Dear leaders, recently I was part of an ask me anything series, it is always interesting to see what people will ask in different formats. I love AMA’s and have recommended them in leaders letter 22, (alongside hosting my own AMA with you previously) and implemented correctly, there is something magic about sharing information and answering questions you may not have received previously.
One answer that came up stuck with me:
“Don’t assume your manager knows what you are doing day to day or even from week to week”.
This answer has resurfaced a couple of times in slightly different formats over the last month.
Why this answer? It was in response to a senior exec concerned that their work was being lost or felt like they had to constantly update their CEO on their work and their team’s work.
This is a true statement, most CEOs or founders aren’t on top of their direct reports workflows and do not feel the need or have the time for micro-management. Most execs are in their role because they have to lead their department and workstreams, rarely needing management from the CEO, COO or founder.
Q: Should this company exec see this as a sign of trust from their boss?
When we dug a little deeper it was that they have fortnightly one-to-one and there are no updates between the two unless an email or instant message from the CEO asking for updates on projects.
Being proactive seemed to be seen as wasting the CEO’s time, but they never asked about updates and never agreed upon their leadership principles which are a must-have!
Culture Change Needed?
A tip I recommended was building a culture around updates and switching it to a growth mindset, where learning and updates go hand in hand.
The recommendation leaned on:
- The management team to get together and put forward ways of working that kept each other updated on important projects, keep them curious about results and asked to provide feedback and concentrated on sharing the updates throughout their team
- Roll out a new system where there was a captain owner (read the captain system for more context) and a champion collaborating on the project or campaign and ensuring internal comms improve knowledge flow and developed a subculture of ownership and learning to cut through the noise with the most important updates.
The CEO or founder would need to be on board and on-boarded, however, the improvements would remove the time to chase, digest and understand the language used.
There would be a home for the updates in email (most CEO’s live in their default app… email) but more importantly on the company wiki so there is quick access and the ability to work asynchronously without interruptions and needing meetings.
When you are looking to remove micro management or improve company culture it is essential to know what is expected and what success looks like and manages these at every sign of confusion or miscommunication.
Company culture thrives when you are aligned, people know how to be successful and what is expected of them, even the most senior of executives need to be reminded and guided from time to time and what better by better communications, not more.
This week, consider this and how you can add value by offering better and fewer updates and allow for this to be async in the future.
Have a great week.
Here are a few tips to help you this week: