“At some point, you're going to get something you've never done before, because I'm going to hopefully be passing off my Legos to you as we grow. And the minute that high performer is given a task that they can't execute well and are not supported well, they start feeling their confidence drops, something happens in their workflow. And that's why it's so important to just not assume that people can handle and tackle everything at the same level that they execute their tasks.”
In this episode
Don’t assume your high performing employees can handle everything!
Get out of their way, but check in regularly.
Cristina Georgoulakis is the Founder Outcomes Partner at 776, a venture capital firm founded by builders.
On episode 105, Cristina shares how she approaches task-relevant maturity with her team while considering competence versus confidence.
She also talked about balancing a company’s triple bottom line – the mission, people and metrics, and what a mini-board meeting is.
Tune in to hear all about Cristina’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
All about 776
From high performer to manager
Approaching task-relevant maturity
What is the triple bottom line?
MBM (mini board meetings)
Building high-performing teams
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 00:00
Successful businesses are a marathon. It is something that like your stamina. How you think about building needs to last you several years, not two weeks, even though we did lots of words work in Sprint’s it’s a different mentality, if you’re trying to say I need to last these two weeks, I need to last eight to 10 years. So it’s thinking about how do we have those things in balance, and operationalize them accordingly. So it’s not just words on a wall, but it actually plays into what you’re doing every day.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:32
Cristina, welcome to the show.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 02:54
Thank you for having me, Aydin.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 02:56
Yeah, very excited to do this at you know, I was looking up your your background right before we started. And it’s really interesting, because you actually worked at type form once upon a time.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 03:07
Yes, we know, we have something in common forms and surveys in the past.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:11
Yeah, I was gonna say you look that up to yeah, definitely come from a survey background once upon a time. But yeah, we definitely at SurveyMonkey admired the work that you did a type form. And today, of course, you’re the founder outcomes partner at 776. Before we dive in, and I do want to talk a lot about management and leadership, but what is the like, tell us more about 776? What do you do there?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 03:36
So 776 is what we like to say, a startup that’s deploying capital. Technically, we are a venture capital firm, but we’re made up of builders. So everyone on the team has been someone who has worked in a company before has founded a company before successful or not, but really have gotten their hands dirty, and understand what it takes day to day to build a company. And what we’re trying to do is just really remake what venture capital looks like, from the ground up, and really partnering with our founders to be successful. And so founder outcomes, which is the the function that I run has many different parts to it. So one of them is traditional investor. And the other part is building out our founder outcomes function. And there’s a lot to it in the name. So if you hear founder outcomes, what I hope you understand is my role and my job is to align squarely with what our founders outcomes are, and making sure that I’m building everything along those lines, and it touches on a few different things, their experience, their ultimate outcome, and then setting them up for success with community events, building what they need, and I do that using the jobs to be done framework which is focusing on individual’s functional and emotional needs.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 05:03
Cool. That makes a lot of sense. So let’s start from the very beginning. Dan, do you remember when you first started managing and leading teams, what were some of those early mistakes, some of those may be more painful mistakes that we can get you there conjure up memories from,
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 05:18
there are many, many painful mistakes. I started leading people formally outside of contract work or as a founder at Typeform, which was in hypergrowth, at the time, so I joined Typeform as employee number 30, their first go to market hire, and we were doing really well growing really fast. And I was a top performer. And because I was a top performer, I was promoted to lead a team. And one of the big mistakes that I made was I didn’t understand the shift in focus between high performing individual contributor to manager, and one of the biggest mistakes is delegation. And delegation was something that took me a very long time to learn, because the first thing I did was I didn’t delegate enough. And so if you asked all my direct reports, what they put for improvement on my 360 degree review was, Cristina doesn’t delegate enough. She has a lot on her plate, and she’s not passing it off. So then I tried to learn from that. And I started delegating everything. And I delegated, but I did not delegate well, and I did not set my team up for success. And I think that there’s something really important in how you delegate. And so what I ended up learning was task relevant maturity, and situational leadership. And those are the pieces that unlocked for me, what delegation, how to delegate, why to delegate, and more importantly, how to set your team up for success when you delegate. And I’m happy to go into any specifics there. But
