(This is a living document and will change and evolve over time. I’m writing this for my new team so that we may develop a vision together.)
This article outlines what I want us to accomplish together, and how I think we can get there. I want us to have a tremendous impact on the organization. I want us to lead by example, both as a team, and as individuals. I want our team to be seen as the very best. And I want us to get there by being our truest and most authentic selves. I want us to enjoy the journey together and to believe in what we’re doing.
On moving into the future: Ours is an older tech company with a long history. I remember us in the 90s. I never want us to feel burdened by where we came from. I never want us to do things because it’s the way that they’ve always been done. I want us to incorporate all of our learnings and experience to find a new and better way for tomorrow while meeting the demands of today. I want us to learn from all of our past mistakes, and to not make them again. I want to look at modern approaches, tools, and technologies, and find the way that makes sense for us as humans to adopt, borrow, and be inspired with them while understanding that technology and practices are tools and that there is no best tool to use, but only the best tools for the problems AND for the people solving the problems. We should always consider the people and the solutions together, knowing that we have to support and build tomorrow on what we create today.
On relationships: I’ve been through a lot. I know we all have. Life has been hard. Very often we show a shiny veneer of strength and stability. Our inner worlds can be much more tumultuous. I want us to connect as humans, not as co-workers and employees. I want you to feel safe knowing you will have some bad days. I want to give you my trust, knowing that you want to do your best and I want your trust knowing that I will do my best. I want you to feel protected when something goes wrong or when you make a mistake. I want you know that you can be honest with me and that I’ll do my best to protect you in those challenging moments.
On psychological safety: I commit to making you feel safe, protected, understood, healthy and cared-for. I commit to doing this to the very best of my ability. I commit to working tirelessly to get us there.
On communication: sometimes we may feel that we say things because it’s the right thing to say in a group (this is called “Groupthink”). Even if it’s not what we really believe, we may feel that it’s easier to say what people want to hear. I do not want us to do that. I want us to identify “Groupthink” and to stop it in its tracks. I want to encourage dissent. I want you to have strong opinions and to voice them. But I want us to hold our strong opinions loosely, so that we may come together, hear each other and be heard. I want to find the right way forward with honest agreement. If we cannot change opinions to meet our own, we must find the truth in other people’s opinions until we truly believe that it is the way forward. Or we must find a solution that’s better than any of the opinions on the table that everyone feels good with. I commit to you to never demand we move in a direction. I commit to you that I will encourage your dissent, do my best to understand your opinion, and find a way forward where everyone feels heard, understood, and in agreement.
On reward: We are all unique. Intrinsic motivators differ for each of us. I vow to connect with you as a human individual and to understand what really drives you. For some of us it is learning and personal growth. For some it is acknowledgement and recognition. For some it is seeing the reality and impact of the work that we do. We are motivated by all of these in some degree in different ways and at different times. I vow to give you the opportunities that you desire. I will devote myself to helping you grow and shine and make a difference in the world around you. I never want to reward you for something different than what we really want as a team (“Rewarding X but Hoping for Y”.) And I promise to do my best to work with you to ensure you are getting you what you need to connect with the work that you do, to have fun and feel good about it.
On measurement: What we are measured on is what we deliver on. I commit to measure you to show your strength and contribution. I commit to working to ensure others see this as well. I’ve seen people contribute great value but barely be recognized for their work – I commit to showing your contributions and ensuring your work is celebrated.
This is my vision for us as a team. How we get there will be up to us to discover. It will be an iterative process, and we must communicate and revisit the vision and ensure our strategies align and grow to meet this.