Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Matt Roberts From Zokri

Matt Roberts – CEO @ Zokri

Matt is the CEO of Zokri, a software that is helping to shape goal setting and improve managers. Matt and I have known each other for over a decade and our careers have overlapped on a number of projects.

When Matt and I recently caught up and discussed goals and OKR’s and the power of conversations I knew he was a must listen for the Fixing the broken world of work podcast series.

Matt and I dive into the importance of setting the right goals, why management teams aren’t always set up to succeed and why your business and career can be improved by the right feedback and the right software.

Listen On

Why Listen: As a multi-time business builder, Matt provides unique insights into how his leadership in the software space can help to improve conversations and goal setting not just through software but a combination between software and people.

What Matt and I discuss:

  • The power of the conversation
  • Importance of communications and priorities
  • Setting people up to have the right conversation with the right frameworks
  • Structured conversations having better organisation outcomes
  • Building software to empower teams to have the most important conversations and the resistance when software tells you what you should prioritize
  • Workplace safety “where people feel in a safe place to say what needs to be said to share their ideas, to disagree, to, problem solve, to innovate, to share ideas”
  • The best managers and teachers lead with trust
  • Why transparency should build confidence

Matt’s Key Quote

Matt Roberts Bio

Matt Roberts is the co-founder of OKR software – ZOKRI. He’s been a tech founder for a decade and is a passionate advocate of people powered growth and how with the right systems, processes and culture, amazing things can be achieved.

Show Notes & Links

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Podcast Transcript

The transcript was automatically created by our tool descript and may have a couple of errors.

Danny: [00:00:00] Matt, thanks for joining me this morning. I’d love for you to just give an intro to who you are and what

[00:00:04] Matt: [00:00:04] you do. Hi. So Matt Roberts, I’m the co-founder of software called Zokri.

[00:00:09] And so Zokri is in the category of OKR software, but also touches on how teams can be more agile and deliver more and achieve growth using lots of management frameworks and best practices. So for example, KPIs are in there and what you find out is lots of these things overlap. If you’re performance managing a business and a company and teams,

[00:00:29]Danny: [00:00:29] something  you and I I’ve spoken to quite a few times.

[00:00:32]You’ve given me a whizz through the software and we’ve known each other for a number of years. There’s a story I don’t know that if you want to tell a full story, but there’s some inspiration behind setting up Zokri  the software. Can you give people a flavor of why?

[00:00:48] Because I think that would really help people understand. What you’re trying to achieve with the software and how you landed, where you’ve got

[00:00:54] Matt: [00:00:54] to?

[00:00:54] To, it’s been a tech founder for almost a decade now and exited three or four years ago a company. And as part of that, you learn a lot about what works and a lot about what you know is more challenging as you’re scaling a company.

[00:01:09] And there are some sort of universal fundamentals I’ve noticed throughout all of that time. Managing growth is a lot around communications and priorities, for example, and setting the right goals, give getting clarity to people and what we want to achieve. And then ensuring that the whole company is having the right conversations at the right time and all to achieve those things stops irrelevant things happening creates learning loops helps you be more agile and lots of other sort of growth leavers.

[00:01:39]What I’ve found is most of the world, it doesn’t do any of these things particularly well, I, they don’t share their long-term plans, mission and visions typically they don’t define the culture then or police the culture that they want that would support achievement particularly well. It’s left just to organically develop.

[00:01:59] Companies are notoriously bad at actually giving people clarity on what their goals are or allowing people to participate in goal setting and the weekly workflow cadence prioritization systems that people put in place to communicate openly about all of these things are rarely there. And that doesn’t mean that you’re not having a lot of meetings probably meeting probably meetings on the most part, you’re not discussing the right things. So the idea of systemizing growth and supporting people with these best practices and making them accessible beyond the spreadsheet and the document where she was, where for most, where they live now, it’s been what we really wanted to do, where a company with these systems and processes that just will outperform one that doesn’t and employees should be happier. They should thrive. They should enjoy the transparency and open communication. They should enjoy the recognition for not their ability to politicize themselves positively inside an org, but the actual output and their ideas and the way they approach work.