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:01
let’s talk about that. So, you know, before we actually dive into each one of those points, it’s really interesting, and I 100% agree with this, like this, this concept. You know, we’ve done this a lot on the show, and people talk about their mistakes. And it’s very often is, it’s what I call like the pendulum of management, it’s the, oh, you’re not delegating. And then you delegate too much. And then you kind of like, go back and forth. And then eventually, there’s this balance. Let’s talk about task relevant maturity, because again, fast growing company, you have people from different sorts of people. So like, practically speaking, how did you approach that?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 07:44
Okay, so the first thing is task relevant maturity, to be able to understand that as a concept is separating an individual. So an individual’s experience competence, execution level, from the task that they are being given. And as actual pivotal piece, we do not say a person is the experience of their task. So for instance, management, I’ve now done management for a long time, hopefully, I’ve gotten better, I’d say that confidently, I’ve, I’ve made lots of mistakes. So I keep getting better as I go, I feel very competent in being a manager, my skill set is high, and my confidence is high. If you asked me to spin up a website and code it from scratch, I will tell you, my confidence is low, and my skill set is low, I am the same person, I can be really, really competent, and have high confidence in one task, and really, really incompetent and low competence in another task. So we need to separate the person from the task. Every time we delegate something to a team member, we need to be having a discussion with them of Hey, what is your confidence, and what is your competence in this task, not as a judgment as in, depending on where you land, I’m going to support you differently. Because I know that your needs are going to be different. So if you are really excited about doing a task that’s new, you haven’t done before, you’ll have low competence and skill set, but your confidence is going to be really high. So in that case, I’m going to be very directive with you, that give you space to be able to come to me and say like, Hey, I’m going to run into this, I’m going to try it out. And I’m going to come back to you when I need help. Versus a task that maybe you feel kind of you can do but you don’t really enjoy doing. So your your commitment to it is a little bit lower, but you know that you’re able to do it, I’m going to make sure that I’m coaching you and explaining to you like this task that maybe seems unimportant to our organization or our team is actually really, really important. And let’s talk about how that ladders up to our bigger, more important goals. And let’s really make sure that you’re feeling excited about this task, even if it’s a mundane task, because maybe that’s where it helps us grow to the next stage where it unlocks something, or to unlock something in your career. If you’re able to manage this task really do well for a while, then you can pass it on. And you can have a different type of growth. So it’s really understanding the individual, the task and what they need the support and from you as a manager, once you give your team that vocabulary, and ideally do that exercise with them, by modeling it first and being vulnerable, and showing the tasks that you have low competence and confidence in but are going to do anyway, it really builds a great way to have that discussion and be able to play that player coach that we talked about all the time and management in a really authentic tactical way.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 10:34
And so is that I mean, that latter part is that the the situational approach as well, which is Yeah, so that makes a lot of sense. And I can see where the yes, I’m super competent. So I don’t need you to teach me how to do this. But yeah, situationally speaking, like, I might not be very excited. And so that’s where, like you would come in? And, yes, you’re using like different tools for different types of situations. That makes a lot of sense. So how long did it take for you to get arrive at this very, I guess eloquently put framework, Oh,
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 11:09
lots of mistakes, I would say I spent on my own personal performance. So I like to have my OKRs I have my professional OKRs. And then I have my personal OKRs of where do I want growth. Typically, I changed my personal OKRs quarterly, because I will have mastered it or tackled it enough or learned it enough delegation stayed there for, I’d say, a good year, because it took me a good year to really understand the best way to do it. And I’m still constantly learning day to day, but adding different tools in my toolkit to actually operationalize what I’m saying. So, our one on ones with my team, I use task relevant maturity in it. So I asked them, How would you like me to manage you in this task, and I give them the drop down of the options of, I want you to be really hands on, I want you to be really hands off, I want you to be able to give me instruction and then check back in a week. Those are how I handle it, but it took a good year have full focus on it, to be able to get to a place where I felt better.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 12:11
