Impact-Driven Leadership – Part 2

Startup For Startup

14/04/2021

Darya:             Hi everyone, before we start the episode I just wanted to let you know that we have a brand new global website with podcast episodes, videos from events and interviews all in English. So if you’re interested in finding more relevant content for you visit startupforstartup.com and select the ‘worldwide’ option. Enjoy.

Lior:                Hi Eran.

Eran:               Hey Lior.

Lior:                Hi everyone, I’m Lior Krengel and with me is Eran Zinman, co-founder and CTO of Monday.com, and you’ve reached startupforstartup, the podcast in which we, at Monday.com, openly share knowledge, experience and actionable insights from one startup to another.

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Lior:                Today we’ll continue the conversation about impact driven leadership. In part one of this topic Eran and I discussed a few ideas that are at the heart of how we execute and think of work and progress here at Monday.com. We claim that execution is one of the key elements to achieving success and that perfection is only attainable through iteration. We shared a couple of real life examples of how it looks when leadership isn’t driven by impact and what it takes to change pace and recreate momentum. Today we’re going to talk about how to practice impact driven leadership. We’ll share some techniques and strategies for overcoming the fear of moving fast in order to achieve perfection through iteration and eventually succeed.

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Lior:                So, so I think the last time we focused more on explaining how it looks when you don’t have that. How does it look like when leaders practice impact driven leadership?

Eran:               So I think we discussed the concept behind it in the first episode, so today what I want to do is give kind of more practical advice, coz I see a lot of people when I say, when I discuss it they nod their heads and say yes it’s, it sounds good, makes sense, sounds like something we wanna apply in our team, in our company, but then when it comes to real life and how to execute it they struggle.

Lior:                I agree and not only that, one of the questions I received about the first part was but what do I do if I feel that I can’t do something, and this is exactly the syndrome we talked about on, like this is exactly the problem …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                so how do you break that loop and start creation motion again, right?

Eran:               Yeah, there’s consensus, does everybody want to move fast. Again as long as you have a clear strategy and you’re going the right direction, people get the idea of perfection through iteration, they get the idea that they need to move fast and get feedback. The real question is how do I apply it in my day to day, how do I overcome my fears and the stuff that hold me back and this is what I want to do today, so to give kind of more practical advice and how to practice it. Before I do that I wanna say one more thing and here it kinda touches on the topic which is we discussed leadership, so I think this is kinda the, one of the key things here is that I really feel this is your role as a leader. So again a leader can be somebody managing a team, can be somebody, you know, a CEO of company, it can be just somebody who is not managing people, but is leading a project or an initiative, but at the end of the day this is your role.

Lior:                What is the role?

Eran:               So when I think about leadership people, you know, often when they say I’m a team leader, I’m a group manager, I’m a director of the company, I’m a VP, I find that people, especially new managers, I would say, but almost everybody they kinda try to figure out what they need to do, right, like what is my role exactly, like being a manager. It is a profession. So more than anything I think leadership is kind of the key component to that, like being a leader more than the manager. So manager, in my eyes, is kinda more perceived as a technical …

Lior:                Operational thing.

Eran:               Yeah, technical operations, you know, make sure that the, you know, tasks are being done, the job is on track, we’re on timetable, whatever, where I perceive it as more as a leadership, from a leadership perspective. So what does it mean to be leader, coz you don’t want to be the guy that, or you don’t want to be the person that, you know, track tasks. So what it is not is …

Lior:                Or babysitter, right?

Eran:               Yeah, you don’t, you …

Lior:                Which is something else that sometimes people confuse, like I’m the police, I’m the babysitter, I’m the …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                task tracker, yeah.

Eran:               So basically if I take an example from a development team, you know it’s always easy for me to take example for that, but …

Lior:                Engineering, you mean or any …

Eran:               Yeah, engineering.

Lior:                Right.

Eran:               Yeah, so it’s not your task as a manager, as a leader to verify people are, you know, doing their tasks that, you know, if you measure story points, because you work in an agile environment and not your role to make sure everybody is completing their sprints and it, basically it is not the case, if this is the case you have a problem with hiring, you didn’t hire the right people, not the right talent, not, people with the wrong motivation. So what is your role is exactly what we’re discussing now, how do you make your team more efficient, how do you make everybody better, how do you help your team get from point A to point B in the most efficient way. So this is kinda the frame …

Lior:                And also how do you inspire them to believe that things are possible when it seems impossible?

