. It is only the good news that can wait.". Make sure to inform your manager of bad news as quickly as possible. Promptly reporting bad news is essential to preserving the trust that is needed to recover from it.