Yeah. So what do you say to all the people who says hire smart people and get out of the way?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 12:17
I think, amazing what are the tasks that they’re going to be doing? What’s their role, and get out of their way in the places where they are highly proficient and highly committed. But check in with them, the biggest problem actually, that happens is, again, mixing people with their task or their role, this person is a high performer, eight, and you’re a high performer, I know that I will throw anything at you and you are gonna master it, kill it, smash it, etc. At some point, you’re gonna get something you’ve never done before, because I’m going to hopefully be passing off my Legos to you as we grow. And the minute that high performer is given a task that they can’t execute well and are not supported super well, they start feeling their confidence drops, something happens in their workflow. And that’s why it’s so important to just not assume that people can handle and tackle everything at the same level that they execute the tasks, they do really well and have those check ins. So I would say hire smart people get out of their way, and make sure you’re there for them and checking in on the specific tasks that they’re doing.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 13:22
And the reason I brought that up is that there are no I mean, it’s very dangerous, like the world of advice and management because you have these catchphrases. And then you know, people hear someone very smart and credible, say a catchphrase, and then it’s applying it. But I really, I mean, it’s hard to emphasize this enough that all of this stuff is so situational. And there are no catchphrases that you can just follow and assume that everything is just gonna go great.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 13:49
Exactly. That’s actually one of my biggest lessons is be open to listening to advice, but ultimately realize that you are going to have to figure out the playbook that makes the most sense for you and your situation in the moment that you’re in. And that comes from you actually knowing best. And it’s something we tell our founders all the time, unless you’re breaking a rule, or something is severely going to go wrong. You ultimately know the best answer for your team. And it’s not going to come in a perfectly laid out playbook as much as we would like it to.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 14:21
It’s very interesting, right? Like this stuff obviously applies to people management to building companies. And it’s nice to be open minded to hear all of the different possibilities and tools in the toolkit. But the reason this stuff is hard is because your team is different. The people on your team are different. So there’s just like there’s a lot to consider. And ultimately you’ve got to make the decisions. So let’s talk about this concept of a triple bottom line. I thought there was one bottom line, maybe you can explain what a triple bottom line is.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 14:52
So I believe my operating principle is keeping the triple bottom line in focus. And that’s because I like to think about Anything I do is a system. So what is the system that you are creating that you want to be able to work at a high level in? And so there’s three points, the system that I think about when it comes to managing a team, a company, and org, whatever it is. And it is the mission of what you’re building? Why are you building it, it’s the people very importantly, and then it’s the metrics and the KPIs. And what happens often is that we really leverage on one of those more than the other, or we really focus on one of those at the expense of the other. So if we have a really high performing team, maybe we’re very, very metrics driven. And we stopped thinking about our team engagement or team health, things along those lines, we’re very, very mission driven. And maybe we’re not focusing as much on the metrics. And I think a healthy organization that can sustain growth for a long period of time, is looking at those three things. So it’s the difference between running a sprint and a marathon. Successful businesses are a marathon, it is something that like your stamina, how you think about building needs to last you several years, not two weeks, even though we did lots of words work in Sprint’s it’s a different mentality, if you’re trying to say I need to last these two weeks, or I need to last eight to 10 years. So it’s thinking about how do we have those things in balance, and operationalize them accordingly. So it’s not just words on a wall, but it actually plays into what you’re doing every day.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:32
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And and do you think like, when you think about where to focus your area, whether its mission, people or metrics? Do you think that at various points in time you emphasize one more than the other at various stages of growth of the company? How do you think about where to balance it? And I wonder if any relevant stories come to mind? And what are the hyper growth companies that you’ve been involved in?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 16:57