[00:03:01]So people really see the individual, not just, What’s what people perceive an individual is, or so, yeah. So it’s a well-rounded system, but the underlying flavor is really sort of the growth of the employee and communications and conversations and information flow.

[00:03:19] Danny: [00:03:19] What I really like about the tool and what you guys are doing is how you’re taking goal setting frameworks.

[00:03:27] And, for me, your huge experience background from being an operator and on the C-suite and applying that into, combining it with a lot of the cultural aspects of work. So like you said, Most of your day is in meetings or trying to get stuff done alongside or so progressing personally and professionally.

[00:03:48] And I think that’s something that really stood out when we were talking. And we did the demo and understanding how you and I are quite aligned on system thinking and helping people to succeed. There’s something that most software does that I hate is the blinking. It starts you with a blank template. Years and years ago, you had a template that you basically had to fill out and he knew that if he filled out properly or in a certain way, you’d be successful.

[00:04:11] And I think that’s something that you guys have done really is enabled people to succeed by having very set structures and templates to complete and fill out and chase. Was that obviously that was deliberate. But do you have a back story of how you’ve got to where you’ve got to with a lot of this, a lot

[00:04:28] Matt: [00:04:28] of the and we’re benefiting now at a time when teams have experimented with all of this stuff, not for a few years, but for decades. We know for example that when goals are set in a particular way, With outcomes, not inputs that’s better than just saying I’m busy. We know that alignment is better than, silos. We know the cross-functional teams play a part in success in the same way we know that agile workflows and best practices I really support faster delivery, more frequent delivery. And I’m more applicable to the modern world we live in.

[00:05:03] So practices like the Monday meeting, where we declare our priorities for the week ahead Friday, what are our wins or, can be on a Monday, but the idea of priorities and wins is not, we don’t invent any of those, but every team that uses them goes, this really works for us.

[00:05:19]It makes both our successes highly visible, but also allows us to align around our priorities and communicate openly.

[00:05:25] There’s nothing, when we talk about system thinking there’s nothing rigid or containing within that in a negative sense, it just provides a framework to have good conversations. So in many ways, we’re actually the recipients of a lot of open source knowledge that’s been developed around, thousands, if not millions of teams where go, when we, the teams that do this, tend to perform the teams that are just more organic and do what you like.

[00:05:50] And hope for the best and that it’s a loose structure, not a heavy structure, but I think it’s really helpful. And I think one of the things I’ve noticed when teams adopt it is it’s the best description I’ve come up with is it’s just like putting oxygen into the room, ‘oh, this is great’ , we’re actually having this conversation. And people often feel stretched and overwhelmed by all of the things they’re trying to do. And they get calls for that time and demand new ideas thrown at them all the time.

[00:06:19] They don’t really have a way of approaching all of those demands with the level of critical thinking that allow them to pick up what’s most important and put down what’s the most irrelevant.

[00:06:29] So they feel that they do lots of things. Averagely, for example or, they’re trying to do too much, but doing nothing well, or they. And spread thinly.

[00:06:37] There’s lots of, ways it gets described to us. But also that what we’re trying to do is make work really enjoyable. And a part of that is just focused on what really matters right now.

[00:06:46] And I have a toolkit for not just picking stuff up, putting stuff down.

[00:06:50] Danny: [00:06:50] I find that teams, certain individuals struggle where it’s BAU versus bigger projects and bigger campaigns. I think the more ideas people have. I think we’re not we’re in this place where we’re never short of ideas.

[00:07:07] We’re never short of things to do is never not a new channel to work on. There’s never not a new project to pick up. I think, maybe six years ago  you had very specific sets of work to achieve, and you knew that it was what your goal was every day. It was basic to work on a campaign or a project or product roll out or initiative.

[00:07:29] I think because everything’s become a campaign-based or chat based is a lot more work to go through. And I think that people need guidance , most teams need guidance. When it comes down to do I prioritize this new thing, do I prioritize BAU or do I prioritize in the rocks or the OKR or whatever framework you use.