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                Back to our question on like when they struggle, you know, because when it’s day to day and everything is working that’s easier, but when people hit a wall this is where your leadership comes to shine or to fail everyone else, which goes back to your point that this is your responsibility.

Eran:               Yeah, and I’m working on the assumption that the people in your team are professional, so it’s not a technical issue, it’s not like they don’t know how to do their job, and if you kinda think about this whole conversation that we’re having it’s not about people struggling to do their job, it’s about wasting time, eight percent of your time, with decision making, being unsure, being afraid, you know, wasting time on things that are not tied to doing the actual work. So assuming everybody knows their professional role and how to do it it’s about how do you make them more efficient, how do you make them more confident, how do you help them get from point A to point B and this is exactly what leadership is. When I look at a leader of the company I try and understand if they’re fulfilling that part or are you just managing the operation of the team or just making sure everybody’s doing their task which is not being a leader.

Lior:                Also I think that we talk a lot in a company about the difference between motion and progress, because many times, as you said people are motivated and they know their job and they’re professionals and they seem to be working really, really hard. Sometimes the people that are stuck the most are those that are actually working the hardest in a company, you know …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                those that are spending fifteen hours doing things and are writing many updates and are all the time putting so much effort, but as you said it’s not taking anyone from point A closer to point B and this is where you see that it’s just a lot of effort, but it’s not progress.

Eran:               Yeah, I would even say it’s one of the symptoms that you focus more on kinda showing that you’re working and kinda wasting time on things that don’t make an impact and don’t really make real progress.

Lior:                Right, but to the root of it who is showing that they are working, those that are very insecure that their job is creating impact.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                Right, because if your actions speak for themselves and there’s impact you don’t have to show anyone you’re working.

Eran:               That’s true.

Lior:                And when someone’s so worried and so, putting so much effort into showing that they are working you know they are not impact driven at that point of time.

Eran:               Yeah, and just to clear it is not about fooling anyone or trying to …

Lior:                No, yeah …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                this is exactly what I’m trying to stress.

Eran:               It’s from a place of frustration and (indistinct) …

Lior:                And genuine intuition, yeah, you’re right.

Eran:               Yeah. OK, so let’s talk about actual things. So one of the things that …

Lior:                Actual things. Right now we’re bullshitting; now actual things. Yeah.

Eran:               Yeah, actual tips I would say. So what is being a leader? Right. So being a leader we mentioned the specific example; I want to start with it, but people often, when there is a new initiative or something, you know, very meaningful you want to achieve, the initial reaction of people is it’s gonna take, oh, it’s a big project, it’s gonna take three or four months.

Lior:                Right.

Eran:               OK.

Lior:                Big project equals a lot of time.

Eran:               Yeah, well equal complexity.

Lior:                Right.

Eran:               Equal high risk.

Lior:                Equals a lot of time.

Eran:               Yeah. What I hear when I hear people say it to me is I’m insecure about what we need to do; I’m not sure exactly what I need to do, I’m not sure what it takes, because when people kinda see that far into the future what I understand, what I read between the lines is I don’t know how the future looks like therefore I’m gonna say it’s complex, because I can, I can’t see it; and that’s OK, I don’t expect them to see how it’s gonna look like.

Lior:                And the hidden assumption is that over time they’ll have more clarity just because time passes …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                but it’s not.

Eran:               They’re gonna do more research …

Lior:                Talk to many people …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                have more opinions.

Eran:               So one thing I like to do when people say this to me is what can we do in two weeks, OK. Some people get, I won’t say, offended by this, but it kinda creates a weird reaction. I just told you it’s a complex thing and it’s gonna take three or four months. Why are you trying to ask me if this can be done in two weeks? Are you not a, like seeing it in a different way, you don’t understand the complexity, you don’t think I had like the right assessment of how hard it is to do that project.

Lior:                Or even worse, are you trying to stress me out.

