UPCOMING WORKSHOP: Define & Align Your Company’s Values

I’ve had the privilege of working with some extraordinary startups over the last 7 years to help them build strong, aligned cultures. I’ve done workshops for venture fund portfolios to teach the culture development process and help multiple startup leadership teams go through the process of defining their values and beginning to operationalize and align their companies with their values. Someone recently made the point that there are tons of startups out there who would really benefit from the kind of culture development work that I do but don’t have access to it. So, I decided to do something about it…

DEFINE & ALIGN YOUR COMPANY’S VALUES
Friday, September 23, 2016
San Francisco, CA

In this 1-day workshop, you and up to 4 members of your team will:

  • Learn a culture devleopment process that’s helped hundreds of leading startups scale their culture
  • Define your company values
  • Create a set of values-based behaviors to guide interviews and performance management
  • Identify key processes that will create and maintain alignment with your values

This workshop is for startup teams that would like to intentionally build a strong, aligned culture. If you have not yet defined your company’s values, this will be a great chance to create an initial draft (that you can iterate with the broader team) and begin to operationalize the values into how you run the company. Even if you already have a set of values, this will be a chance for your team to reflect on the values and begin to build the kind of practices and processes that bring them to life and ensure that you’re hiring/managing for values, communicating your culture clearly and effectively to attract & retain the right people and set clear expectations for how you and your team will work together.

You may bring up to 5 members of your team total, which typically include the CEO and founder(s), other members of the leadership team and possibly other team members.

 To sign up for the Define & Align workshop, please click here.

Hope to see you soon!
Dave


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I recently published an article in Fast Company about transcending “I’m not enough” to build a company from a place of sufficiency, love and service.

Let me know what you think…  The Entrepreneur’s Not Enough Trap – and How To Avoid It


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I recently was asked to write a guest post for FounderDating’s FounderTalk series, in which I shared about my own challenges in building culture at the startup I co-founded, and some of the lessons I learned the hard way about myself and the importance of understanding your own motivations as a founder in developing the culture you want.

Check it out and let me know what you think…  Why Culture Should Be Your Central Focus


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I’m often asked for advice on conducting effective one-on-ones. I was recently speaking to Monisha Perkash, CEO of LUMOback, and she told me about a simple technique she uses for conducting one-on-one conversations with team members that I felt compelled to share. It’s called:

Happy / Worried / Frustrated Read the rest of this entry »


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Over the last year or so, I’ve developed and delivered what I call a ‘Startup Leadership 101’ program for some of the fastest-growing technology companies in Silicon Valley. I noticed that as startups grow, individual contributors with little to no management experience are often thrust into a leadership role, without the requisite skills and self-awareness to be great at that part of their job. One of the parts of the program that participants find most helpful is the segment on giving feedback, since this is such a crucial, and often botched, part of being a manager. Read the rest of this entry »


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If you have the privilege of being a manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure that everyone on your team knows where they stand. It’s the right thing to do, and even if it weren’t, it is the most effective way to develop and manage people. I’ve seen way too much needless suffering and lost productivity in startups resulting from managers not setting clear expectations and not letting people know how they’re doing relative to expectations.

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Want Better Communication? Stay on Your Side of the Net

We’ve all been told throughout our lives that communication is the key to making relationships work. And while that’s a nice sentiment and certainly true, it isn’t all that helpful in understanding what we might do differently to improve our relationships with the people we interact with everyday.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately conducting trainings for startup leaders in the nuts and bolts of leadership and management (in essence, Startup Leadership 101).  One of the concepts that seems to make the biggest differences for team members to get along and function well together is the idea of ‘Staying on Your Side of the Net’.  I first learned this idea in Stanford’s Interpersonal Dynamics (AKA Touchy-Feely) class and while the concept may sound squishy, the results are anything but. Read the rest of this entry »


A Good Chin

This morning, I randomly met an undefeated Welterweight boxer named Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield at a yoga class in San Francisco. Karim is 15-0-1 with 9 knock outs. We started talking, and I asked him whether the key to winning bouts was skill, strength or endurance. He said endurance wins over skill and strength, but the other factor that really matters is “a good chin.” Read the rest of this entry »


Six Questions Every Startup Must Answer

I just finished reading one of the most pragmatic and thoughtful books I’ve ever read about building companies (and I’ve read quite a few). It’s called The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. In it, author Patrick Lencioni describes an organization as healthy “when it’s whole, consistent and complete; when its management, operations, strategy and culture fit together and make sense.” Healthy organizations have “minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity, and very low turnover among good employees.” He points out that most organizations are way too focused on being smart, and not nearly focused enough on being healthy. In his words, Organizational Health is “more than a side dish or flavor enhancer for the real meat and potatoes of business, it is the very plate on which the meat and potatoes sit.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Discipline Illusion

My clients are some of the most accomplished, ambitious, driven people I’ve ever met – founders and CEOs of some of the most successful, fast-growing startups in the world. And yet, too often they fail to adopt routines and habits that they know would help them succeed. If some of the most driven people in the world fail to follow through on their commitments, how can the average person do so? Read the rest of this entry »


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