Absolutely, I actually think that these things should shift in priority, quarter to quarter year to year, I actually wouldn’t say year to year, I commend every three, six months. But I’m shifting in priority. So maybe it’s like, you’ve got a really big push to get your systems in order to be able to scale really quickly. And so you’re going to be really focused on metrics quarter, but you want to make sure you’re measuring these other two parts to see if you dip below a line too far, that next quarter, you are even sooner than next quarter, you’re shifting your thinking on it. So I do think that needs to be constantly shifted. And if you use something like OKRs, or goals, it’s really thinking about, what’s the prioritization of that? And are you just keeping metrics as number one, throughout the whole year, if those other two things are imbalanced, great. If you see those other parts dip, maybe there needs to be a shift. Stories, I’d say that this came to be because at times we’ve been so in hyper growth, startups are very, very focused on metrics. And sometimes it can be at the expense of your people. And you don’t see it until it’s too late unless you’re measuring it. So for example, in the past, when I’ve been at companies where we’re very high performing teams trying to get to a certain revenue goal, let’s say, we didn’t pay attention to the fact that we had people leaving because there was something wrong. In the culture, there was something where they weren’t feeling supported, they were being burned out. Or we ourselves as managers were being burned out, because we were trying to navigate and handle too many things. And so this actually came to be from an own personal need of how do I make sure that I’m not burning myself out? And I’m not burning out anyone underneath me or at the same level, so that we’re really keeping ourselves in check for that long sustainability and holistic performance review?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 18:47
And do you feel that, you know, is this typically like an organizational purge position, or it’s effectively like team based or like department based.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 18:56
So the goal is that the organization thinks this way, now, I only choose to work in organizations that think this way. And when I am supporting our founders, I encourage them to think this way. However, you can’t always. That’s not always the situation. So if that’s not the situation, in your org, I talked about really focusing on your circle of influence and what you have control over. So if you are just responsible for your team, or your function, or whatever, it doesn’t matter what the leveling is, you can implement this in your team to understand what’s going on. And it’s as simple as choosing OKRs or metrics to track that really point up to these things using leading and lagging metrics, thinking about how do I actually make sure that I’m checking this every day.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 19:55
Got it. And so when we think about the so we’ve talked about people on metrics So, when it comes to the mission, maybe you can elaborate more on that, like, how is it that because you know, when I think about it, I mean, shouldn’t you always be focused on the mission? So how can you end up prioritizing the mission more or less, so maybe you can just elaborate on what you mean by that.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 20:17
So the mission is where you’re going. So ideally, you are always focusing on the mission. However, if we didn’t include it, and what we’re thinking about with the triple bottom line, when you move so fast, sometimes you can forget what you’re actually working towards. And sometimes in hyper growth companies, the mission changes, maybe you started out because you wanted to be the best company that did XYZ. And then maybe that changes to I want this company to IPO. And that’s a very different, your, your strategy to get there is very different. So it actually depends where the organization is and what they’re focused on. Ideally, they’re going towards this greater purpose. But maybe that’s not maybe you get closer to IPO. And it’s like, Listen, this year, our mission is to get to IPO. And that’s very different than thinking about our customers experience when they’re interacting with our product.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 21:14
And it also does make sense that you can have shifts in focus. And unless you clearly state them, it’s not obvious that everybody is going to know what the focus is, we thought that the focus was to increase customer engagement this year, and it could be something different. So speaking of focus and creating it, you also have this concept that you champion, that you call MBAs or mini board meetings. Sounds like a useful tool. What is it, so many
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 21:43
board meetings came directly from our founders asking, or actually telling us what they liked best and what they needed. So I very much believe when you build something, an org, a team, a product service, whatever it is, you should speak to the people that you’re building for to understand what actually are their needs, I use the jobs to be done framework to do that. And so I talked to our founders of like, Hey, what is the most valuable service that we can provide to you? What does that look like? What need is it meeting or not. And of course, there’s lots of investigation in that. But our mini board meetings are at the request of our founders. And it’s basically a time and space for them to practice what a board meeting would look like. So we do a lot of early stage investment. And this kind of goes into task, relevant maturity, and situational leadership and learning new skills and growth. And all of those wonderful things where the first time you do something, you’re going to be quite nervous about it, you’re not going to feel really confident, potentially, maybe you are very confident in it. But generally people have a little bit lack of confidence. And so are many board meetings are a safe space for our founders. So I use a very directive approach directive approach is new tasks, low commitment, or even high commitment but low skill, I give them a template, I say, Hey, you can use this any way you want. You can use this template, verbatim, you can change it, you can shift it. But this is your time and space to speak to our whole firm, about any strategic points that you want to cover, to practice going over your metrics to be able to dive into any talking points. And it’s giving them that opportunity to play and practice and grow in a place where they’re not on stage in a board meeting or it’s not a high, high anxiety, high level kind of high stakes is better said,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 23:35
hey there before moving to the next part of the interview, quick interjection to tell you about one of the internet’s best kept secrets, the manager TLDR newsletter. So every two weeks, we read the best content out there, the greatest articles, the advice, the case studies, whatever the latest and greatest is, we summarize it, and we send it to your inbox. We know you don’t have the time to read everything. But because we’re doing the work will summarize it and send it to your inbox once every two weeks. And the best news is completely free. So go on over to fellow dot app slash newsletter and sign up today. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview. Thinking about like within teams, I mean, one thing that comes to mind is the once upon a time, I guess it used to be much more common for people to have performance reviews and sack ranking, and do these once a year. And it would instill like fear and everyone who was involved. And you know more so organizations are doing just constant feedback. And or at least they’re doing this sort of like performance feedback type concept, like on a more frequent basis. So they’ve kind of turned them into mini board meetings. So that’s something that comes to mind. But are there other areas that one could use this concept in their teams?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 24:58
Absolutely give people space? is to play and fail safely. That’s what ultimately this is about. It’s creating space for our founders who we see as team members to be able to practice something, be playful, fail at it grow, learn, and it can be anything. So I’ve used this before in teams where I’ve managed, where I let individual contributors do the team meeting, they can organize it, they can run it, they can present at it, really identifying in their personal goals back to kind of like the OKR structure, and their personal goals, areas of growth that they want to explore. And then giving them lots of opportunities to practice that in a safe place. We’ve also done it with feedback, I do speed feedback, style things with my team, where every two weeks, we do speed feedback around the team, you have 15 minutes, you’re given a script of what to ask and what you know what questions to answer for someone else. But it’s creating space for people to practice new skills. Because you can read all you want all day long, if you’re not practicing whatever the new skill or growth area is, it’s not actually going to be helpful in your ultimate growth. So depending on whatever the skill is making room for people to practice it, yeah, I
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 26:16
think that makes a lot of sense just to have that safe space for them to be able to do that and also fail. So speaking of, again, you know, the concept of failing. So you have been involved in many, many teams, like when you start and building teams from scratch, everybody wants to know how to build a high performing teams, I would say a lot of people fail a lot, you know, add it, or they think that your teams are high performing. But maybe it’s like driving where everybody thinks they’re better than average, at driving? What have you learned about like, from teams that you’ve been involved in or, you know, companies that 776 has invested in where you really see like high performing executive teams? What are some of the characteristics or like what kind of things should one focus on when building a team from scratch?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 27:04
So the first thing I think you should do is do the job yourself. So whatever team function area that you’re building out, actually do that job yourself for as long as you can without it being detrimental to the organization. So that you actually experience firsthand what the pain points are, what the areas for growth are, you understand what your best attributes are in that area. So that you can also understand what are the skill sets, or the different areas of expertise or personalities, etc, that you need to be thinking about when you’re hiring for that team. So do it yourself, that also gives you credibility for whoever you’re hiring. And then understanding who you are serving and what their needs are. So again, going back to like really getting clear on who are you serving, and what are their needs. I’d also say for me, the best teams are low ego, high performance, and so not being afraid of being wrong. And exploring what that looks like. And being open to suggestive feedback and collaboration,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 28:13
what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. And if can be done, you should definitely do it and practice the role yourself. But in situations where it’s like, it’s really not possible, or like you said, maybe it’s a you’re managing a team. And then there’s this very highly technical task that, for example, it’s just not your domain. And you can’t practice it going back to the example of like building a website from scratch. But you have a developer on your team, like how do you think about those sorts of situations? Are there things that you can do to be able to function? Well, as a manager of that position?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 28:49
Sure. Let’s take it like you inherit a team, or you come in, you’re not necessarily building a team from scratch, I would say the same applies tweaked differently. So let’s say I’m, I’m now responsible for an engineering team, which is not my area of expertise. I’m going to go in there and I’m going to learn and I’m going to shadow and I’m going to ask them, What are the struggles? What are the parts that are really hard? What are the parts of your day that are really easy. I want to understand because as a manager, I am taking care of my team that is my job, the output of my team. And I want to understand what is making their output difficult, and what adds wind to their sails to be able to go faster. And a lot of that is sitting with the team observing, asking questions, really getting into what they’re doing. So that’s that’s one thing is to do that. Another example would be networking with other individuals in the space that are building those teams and asking what’s working well for them what’s not what are the lessons they’ve learned? What lessons have they not learned? Or they wish they could do differently? And then back to your point earlier, taking that advice, distilling it and thinking okay, what art’s work for me and this organization, and what parts Am I deciding to leave to the side or revisit again in three to six months. I think the other part that I will say that’s really important is focusing on where you are right now. And this is something we just did at our off site. Yesterday, we’re building an organization from scratch, we are at the very beginning. And as perfectionists and high performers, you can really want to be able to like craft these, like beautiful artifacts, whether they’re your values, or your operating principles, or your OKRs. And you want to baby shape, these like beautiful vases, hand painted, shaped perfectly, and you’re not at that stage. So actually, I am fidgeting with silly putty right now, I don’t know if you remember Silly Putty. But it’s, I do this thing that you cannot shape into a beautiful vase or vase, because it’s not possible. So this was to remind us of where we are in our stages and organization right now. And so when we’re creating our values, operating consoles, OKRs, we’re just trying to get a general shape. We’re just saying, like, what is the general shape, we’re gonna get at at this version one, knowing that next quarter, we’ll be able to refine it a little bit more, and the quarter after that, we might be able to add paint, and the next quarter, we’re going to make it even better, but like building for the stage that you’re at right now, and keeping it super simple.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 31:29
I’m curious if you could speak about the off site, and the format. And you know, how often do you do it and what the objectives are overall.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 31:39
So it changes. I’ll speak to last the offset we just had. So we have been running as you do when you’re lucky enough to be in an organization that’s doing really well. And one of the mistakes that I have made multiple times that I try to never make going forward is to stop running, and to actually lock your calendar off for two days, three days, whatever you need, so that you stop running, you stop being in firefighter mode, and you get to strategic mode. And so that’s what we did at our off site. We blocked our calendars for three days, no meetings, no interviews, no nothing to sit in a room together and talk about our foundations. What is it that we need to build so that we can run? And so for us where we’re at right now is we started with day one of our off site was culture and values. And what we wanted to get to the bottom of in our in our day one off site is the version one of our values of our operating principles of our founders scorecard of our candidates scorecard, and tackled something else that I can’t remember right now, because it was a lot. But version one of all of these documents, day two was focusing on prioritization, resources, vision and OKRs. And so we had three separate workshops that I ran on those different things. So figuring out, what are our resources, what is what is making us go fast, what is keeping us down what is what is preventing us from being able to move how we want to move our vision, we focused on our vision for three months, six months, and then infinity, again, kind of getting the holistic picture. And then our OKRs, which are a very basic list, nothing fancy, not focusing too heavy on the key result percentages, like OKRs are meant to be done at a more advanced stage for an organization. We just did 123 priorities and binary task lists underneath that. Is it accomplished? Is it not accomplished? So hopefully, that gives a little color to what we did?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 33:51