[00:07:54] And I think there’s going to be a big, this is awakening that people need to have. And I think technology is one and software as is the main driver to try and drive that change.

[00:08:05]There’s gonna be a lot of resistance when software tells you what you should prioritize. But I think that’s the only way really, because managers are too busy to manage that alone, lead the team anymore. I always say that you should probably have a captain and the champion within teams, a captain’s like the unofficial leader when a manager’s too busy or heads of department or C suite are too busy and they should be the people on the pitch to use a sports metaphor, to help people guide them and drive them forward.

[00:08:33] And I feel you should have a champion which helps people understand what’s important, why they should be doing what they’re doing and why they ship, where they should take it and help increase that knowledge and improve the knowledge sharing. So software is going to be an answer, I think after blend it with people.

[00:08:49] But a lot of people rely on notifications on email reminders on, it almost got to a point where we’re overly relying on technology and algorithms to us, what we should and shouldn’t be doing. I think we still need people in it. And I think if you’re in a place. You need guidance and software should be one that helps you alongside talking through and having collaboration with your colleagues.

[00:09:13]That’s that kind of answers your question. But one thing that I help businesses with for instance, is helping teams understand what they should and shouldn’t be doing and what is really important. And what is the, nice to complete, and everyone can spend. hours and hours talking things through, but we’ve got this point where you can hide in the meeting and you can hide behind a busy calendar and I think actually, we need to step away from that and have better goal-setting and thats something that a lot of people need help with.

[00:09:43] Yeah. I’d love to ask you what your aha moment was when you were putting together or, exploring building something that’s going to help hundreds, if not thousands of people?

[00:09:55] Matt: [00:09:55] It was really very simply the power of the conversation.

[00:09:59] And you think that this is all around having fields called objective or key result or KPI or, initiative or whatever you’re doing, whatever task, whatever your, the inputs are.

[00:10:09] And actually all of those are completely irrelevant unless the they’ve been both shaped by conversation and they’re continuing to be part of a conversation.

[00:10:18]So the software re real magic moment was understanding that the it’s not just the recipient of, structured data in terms of the input.

[00:10:28] It’s the thing that’s on screen when people are having the most important conversations that the company will ever have, both, whether that’s quarterly planning and deciding what our priorities are that are aligned with strategy or what the company requires, whether that’s cross collaboration between, sales or marketing, or, Product and customer success and other sort of typical collaborations, but it’s really down to that idea that the agenda that drives progress are the things that we are driven through these really rich conversations where people feel in a safe place to say what needs to be said to share their ideas, to disagree, to, problem solve, to innovate, to share ideas.

[00:11:09] And I think your passion, which is culture really leads into that, which is again, software is just a recipient of conversations and thinking, and we can do a lot in terms of things like then you mentioned notifications and alerts and making sure people put all those inputs in, but ultimately we can’t control the manager that might be controlling in a meeting that might allow no one else to speak at the flip side is you want to facilitate open, transparent, psychologically safe behaviors inside meetings where people are obviously sharing their best ideas, obviously disagreeing where necessary and, the deeper you get into the weeds and this, which is, that if conversations are the accelerator moment and having the right ones culture is a facilitation of also, is that also a facilitator of conversation?

[00:11:58] It can either kill it or make it.

[00:12:02] Danny: [00:12:02] Very true. Very true. Was there something in your past or your co-founders past that gave you the inspiration to push forward to this or the, I’m sick of doing this or I’m S I’m sick of seeing people struggle with X or Y was there something that you, that either of you drew upon to say the world needs this?

[00:12:23] Matt: [00:12:23] I’ve seen over a decade businesses or my own businesses characterized, not just by the conversations that are happening, but the conversations that were obviously not happening. So for example a department that is under-resourced, but never but just does the best they can, but never has the conversation around what you could do if you were optimally resourced or rights. Just so you know, this is perpetual downward spiral of there’s, there’s suboptimal performance is happening because you’re not having the conversation around resource planning priorities. And what growth could look like. I’ve seen that firsthand.