Eran:               Yeah, are you trying to stress me out. So my goal is not to take those, you know, three months and compress them into two weeks by you not sleeping or working twenty-four hours a day; it’s more about kinda forcing you to choose that one thing that you are confident about, that you feel is in the right path of moving forward. So, you know, this is one exercise I do, whenever I hear somebody say that I, this is my reaction almost always, sometimes I say what about, you know, tomorrow, sometimes it’s two weeks, depends, but this is kinda the first tool that I use, and this is, this changes the conversation. So often what you hear is: “Well. I can do it in two weeks, but then I have to compromise on X, Y, Z,” and I say OK, you know, sounds good, I don’t care about X, Y, Z, I want to make sure that the initial concept works, and they say oh, I didn’t know you don’t care about X, Y, Z, I didn’t know it’s not an issue, and this is why I’m trying to help them kinda move to the next (00:11:49), because what I know is once they complete those two weeks and launch something or get feedback from users or whatever, or even see it on a screen their entire perspective is gonna change and the next two weeks afterwards is gonna be completely different. So this is one tool that I use often in meetings, on one on ones and it’s not just saying that, it also force people to think that way and kinda come back, sometimes they’ll say tomorrow, they will say OK, let’s do it in a week, sometimes two weeks, they’ll say three weeks, but anyway …

Lior:                Yeah that’s semantics …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                it doesn’t matter if it’s two weeks or three weeks …

Eran:               It doesn’t matter.

Lior:                it’s just shifting from many, many months to shorter time and then seeing their …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                mindset changing, right.

Eran:               Yeah. So what people, well managers that I often give them that tip they say yeah, I can do that sometimes, but some projects are really tough, so what I’m starting to stress here is that you can do it for everything, EV-ERY-THING! The most complex project in R&D, the most complex process in finance, you know, racing around, whatever, you can apply this method in a way to move forward, right, so it’s not an excuse. It’s not that you are special. Sorry. Everything can be used in this, everybody can use this technique for almost anything.

Lior:                And it’s very natural that our mind will trick us and say oh, it works for only this particular thing, but everything else can’t be done this way.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                You know, this is how we keep that insecurity close to our hearts.

Eran:               Yeah. The second, the second method I use, and again this might sound stupid, but I do want to say it, is to use deadlines. People, when they hear deadlines, I would say especially in tech companies it became like a forbidden word, oh, we’re creative humans, building something amazing, like you can’t put a deadline on creativity, you can’t put a deadline on building something very creative. Well that’s the point, I really believe in deadlines, because when you give deadlines, when I say ‘deadlines’ it’s basically saying to a team we’re gonna launch it on November 20th, for example, and that’s it, like this is where we’re gonna launch, and it might be a month and a half from now, but you put a deadline, and what I found, especially in the younger managers, is that they’re afraid to put deadlines.

Lior:                I’ll tell you why.

Eran:               OK.

Lior:                Because I have this struggle. No really.

Eran:               OK.

Lior:                I’m hearing and I’m listening to you and it’s something that I face. I feel as if I’m limiting the freedom. You know it’s like I’ll take you to another universe, just because it’s, it’s like with my daughter, you know, it’s the same, like I fear that if I tell her no or give, or put limits to something, deadlines are limits, you know, that she’ll hate me or get angry at me and it’s, every time it’s the other way round, she’s like really, she’s so happy that I tell her what’s the right way to do it and it’s the same with my team, like I’m, many times I’m trying to avoid a conversation of deadlines …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                and even though I know this is what they need from you right now.

Eran:               Yeah. So what I found, and I’m talking from a perspective of a person who had the same issue, but I’ve changed, first of all, you know the saying that they say restrictions are liberating, so when you give someone a restriction and you put a deadline or you put a border you’re basically liberating them, because when you don’t have that it’s the most stressful thing, because not only you’re responsible for the results, but you’re also responsible for figuring out what’s the best time to do it, how much effort you’re gonna put on everything, you’re lying to yourself, playing games with yourself, need to motivate yourself; it’s so much harder to do and having that limitation is liberating, because, OK, this is what it is and I’m gonna work around this frame, this is what I’m gonna do, and that’s easy, and what I found is that leaders are often using that analogy, like you’ve mentioned, I don’t wanna harm my team, I don’t want them to feel stressed and that’s an excuse, because you’re feeling stressed, you’re afraid to give the deadline, you’re afraid of their reaction. So it’s an excuse and you apply that to the team and not yourself, coz it’s easier to cope like this. I used to do it the same way. I didn’t give deadlines to teams and, because I didn’t want to stress them, I didn’t want them to feel I’m bossy.

Lior:                But it’s more stressful when you do that. I remember, I remember a time, it was a couple of years ago when I was working on a very first version of a website and we didn’t put a deadline and every time I saw you, you were like ah, what’s with that website, and instead of having a deadline and never talking about or talking about progress you would just occasionally ask me every time you saw me what’s with the, and it’s made me so, like sometimes I saw you and I was like oh, here’s the website question coming.

Eran:               Yeah, you wanted to avoid me.

Lior:                Yeah, and it’s like a mind, it’s always in my head instead of like, and this is not liberating, you know.

Eran:               Yeah. What I often do to cope with it, and this is kinda my third tip, is to put traps. I love traps, because traps takes the liability from myself to a third party, although it’s bullshit.

Lior:                Give us an example.

Eran:               OK, so I’ve used that many times in the past. So one example is we had a campaign in New York, billboard campaign, so we had a campaign in a New York subway and billboards around the city about a year and a half ago and I told like the entire R&D team that it’s gonna be huge, it’s gonna increase the awareness of the company, people are gonna search for Monday online, whether it’s just customers or reporters or whatever, because it’s gonna be exposed to the brand and therefore we need to complete X, Y, Z which are essential features in the platform before we go live with the billboards. Now it’s true, what I’ve said, although I knew it’s a trap I’m putting for myself and the team, because we wanted to put something real, so we wanted something real to happen in real life, the actual billboards, and tie this into a project that made a significant impact on the company, cool we could (00:18:50) the project after we have the billboards, of course, but we put a trap on ourselves to do so and it works.

Lior:                Another classic one we do is company meetings. You set a team to say oh, in two months, in two weeks from now you’re gonna report and share with the entire company on X, Y, Z …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                and if you’re like wait, I’ve have to talk to the entire company about it then I got to make some progress, there are a few things that are, that have to be finalized by then, now could you, you know, could you delay, could you postpone the date of the company meeting? Yes of course. Could you present without having it completed? Yes of course. But it’s a trap, because you want it to be perfect by then and you, many times the people making a lot of progress right before this company meeting.

Eran:               Yeah, like it gives you a sense of purpose, gives you a sense of urgency and this is what we’re trying to create, and again the point is not for you to work harder towards that date, the point is that once you have this date, have a clear deadline what happens is that you don’t waste time, because you have a deadline, so you know I need to decide between A and B, OK, I have this deadline, so I won’t call a meeting with twenty people to help me decide between A or B, I’m just going to make a decision, because it’s worse to be late with a deadline than choosing the wrong option between A and B, and this is the whole thing.

Lior:                Yeah.

Eran:               Like it’s forcing you to make decisions, it’s forcing you to be very focused on what you need to do, so, because the, you’re more afraid of missing the deadline than making a small mistake.

Lior:                It’s basically creating a situation that is artificial, but the effect of it is real …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                that you have a little amount of resources.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                Right? This is what you’re trying to make your mind …

Eran:               Well this is the reality.

Lior:                Yeah. No, well, but in reality sometimes we feel like we have a limitless amount of something, time, people, budgets …

Eran:               No, but that’s fake. You understand that.

Lior:                That’s fake.

Eran:               Yeah. You have this feeling, but it’s not true, because what we need to do is like 10X what we currently can’t do, can’t do as a company and that’s always gonna be a reality. So I’ve used many traps in the past, I’ve used billboards campaigns, I’ve used big PR news. So for example we use our PR team and we schedule a, like an interview or a news article that’s gonna come up on a specific date and just told everybody that we wanna release this feature before that article gonna come out. Company meeting is another one. So the point is to find, to find a trap.

Lior:                And it has something you bel, it has to be something you believe?

Eran:               Yeah, well that’s one option. Another option which I use on myself, because I’m not free of that, so I can give you one example from real life. So we’ve been hiring a lot of new managers to the company, senior managers as we scale, and one of the things that we found out is we didn’t onboard them properly in the past. Yeah, so we have an onboarding process for everybody in the company, but with managers we needed to kinda tweak that, because there’s a lot of aspects about management that we didn’t cover in the onboarding session, and we knew that, and I became frustrated with that and I said to myself, OK, we need to build like a management training …

Lior:                Program.

Eran:               program. Yeah. And this is kinda the easiest thing to postpone, right, like nobody, I don’t wanna do, I have a million other things, but I know it’s important so …

Lior:                And by the way it’s an easy one to postpone, because you have, you hire a new manager, you’re thinking oh, I need a program, OK, I’ll have it by the next one, then you forget about it, coz it’s very easy to postpone, then it, a month later there’s another one coming, oh, I still need that program …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                but then you kind of let it go and then it’s very easy, because it’s not in your face all the time.