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, just you know, conceptually, I mean, we’ve talked a lot about it on the show, which is the just making time to be strategic, because otherwise you are constantly like in firefighter mode, like you said, and it’s really interesting. And people different people have different strategies. Some people might balk off, like you said they might have a, like certain time in the week, it might be two hours in the morning, you know, obviously on a quarterly basis doing that sort of thing. Yeah, I mean, Bill Gates even famously had like a think week where he would or maybe two weeks, and he would go off and just create a lot of white space for himself. I guess that question I have is, and it’s interesting, just on offsites, you mentioned that you ran two or three of the sessions. How do you think about the you know, what you should run internally or whether you should just hire someone to facilitate, you know, sessions like this, I assume you’ve been, you know, in different companies, you’ve been a part of different offsites what tends to work best?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 34:51
We will go back to situational advice. I think it depends on the org the stage and what you’re looking for. I believe that it’s great to be able to bring in a facilitator or an Agile coach or whomever to be able to run a workshop. I think that is wonderful ideal all participants are able to focus on what they’re doing and not necessarily facilitating. We joke. I am a facilitator by trade. I love it. So I was teased a lot about facilitators are going to facilitate that is what the role that I play. I think for this off site, it worked really well. Going forward. Our plan is that each leadership teamers facilitate a different workshop so that we’re sharing that work. And again, it goes back to doing the task, if you can’t do the whole task by yourself, because it’s just not possible breaking off parts of the task, so that it’s a shared kind of experience knowledge of what it is that’s needed to be successful so that you can build better. So for us right now, that was the right solution. We’re going to tweak it for the next quarter. And maybe next year, we’ll have a professional facilitator come in, but this is what worked for us right now.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 36:03
Cristina, we’re just coming up on time. It’s been a super insightful conversation, we’ve talked about task, relevant maturity, triple bottom line and mission people metrics, building teams from scratch offsites, many board meetings, many topics. And one question that we always like to end with is for all the managers and leaders out there constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks or parting words of wisdom that you’d like to leave them with?
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 36:36
Sure, I have four things that I think about when it comes to leadership and setting yourself and your team up for success. I’d say the first thing is it starts with you, as a manager, invest in yourself. If you don’t know how to manage yourself, you’re going to struggle managing a team. The second one is communication is key. No matter where you are in an org, actually, the higher up you get, the more important communication is the more people are going to be searching for context clues of what you mean. And they’re going to be watching what you do, they’re going to be looking at everything you do and everything you don’t do. So make sure that you’re communicating well, and what you’re doing. And what you’re saying are in harmony. If you’re saying that you don’t care about spending on marketing, and your marketing spend is super high, that doesn’t add up. So make sure what you’re doing and what you’re saying are in harmony. What we say is to be successful, you want to diversify your portfolio, I think to be successful as a manager, and as a board, make sure you’re diversifying your skill set your backgrounds, you’re having lots of different people be able to give input on what you’re building. And lastly, I’ll give a shout out to one of our portfolio companies, the grand which is built on helping managers manage themselves and grow in leadership. So it’s cohort based coaching. So you’re in a team and a safe space with other leaders, where you’re able to talk about these really hard topics that come up the mistakes that you’ve made, the lessons you’ve learned, and how to go forward in that, because management can feel really, really lonely at times. And so having this podcast like you have where people can understand, hey, it’s actually really hard, and it’s really tricky. And having that safe space I think is really important.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 38:28
That’s great advice and great place to end is Cristina, thanks so much for doing this.
Cristina Georgoulakis (Seven Seven Six) 38:32
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.