[00:13:02] I’ve seen teams work on vanity projects that were way more fun than what they needed to be do needed to do because they weren’t connected to metrics and outcomes. And with accountability for those. And I think as a human, we will have a bias towards working on what we’d like doing not necessarily what we need to doing.

[00:13:22] So there needs to be some checks sometimes in terms of systems that would police that kind of stuff.

[00:13:26] I’ve seen boards talk about the wrong things month on month, because there was no agenda for the right things and no structure for that and there’s a game that plays out there. So whether it’s, right at the operational level, having a human bias towards what we’d like doing, not what we need to be doing, whether it’s departmental and just suffering quietly or whether it’s at the board, just, there’s some, obviously a lot of politics goes on up there, but if you’re sitting there thinking we’re not having the right conversation, then I think there’s all kinds of things that can just perpetuate from that, which none of which are good, but all anchors in, are we having the right conversation?

[00:14:04] Danny: [00:14:04] Some of it. You said around having the right conversations and each different level of an organization, whether you’re you believe a flat structured or you’re hierarchical, there’s always a different conversation that happens. It’s very often that they don’t connect in.

[00:14:19] And I remember some years ago, Having to pitch for tasks for more money to get investment so we could get extra turn and grow at a  accelerated rate. And essentially they said no. And you knew it was going to be a no. And it was just because they had their conversation. Week on week probably for months and not actually told the leadership team of this business, the eyelets in that they wouldn’t go, they weren’t going to invest any more money.

[00:14:49] And we had to basically beat strap harder and knuckle, knuckle down belt into the hard and fast corner that’s going to go against us. And that’s something that a lot of people have forgotten and we talked so much in, on meeting rooms in boardrooms, in leadership meetings, because we talk to the nth degree and we don’t really communicate well enough outside of those rooms, then disinformation, misinformation tends to happen and people tend to believe gossip as opposed to what’s happened because of just poor communication chain.

[00:15:23]Do you think what you’re doing and the software that you’re rolling out is going to help reduce some of that sort of gossip and friction and help,  connect the most senior to the least junior or the most

[00:15:36] Matt: [00:15:36] junior?

[00:15:37] If you take just the goal setting framework as one element of what we do. Okay.

[00:15:41] I was that I did. Goal setting is democratized a bit more than it is versus the top-down even, C suite into departments. These are your goals. This is the budget we’ve committed to this year, go away and do it. It’s still remarkably common yet the ability for people to participate in goal setting, decide on what outcomes matter or what things matter in any one quarter.

[00:16:02]When you, when I’m talking to companies and you ask them, what are the biggest opportunities or challenges you’re facing? Over the next quarter. And if you could prioritize something, what would it be? Nine times out of 10, it would be different to what the senior leadership would have prioritized because they’re not on the ground.

[00:16:18] And I think, organizations are complex animals, as you might think, no matter how you’re how controlling you are. As a senior leader, you cannot know everything and you cannot have universal knowledge of everything that’s going on. And if you don’t tap into those, People would their expertise and their sight on what really matters.

[00:16:39] And you don’t have a system for that. Then you’re going to miss out on rate of the talent that’s driving your business and you’ll probably lose the talent that’s driving your business too.

[00:16:48]Everybody wants to have some level of input into what, deciding what really matters that’ll so then more likely to be engaged with the challenge of achieving what really matters.

[00:16:58]And it makes work make sense. And I think there’s an enormous amount of research out there. This thing where people don’t really feel, know, what the company’s trying to do, how it’s doing it. They don’t really know what, how they’re contributing on a week to week basis beyond being busy.

[00:17:13] And I think that disconnecting even the lowest level from why they’re coming to work and what they’re trying to achieve. Yeah. When you sat here, just laughing, saying that out loud, which is, it sounds so ridiculous why would anybody do that yet? Most people do that and it’s bonkers.

[00:17:33] So the idea that you could just make the workplace better from the ground up as well as the top down, it’s highly motivating for us here, but for any company, why wouldn’t you want to make, what great.

