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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The four layers of communication in a functional team

My latest in Quartz… Functional teams have four layers of communication: – A mission (also known as a vision)– Strategy (made up of proximate objectives)– Tactics and process– Execution This list might seem like it includes categories of action—it does. But it’s not just doing these things, but also communicating them that ties teams together. Communicating the items on this […]

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Answer these 10 questions to understand if you’re a good manager

My latest in Quartz… Something I struggled with as a new manager was finding a sense of accomplishment, and as I’ve moved on to manage managers, I’ve seen this become a challenge for them, too. It’s hard to find the right success metrics upon which to judge our work because our output is to make […]

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The first two questions to ask when your team is struggling

My second article in Quartz… I’ve never stepped into a leadership role without it quickly becoming clear why a new leader was needed. I think it’s normal for companies to hire new leaders when there are problems that need to be addressed. So I suspect that as the congratulations die down, it’s also normal to […]

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