Eran:               Yeah, and nobody, you, I suffer from it, but nobody told me you, Eran, have to do it by this date. So I’m aware of this, so what I did is we hired a new PP of HR to the company and when she signed I told her that, her name is Oshrat, she’s just joined, when she signed I told her it’s amazing you’re gonna join in a month, because we created this amazing manager training program for you and I’m super excited to give it to you. I had nothing ready at that point, but I made a promise; I put myself a trap, because I knew I had to do it so we can prepare something like this, and what I did, the day after I felt stressed, because I made a promise, the last thing I want to do is break my promise, and I sat down and, you know, just started working on …

Lior:                It’s more than a promise, because you didn’t tell her I’ll build it by then …

Eran:               No, I told her …

Lior:                you said it’s ready.

Eran:               I told her it’s ready and it’s awesome.

Lior:                Yeah [laughs]

Eran:               [Laughs]

Lior:                Good luck with that.

Eran:               Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Lior:                So what did you do?

Eran:               I built it and it’s, I think it’s awesome.

Lior:                And it’s ready.

Eran:               No, yeah, well we’re now in the middle of the program so I’ve created it and then we said it was ready before she joined, like two months before she joined and we started giving it to existing managers here and the feedback so far is really good, but it forced me to do it. I put myself a trap knowing that I’m putting myself into a trap in order to motivate myself. It sounds weird, but it works.

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Eran:               Another tip that I found is to find a, find an enemy or to make one up. What is finding an enemy? Oh, look at that company, a startup in our space, they’re so much better than us, they have X, Y, Z, and if you have people who are motivated, people who wanna win they’re gonna say what, we can do much better than that, we can achieve all those things in half the time. So finding an enemy also works. The problem with finding an enemy is as you become better you have less and less enemies, so you need to find other enemies as you make progress.

Lior:                Yeah, and if you don’t have an enemy I think another way to do that is just to find a benchmark, you know.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                So if you’re doing a, we just did a, our first really big conference here at Monday a month ago and I think that looking for benchmarks on what really, really big companies do was just a good way to motivate ourselves and say what, if they can bring this amount of people of course we can do that …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                you know. Even though it is not in our space, it’s not a real competitor, they don’t care, they don’t know we are exist, it’s just bringing a benchmark and working with it.

Eran:               Yeah, or for example for this podcast you can say let’s look at the number one tech podcast in Israel, they have, you know, a hundred thousand listeners, this is what we need to …

Lior:                This is where we want to be.

Eran:               Yeah, this is where we want to be. So this is another way to motivate people and also create a sense of urgency, because having an enemy says that somebody’s right now doing better than you so it creates like this sense of urgency where if you work in a vacuum you don’t feel.

Lior:                Right. The best model, though, is to have a dynamic enemy, because sometimes …

Eran:               [laughs]

Lior:                if you stick to one and they slow down it can become the opposite effect …

Eran:               Yeah, you want to find the …

Lior:                you know, you can get too comfortable.

Eran:               you want to find a good enemy, yeah.

Lior:                Yeah, it happened to us in the past …

Eran:               Yeah

Lior:                that you were like oh, this is my, this is the one running next to me and then one day you are like wait, they are so far behind, what, do I have to slow down and wait for them now or …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                no, no, no, I gotta find a new one.

Eran:               No, you need to find a new one, yeah.

Lior:                Yeah.

Eran:               That’s the point. Still, and this is another kinda practical tip of how to deal with people. So you can use all those techniques that I’ve used, but people always find excuses, so one thing that I found is that people that feel insecure about what they need to do, and again this is all about being confident, will say things, and I can use the same example that we used last time, right, we talked about, if you remember from the last episode, we talked about the feature of freezing a column and we said that it was built in a week, but they waited fourteen (14) months until they released it. Now what are the reasons when I kinda ran this analysis with the team, so I tried to figure out why this happened, so part of it was the momentum that it got lost, part of it was that too much time have passed, but one of the interesting things was that somebody invented something, OK, so somebody can say listen, I think we can’t release this feature, because when you create a new view in a platform it doesn’t say which columns were frozen, and the problem with people saying stuff is that it can either be right or wrong.