[00:17:43]Danny: [00:17:43] It’s easy for us to say this because we’ve both been, from the bottom to the top, but everyone wants to understand what’s going on and they want to know how to be successful. It’s very difficult when you’re in the mud,, getting your hands dirty, fighting every day is to be able to take that step away, and being able to give people the opportunity to know and plan for it. Like quarterly planning, annual planning is such a misdemeanor for people because if you’ve not been in it, you think it’s this greatest thing in the world, but when you’re in it, it’s one of the most tiring, stressful, combative environments that you can be in.

[00:18:27] And actually it can be so demoralizing for some people that join it and they’re not onboarded properly to the process. That’s something that in a, as a manager, you was I’ve said this a few times in recording the podcast series as manager, can’t be a hundred percent for, in that, that can be, it can be a real challenge for people, but I guess in our case, Software might in time might be given people more Headspace might be, might enable people to take a step back and say, is this really the priority of today?

[00:18:58] Is this something that we should be doing? Is there a better way of doing it almost?

[00:19:03]Do you think that you’ve got that you can help people.

[00:19:08] Matt: [00:19:08] I think the idea of Headspace is really interesting. There’s obviously a cadence there, whether that’s a weekly cadence, monthly, quarterly annual planning cadence is, and I think they really help because they create the right forums and the right conversations again.

[00:19:21] But I also think what we haven’t touched on is probably, one of the aims of Making an organization, more agile, making everything more transparent, becoming better at things like goal setting is empowerment and trust.

[00:19:34] And if you are achieving that, then you know that you should be having fewer meetings, you should be more productive, you should be able to work more autonomously.

[00:19:45]It doesn’t mean there aren’t check-ins and I think one of the, one of the things that we talk a little bit about is this idea that just because you’re not catching up every, every few hours, and having sight of everything going on, it doesn’t mean you’re out of control.

[00:20:00] And one of the things about the software is it creates a level of transparency around things like progress, confidence, levels, things that are holding you back, wins. That means that cuts out a lot of the meetings because people you go, what are you mostly talking about in all of these meetings that are filling your diary? It’s general, what are you up to at the moment? How’s it going meetings?You don’t really need those other, as nearly as much, they’re more right they become more executional, not status update meetings. And those status at meetings or partner status update meetings are part of a cadence and there is an agenda for those, they are short, punchy, and then you just get on with doing stuff and something that has been obvious to me for a very long time. is setting a goal is really powerful, but it’s only the only doing and productivity that achieves it.

[00:20:49] And, ultimately we want to reduce meetings to allow more time for execution.

[00:20:55] We want people to feel more engaged with the output and give their discretionary effort and drive towards those cause they feel excited.

[00:21:02]And many other leavers that are part of that.  If we can play a part in that and help support that, then. We’re really proud to be trying to systemize that and improving a workplace and which then rolls up into revenue, employee retention, NPS, the customer, ultimately benefits.

[00:21:20]Danny: [00:21:20] You’ve got this section and. That basically gets feedback from, like informal one, two under centrally or formal one. One-to-one where people can add the feedback loop into it and they can say how they feel or how they’re doing.

[00:21:35] Do you want to give people a, like a teaser on that? Because I think that’s what will connect many people to software?

[00:21:43] Matt: [00:21:43] There’s various surveying capabilities within the tool that we’re really driven through there’s sort of COVID problem.

[00:21:50] So the first one was part of the check-in, which normally happens weekly, where people share progress, confidence, what they’re, what’s holding them back, what’s going well. Another sort of inputs related to that, but that seemed that was an obvious opportunity to ask people, are you feeling anxious, stress connected, disconnected, et cetera.

[00:22:06] So a lot of wellbeing type stuff which is actually pleasantly really helped a lot of companies catch people when they were struggling.

[00:22:14] And, again, you have to have the right culture and it has to be okay to say, you’re not okay in your culture to make all of this work. And you’ve gotta be able to catch people properly if they are falling. But it, wasn’t a reason not to do the feature, which has turned out to be really good.

