Why a good boss likes it when people complain

My latest in Quartz… I know some managers say “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions,” but personally I don’t subscribe to it. I love when people complain to me. Of course, complaining is a national past time for the British, and we don’t just limit ourselves to complaining about the weather, or the poor […]

Read More

As a leader, your job should change every six months even if you stay put

My latest in Quartz… Leadership roles evolve, especially through periods of transition. As a leader, I have found my own role changing as challenges on the team change—around every four months I realize everything is fundamentally different, and the way I need to spend my time changes, too. Recently the number of my direct reports more […]

Read More

Does your team need to rebrand?

My latest in Quartz… Some leaders are fantastic at “team branding”—communicating about their group in ways that give the rest of the organization a good understanding of what the team is all about. Others are squarely focused on “team public relations”—telling a great story about a team that, if we looked more closely, we might […]

Read More

Where do you start when a team is broken?

My latest in Quartz… One of my friends just took over a new team and found… far more of a situation than she was expecting. She faced a choice: commit to the turnaround, or switch to something that seems like a better bet. Of course, I advocated for the turnaround. Struggling teams are places of  opportunity, both […]

Read More

The five types of communication problems that destroy company morale

My latest in Quartz… There’s a saying in software that all bugs are eventually user interface bugs, because someone has to see them to report them. In organizations, it often seems like all problems are eventually communication problems, because communication is the way we interface with each other—and the way most problems surface. There are […]

Read More

Creating the Productive Tension

When I joined the mobile team at Automattic, we had one designer – Matt Miklic, who wrote about the explerience of leading that team. However one thing I was reminded of following some of the current discussions around product development is how we thought about and approached design at the centre of the team, and […]

Read More

How to begin the invisible work of change management

My latest in Quartz… Someone once said to me “you’re good at change management” and I was like, what? I sat with the idea for a couple of weeks and eventually realized: Oh! That is what I do! I take teams that are struggling and help them focus, align, and start delivering at their potential, […]

Read More

The Cost of Fixing Things

In September, I disappeared in Seoul and caused everyone who cares about me to think I was having some kind of breakdown. I deactivated my Twitter account, and refused to engage with anyone other than my closest friends. I got to the point where I felt I had to drop everything, and then I came […]

Read More

Phase 1 of Hiring, Getting from 0-30

Towards the end of 2017, we reopened hiring on the mobile team at Automattic which had been shut since the start of the year as we got things in order. I think of this as phase 1 of hiring on the team – nailing the basics of the process, and making some progress with diversity […]

Read More

Why you can’t manage humans like they’re software

My latest in Quartz… Early on at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos famously issued a memo about how software was to be built at the company. Teams would share their data through service interfaces, or APIs, the same way that they would share it with an outside customer. That meant that a developer on one team […]

Read More