Lior:                I have a better one …

Eran:               OK.

Lior:                that we had, this podcast.

Eran:               Both of us?

Lior:                Yeah, together.

Eran:               OK.

Lior:                The (00:28:06) between us. Two and a half years ago it was my birthday, you called me and you said hey, I have an idea, where are you. I’m like, I’m on a vaca, OK come back; I know exactly what we’re gonna do, and we sat on this floor and you told me listen, everything we do has to become a podcast and you can do it, and then immediately I started telling you, hey, but I can’t be the one to do that, because I don’t listen to podcasts, you know, this is the ‘can’t do’ mode.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                Like we, like inventing stuff, oh, if I don’t listen to podcasts I can’t record one.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                Remember I told you, but I never listen to a podcast?

Eran:               So what I do when I get this I say the opposite. In your case I would say listen, the fact you don’t listen to podcasts is the best, is the best thing to start a new podcast, because then I’d buy it.

Lior:                Yeah, that’s what you said.

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                That’s what you said.

Eran:               And I …

Lior:                You are perfect. That’s the best way to start.

Eran:               I found that the best thing to confront somebody saying an unbiased,  like unbased thing is to say another unbased thing which is opposite. It’s both unbased, so they cancel each and you can move forward. So this is in this example. Another example with the one I’ve just mentioned about the columns, so this person said we have to have this feature before we go live. I thought for, you know, a few seconds and said listen …

Lior:                We must go without it.

Eran:               I think it’s exactly what people expect, OK, so when you switch to a new view it won’t save the columns, OK, and then often what happens is that people look at you and say OK, and that’s it. You can move on, because people that have intuition, they can either be right or wrong, I’m not saying my intuition is better, it’s just intuition, and the point here is to achieve profession through iteration meaning get feedback from real users and real usage and not intuition. Again somebody saying something not based on anything say the opposite, just say it, even if you don’t believe it it’s a nice exercise and you’ll see people are not that, you know, stressed or really believe in what they said, it’s just trying to get feedback, just want to get confidence. So that’s kind of the same point.

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Eran:               And another technique, last one, that I often apply is to make, we’re not making a decision, we’re just running an experiment. Somehow people feel comfortable running experiments and it becomes really hard for them to make a decision. Basically the same result just different framing, so people say listen, I don’t know which one is the best option and I’m confused, I’m stressed about making, you know, a decision between A and B. I say you don’t, don’t make a decision, just run an experiment, you know, do one of them and see the result and then, you know, miraculously, you just make them just do it. So in your team if somebody says listen, we don’t know, it’s a hard decision, not sure if we can do it, not sure if it’s the right thing for the team, just remove the stress, you know, we’re not speaking here about the fate of humanity, we’re just running an experiment.

Lior:                It’s true that the, making the point that it’s not vital and it’s not fatal and if it’s not the right thing you can change, because this is one of the questions we got: What if you get it wrong.?

Eran:               Point is to get it wrong. [Laughs] The point is to get it wrong. That’s the whole point. You don’t want to be right all the time, because it means you’re not bold enough, you’re not trying enough. If you wanna be right all the time, just don’t do anything. You don’t need to optimize for that; you need to optimize for the best results over time in the fastest way possible and part of it is being wrong, because we don’t know. That’s the point. So we don’t optimize for not making mistakes, optimize for getting the perfect result in the shortest amount of time and that’s the whole point.

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Eran:               To sum it up this is the tools that I use on a day to day basis, I use it on myself, I use it on my team, I use it with people and one last thing that I would say as a leader, a lot of leaders that, and I gave this talk a few times in the past to different teams here, sometimes, you know, they say all of that, but deep in their stomach they’re still afraid, because they’re afraid of what the reaction of their team will be and even on the most fundamental level they’re afraid that they’re not gonna love them as leaders, because they put deadlines before, because they force people to make decisions, because they ask them to do something in two weeks instead of three months. What I found is that the intuition here is wrong, it’s the other way around. When I look at the past of the company and all of history when people were the most happy, most motivated, had the best feeling of accomplishment and I saw the biggest smile on their face when they woke up every morning they knew exactly what they need to do, you know, the whole day was like one long meditation, because every minute they knew what they need to do they were focused, they felt like they’re making real progress, and when people feel the most miserable is when they over think things, when they feel like they’re not sure what they’re gonna do, when they feel like they’re stressed about making decisions, so intuition is wrong here. You wanna be a good manager, you wanna lead people, you want them to be happy, you want them to make progress and evolve, help them, create focus for them, help them achieve the best version of themselves using those techniques. I’m, I can assure you that’s gonna be, they’re gonna be happy, they’re gonna feel complete, they’re gonna feel like they’re making progress.