[00:22:29] The other part of the serving that we can. That has proven to be really quite interesting is something called a roti. So they return on time invested of a meeting and what you find, or, not surprisingly is often we sit in meetings that aren’t particularly useful.

[00:22:43]Whether that’s that poorly structured, bad agendas, not having the right conversations another sort of symptomatic problems. The ability to at the end of a structured meeting, just ping out. I wrote it. Survey and go, was that a good meeting?

[00:22:57] And then to throw it back to the team, which is what if that wasn’t a good meeting?

[00:23:00] What does a good meeting look like back to that idea of the power of conversations?

[00:23:06] Danny: [00:23:06] A lot of people end up having to rely on quarterly check-ins, monthly check-ins they do the people formalized one to ones as in they do it every week or most weeks. And one of my bug barriers is people that nudge it.

[00:23:19] And they know that at times in there. And it becomes this sort of place where you just do it because it’s a tick box exercise as opposed to something that you really get into and understand what’s coming on and how it can help. And one way that I think teams can be more proactive with it is having collective meetings where they where they talk around their challenges and their wins.

[00:23:40] And that wa that’s what really stood out to me with the mission that you guys are on is, has been able to over formalize it or been able to give people a way to give feedback.

[00:23:51] And it’s at the beginning or end of the week, or end of the meeting, it provides people with, an option, a framework to follow. When often managers aren’t trained, they’re just, very often they’re the best person at that job and they need to give them something. And often that’s a promotion of a manager title. Very often managers are so busy that they don’t necessarily say even if it’s proximity bias, when they’re all around the same table, whether it’s virtual and digital gestures got misunderstood in lockdowns and quarantines, et cetera.

[00:24:25] And this is what’s going to be so fascinating hybrid is how do you standardize one team, not an, a team and the B team, and what you guys are doing with the tools that we are going to have.

[00:24:35] Matt: [00:24:35] Yeah, I think, having some commonality across a company in the way we want to approach management, is a good thing.

[00:24:43] I think there’s a, there’s a lot of every team does it their own way with their own tools, their own systems, their own processes. That’s good for some things, there are some things where you want to standardize. And I think your point around, the recently promoted manager, that’s probably may or may not have been the recipient of working with a good manager previously in terms of being mentored or not might that, the, your you’re thrown in at the deep end and you’re having to learn fast. Yet that’s that learning curve is steep. Does take time. It doesn’t mean you’ve automatically got it.

[00:25:14] And I think if there were, if there are some very simple systems that can make sure that those people are having the right conversations, they’re focusing on the right things they’re structured.

[00:25:26]All of that and capturing it in a way that means that people feel seen  and heard, that’s a very good start because if you, when you’re looking, when you look at the research around what makes people feel that they’re unhappy with their manager, mostly it’s around being seen and heard and having time to talk around the things that matter that can be systemized.

[00:25:46] And you also can create a permanent record that those conversations are happened and the outcomes. What did you learn? 

[00:25:51]Another frustration point people have is the annual appraisal where people are asked to cast their mind back to 10 months ago and you can’t do it.

[00:26:00] So having a trail of we’ve had these conversations, this is what was decided. These were the decisions. These were your wins throughout the year. This is the challenges you had. This is how we were feeling. It suddenly becomes something that it’s more complete  and fairer. It doesn’t mean it’s full proof.

[00:26:17] But it just means that actually we’re not asking people to cast their mind back 10 months and maybe that conversation is, more structured, more real more complete. And I think you have less complaints and, you can make sure, and it’s there to support the manager, not as a, as well as the employee we want, who wants to be a bad manager?

[00:26:35] None of us want to be bad managers. We all want to play a part in developing people’s careers.

[00:26:40]We all want to be liked, cause we’re human, we all want to be able to be that, the idea that your favorite teacher, when you remember them, because they inspired you in some way to be better than you thought you could be.

[00:26:53] Why not be that manager?

[00:26:54] And that comes through again, the power of conversation, which sounds repetitive, but it’s true.

[00:27:02]Danny: [00:27:02] There’s no way that you can be a good manager without having conversations.

[00:27:06]The best managers and teachers to that point, they ever let you go away and get on with it. If you know enough and that’s trust-based,

[00:27:13] or they can come up to you and they, they inspire you or they nudge you in the right way or say, have you for this could work or how about we break this down? Or how about we, we help prioritize this.

[00:27:26] And it’s just the little moments, the is that infrequent moments that you might have to between people other times that stand out the most. Once you get to some point and you look backwards in your career,

[00:27:40] I can tell you, I did this exercise with the team recently. I asked him to give me a list of free good managers and as many bad managers as they like.

[00:27:49] And the bad managers outweigh the good managers, literally about 10 to one. Yeah. So yeah. And the reason why that is, is they can tell you and it’s, micromanagement, it’s time management, it’s never been available when they need them. It’s been too hands-on sometimes too hands off, equally, some people demand a micromanager and that’s really interesting.

[00:28:09] And I think actually come to the forefront in the last year.

[00:28:11] Have you got like a tip, one piece of advice that you’d give people. What’s your best piece of advice you can give people in improving the workplace wherever without software?. 

[00:28:21] Matt: [00:28:21] We try to achieve too much, too broadly. We’re not specific around what we’re trying to do and how we would measure success.

[00:28:29]It’s, whether, the essence of strategy is priority.

[00:28:32] The essence of goal setting is priority. The essence of w what we need to achieve in a week is priority.

[00:28:37] If you can cascade the idea of priority, literally from the highest level of planning to the lowest and keep conversations powering through that.

[00:28:45] And, the only way you can know what a priority is by having a conversation, whether that’s across teams or in teams. And so I think, that ruthless attention to that means by default, you’re also creating a system where you can put stuff.down.

[00:29:03] And I think it’s as much around putting things down and not making it a top priority as it is making it clear that’s not, as it is making something a priority.

[00:29:13] And then it makes a lot of things make sense to people as well, which is, sometimes if you’re at a lower level and an org and rising you’ve kind of decisions are made that make no sense to you. But if you knew why it made that decision was made and why that’s the priority and how that would connect cause up then actually it provides more meaning to work as well.

[00:29:33]Danny: [00:29:33] You nailed  strategy in one word, which is priorities, like prioritization. So many people think strategies, tactics, and it’s, a shopping list of things you’ve got to do and got to get.

[00:29:45] It’s not it’s prioritization and being ruthless in and understanding what you should, and shouldn’t be doing.

[00:29:50] A riff off your piece of advice is actually that I recommend people to fill out a decision document. That’s open to everyone. So if there’s key decisions made within a bit, It should be an open document or stored on a system or in an internal; Wiki like Notion or confluence.

[00:30:08] And essentially every decision, major decision has the date, what the decision was and why you got there. And how do you question it? If you need more information and having rolled out quite a few times, people will or naturally question some of the decisions, but enables better conversations.

[00:30:28] And it stops the gossip and it stops the fear mongering that happens as well within orgs.. And, that’s the manager issue and that’s a leadership issue to sit in a, an ELT or S team or whatever the new trendy acronym is for a leadership team, is if you can eat, can be transparent on it and show them how and the logic people will get there by themselves.

[00:30:47] And that dive into.

[00:30:49]Do you have three, simple tips that you’ve learned from your software? And implementing this over the last few years into actually being able to roll stuff out really quickly. Just simple things, three simple things.

[00:31:01] Matt: [00:31:01] Yeah. Yeah. Lead commit is the first thing you can’t be half pregnant with any of this type of stuff.

[00:31:06] So once you decide to do it you’ve got to be in all in patient. You can’t change people’s behaviors and habits and culture in a week. It takes months. So you, but that’s part of that rolls up into the commitment. And I think learning the right way, whether that’s through coaching or any means you can, there are lots of examples of all the systems and processes that we’ve been discussing that are used in name only. And not, they’re not real just because you’ve got this thing called for example, an objective and a key result. It doesn’t mean it’s a very good objective and a key result..