Lior:                You know Roy, Roy, our CEO, so many times he says that if you over think something just get busy, you know …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                just do something instead of thinking. If you’re stuck thinking just go and do something immediately. Still a few questions and what if someone comes and says hey, but our users will suffer from an incomplete product, you know, like we’ll give them a poor experience, because it’s too fast.

Eran:               Okay, so now I’m gonna apply one technique on you. So the opposite is true. Our users are gonna enjoy if we give them incomplete products.

Lior:                Why?

Eran:               Because we think that they’re gonna see all the bugs or if it’s not gonna be perfect. I think that, you know, they’ve been missing this feature for that long, even if it’s not hundred percent they’re gonna love it, because you solve like a major issue for them, so you don’t need to wait for it to be perfect, I would say as fast as you can push things and get feedback and users can use that, even if it’s not perfect it’s better for them, so I’ve just said the opposite of the intuition of what you’ve said.

Lior:                OK. Here’s another question to you. What if I just tell my team hey, by tomorrow set estimations and give me your deadlines, give me your, own that audience. Why don’t I let them empower them to put the deadlines ?

Eran:               That’s OK, but as long as you’re in the same zip code. So if somebody says OK, so my deadline needs four months from now, that’s not good. I think one thing that happened when we, when I’ve mentioned the story about the board meeting and at (00:35:43) we sat around the deadlines and the billboard is that it changed people’s mindset about how fast they can move and how fast we can deliver new features and new capabilities to the platform, so once people are calibrated that’s fine, but in the beginning you need to make them believe that they can do it, they need to change their perspective on how fast we can move …

Lior:                Dramatically, yeah.

Eran:               Dramatically. Once you achieve that that’s fine, you can give people the freedom and then they’re gonna use the same tools on themselves.

Lior:                So you’re saying once we’re speaking the same language and we understand the technique that we’re just discussing it’s OK to let other people …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                be part of that?

Eran:               In the beginning you need to help them not, so it’s more about helping them understand what they can achieve in a short amount of time in addition to the fact that you wanna give them freedom in the future.

Lior:                I know you talked about it mostly on part one, but the question of the excuse or the claim that you’ll end up working harder, especially in a, you know, in a life where work life balance is something very sensitive it’s so easy to bring up, you know, if someone, it’s so easy to come up and say, Eran, but I’ll have to work over weekends, but I’ll have to sacrifice something super important, but I won’t pick up my daughter from school, like what do you do with that?

Eran:               So I get this a lot. That’s why I used the word ‘efficiency’ and not amount of work or speed, but if people are not convinced I do this exercise with them, so, and again I use an example from R&D, but take it for whatever department you’re in, I will sit with that person and we will analyze a day in their life and I would ask, like let’s look at that day and let’s see where you wasted your time or where you invested your time.

Lior:                Or where you were not efficient.

Eran:               Well we’ll get to that.

Lior:                Right, OK.

Eran:               But the point is so we see if it’s a developer in that case. What I often see is that, you know, twenty percent of their time they’ll be writing code, eighty percent of their time they’ll be debating, doing meetings, discussing what they need to do …

Lior:                Right.

Eran:               and when I ask them specific about the code they wrote that day what I found is they’ve not focused or don’t have a deadline, they will say oh, and we changed a code two days later, because we chose another direction. So I say to them, OK, so what I want us to achieve is that hundred percent of your time or, you know, eighty percent of your time you will work towards where you wanna go, you won’t change that, because you’re indecisive or you’re not sure where you wanna go and therefore you’re gonna work less and not more, right, like this is the concept; so doing more meaningful work that drives you towards the next point, so you’ll be ready to get to the next point afterwards. So that’s, that’s the point, right, so becoming more efficient. Just think about, you know, your team for example how much of actual work they do versus how much they spend on other things that don’t push them towards where they wanna get to.

Lior:                Right, and I think you have it in every process, you know, like when you, when I find myself in a meeting, preparing for a meeting that is a prep for another meeting this is where my head is like let’s just jump into the waters and fail …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                and learn so much more than preparing for so long. You know you do that on many times to avoid failing in front of other people …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                again, like the confidence, you’re talking about writing code, like oh, what if I write something and then it’s not used, so I’ll move, I’ll move slower so that I don’t make so much of a mistake, right.

Eran:               Uh huh.

Lior:                It’s really psychology then more than anything else.

Eran:               It’s a mental game. I told you in the beginning it’s not a tip about how becoming more efficient as a developer, because you’re using agile tech, you know, methodology, it’s not about, you know, doing meditation every, like five minutes every hour, it’s not about drinking coffee in certain times of the day, it’s a mental game.

Lior:                Right.

Eran:               And this is the whole point.

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Eran:               Maybe we can wrap up with one story that we can share about this podcast. You joined the company how long ago?

Lior:                Three years ago.

Eran:               Three years ago. Well we know one another for many years before, but you got onboard, because you wanted to help the startup ecosystem and we built a startup for startup initiative, and I remember, you know, after six months we had those long conversations, very frustrating about, you were asking me so, let’s think about the strategy, like think about what we want to do, I don’t get it, it didn’t, I didn’t have better answers, it’s not like I knew everything and you didn’t, and I tried to tell you all the time let’s just do something, let’s just make progress, let’s just move forward.

Lior:                And it’s even more frustrating, because I’m asking you and you really say I don’t know, I’m like he doesn’t know, what does he want from me like.

Eran:               [Laughs] Yeah, and then we created this podcast, because we wanted to do something, we wanted to get feedback, we wanna, and, you know, most chances it was a failure. Now it seems obvious, but, you know, back then when we recorded the first episode I remember when we had a conversation saying this is probably going to be crap, nobody’s going to listen to this, it’s gonna fail, we have no experience with it, you never listened to a podcast in your life before, but you just did it. I suggested it, but it could be, could have been any other idea, but I felt, you know, as a leader, as your manager, I would say that I need to do it in order to help you get out of that situation that you’re in and lo and behold, you know, after three episodes you understood much more of what, you know, this thing is and what it can become and now you created a monster. I had no idea you’re gonna build this unbelievable thing and maybe everything was because of that, you know, one podcast episode which just made us kinda move to the next hill and have a different perspective about the world and what we can achieve and get feedback from users instead of over thinking, over analysis, over, you know, thinking about our strategy and being afraid to make mistakes, so this is one example how you as a leader can, you know, show the next step in helping that person achieve, you know, their goal.

Lior:                And I think a few details to that is that from the first conversation we had until we released the first episode it took two weeks exactly …

Eran:               Yeah. [Laughs]

Lior:                and there were so many ways to just try and get away with that, you know, I remember asking you, oh, let’s first have a list of ten ideas before we record a first one and you were like, oh no, let’s just record a first one and I’m like I don’t have mikes. Okay, go buy mikes. Like I don’t know how to start, okay just listen to, like there was an answer for every problem I invented.

Eran:               Yeah, but you knew exactly what you need to do, just creating the momentum, right.

Lior:                Yeah.

Eran:               So everything we discuss here you can apply to your startup, you can apply to your company, you can apply to your team, you can apply to yourself.

Lior:                To personal life, yeah.

Eran:               Yeah, and what’s holding you back is you and it’s a mental game, and whenever you feel you don’t have time, things are complicated, things are taking a long time, it’s an excuse and you need to figure it out and put traps to yourself and use all kinds of techniques just to move forward and achieve that perfection you wanna achieve in the fastest way possible.

Lior:                And I’ll add one final advice; I think that the best way to do that is to surround yourself with other people that understand this is a mind, mental game and so that you remind each other that it’s a mental game and you’re not alone, like …

Eran:               Yeah.

Lior:                trying to overcome it. It makes everything easier.

Eran:               Yeah, I agree.

Lior:                Which is why we’re sharing this information.

Eran:               [Laughs]

Lior:                [Laughs] It’s also selfish.

Eran:               This information is brought to you.

Lior:                [Laughs]. OK, so I’ll finish by saying that we are open for follow-up questions if anyone has any and you can find us on our website, startupforstartup.com alongside information about events, playlists, a weekly founders column and so much more. And that would be it for leadership driven by impact. Thank you, Eran.

Eran:               Thanks Lior.

Lior:                Thanks for listening.

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