[00:31:42] Or I bet you, you would think that you’re using OKR and we see lots of poor implementations of various, of all kinds of systems, whether that’s how you run meetings, how that’s run, how you are agile, how you set goals, how you set strategy.

[00:31:54]You mentioned strategy being often poorly defined. You can, but you would say you’ve got a strategy.

[00:32:00] So I think, doing things the right way it would be the third thing, and that comes through knowledge experience. All of which are in the greater scheme of things, really inexpensive versus the opportunity cost of getting it wrong or the growth that you will get from getting it.

[00:32:15]So it’s the best money you can spend is probably on those three things, which is learning the right ways with the right people alongside you, committing completely, giving you and giving yourself some time to get there. But all of those things pay off.

[00:32:28] And the case studies that prove that our all around the internet it’s not a little bit works. It works. You just need to do it

[00:32:35]Danny: [00:32:35] One thing you said is around strategy and there should be one strategy. And then across the company, and then plans of action or action plans in departments that connect up.

[00:32:46] That’s one tip I would give people is if people say that department strategy or team strategy, which is even worse. You don’t have a strategy. You have a number of different conflicting stories that need to be sewn together.

[00:32:59]I love to finish with some quickfire questions. If you’re up for it, go

[00:33:04] what’s one book you recommend to read.

[00:33:05] Am I

[00:33:06] Matt: [00:33:06] can be working on something like the procrastination equation that’s I’m fascinated by productivity and what stops us from doing what really matters and what we should be doing.

[00:33:15] Danny: [00:33:16] Especially quite far, I would love to dive into that one, but let’s carry on the quick fire.

[00:33:21] Is there one podcast that you’d recommend people to listen to?

[00:33:23]Matt: [00:33:23] I’m really boring in that. I don’t get much time to listen to our rates are very much at the moment, but I quite enjoy Joe Rogan because we are aligned on lots of the things we’d like to talk about..

[00:33:33]Danny: [00:33:33] I’m sure you’d be a fascinating guest on joe Rogan, is there a one newsletter or one article that you would recommend anyone to subscribe

[00:33:41] Matt: [00:33:41] to? This is gonna sound really I’ve been reading yours and they’re really good.

[00:33:46] Am I allowed to say that? Yes.

[00:33:48]Danny: [00:33:48] I’ll give you the the backhander shortly.

[00:33:50]Is there one video that sort of changed the way that you think recently?

[00:33:54]Matt: [00:33:54] Amy Edmondson’s work every time she talks about psychological safety, whether that’s on a YouTube or a Ted talk, if you haven’t seen them go and watch those videos because it’s so deeply insightful.

[00:34:05]And in fact, it overlaps with culture of goal setting team dynamics and all of those things. So if you’re going to go and watch a video, go and check that relates to the stuff we’ve been talking about. Go and check her out.

[00:34:18]Danny: [00:34:18] Perfect example. That’s if you are a part of any C-suite on guarantee, you’ve had to watch that video more recently.

[00:34:25] And is there something that’s happened to you recently that’s made you cement the idea that you’re fixing the broken world of work?

[00:34:33] Matt: [00:34:33] We obviously get involved with various projects and onboarding calls as well as sales calls. And, as part of that, you get people to imagine where they’re going to be in 12 months time and what you realize is there’s commonality in all of that. We’re all suffering with the same things. We’re all feeling that we’re not in always in control of our working days, a weeks. And that all comes back to priority.

[00:34:57] So I think, I would, that’s where I would say we need to be

[00:35:02]Danny: [00:35:02] thanks so much for today, Matt, is there places people should go read your stuff, sign

[00:35:06] Matt: [00:35:06] up for it.

[00:35:07] Content I write on I’m increasingly writing on the wider web, but when I get time, but connect on LinkedIn, if you want to, as well, always happy to talk this stuff through with anybody. It’s a great passion and, we can make the workplace is slightly better than this.

[00:35:22] That’s no reason as a great reason to get up every day. Isn’t it?

[00:35:25]Danny: [00:35:25] Exactly. Thanks Matt.

[00:35:28] Matt: [00:35:28] Take care.


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