Diversity helps you in many ways. It brings diversity of thought when you're building diverse teams, people with diverse experiences, that works backgrounds, ethnic diversity, etc. You are bringing people together that are going to look at the same situation differently, bring new ideas and also identify blind spots that you otherwise wouldn't have identified.
In this episode
What makes high-performing teams? According to Dan, you need 3 foundational elements.
Dan Greene is the Sr. Vice President of North American Sales and Growth at Impossible Foods. Dan also led large teams and revenue-generating business units at Google and Twitter, and has served over 11 years as a Navy fighter pilot.
In episode 94, Dan shares the three elements of building high-performing teams: hiring, training and learning.
Dan also talks about how he learned to lead with data, and not just instinct, and when it is important to bring decision-making to the table.
Tune in to hear all about Dan’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.
Transparency and decision-making
Leading with data vs instinct
Constant reflection and learning
Signals of a high-performing team
The process of ongoing training
Culture of empowered and inspired teams
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:22
Dan, welcome to the show. Thanks. Yeah, it’s great to have you on. I know you’ve had a pretty extensive leadership career you spend time at Google Twitter, you were Navy fighter pilot for I think, like a decade, right? Yeah. 11 years. Yeah, that’s amazing. And today, obviously, your senior vice president at Impossible Foods. So there’s a lot that we’re going to talk about today. I’m very curious about, you know, the, I guess like Navy background, and then getting into tech. So we’ll dig into a lot of that. But what I wanted to start out with was, do you remember when you first started to lead a team? What were one of the mistakes that you used to make at that time,
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 03:21
the first leadership experiences I had go all the way back to like student government in junior high school, and then like student government, and in high school, as team captain for wrestling team, those are structured leadership positions, not quite the same as leaving the military or leaving the business world. But those are the first leadership positions I had. I think if I go back to that time, I would say one thing I understand now that I probably didn’t understand then is as a leader, I didn’t have to have all the answers. It wasn’t my job to always have the answer and always tell people what needed to happen. That that can be a far more collaborative process. And, in fact, it’s more empowering when you involve your teams in decision making. And there are times where I mean, certainly, as a leader, you should have answers. We should have perhaps many answers to this, but not always, and not absolutely, and certainly important to pull people into the decision making process. I certainly did not understand that as a high school kid, when I probably didn’t really understand that until I would say, you know, decently early in my military career, and leadership positions at the Naval Academy are with the college. It’s essentially a whole leadership lab for the four years from school. The whole student body is organized as a military unit. So you have you have leadership responsibilities there. And so I learned a lot about leadership there as well. This concept probably began to take root at that point in time and really begin to understand that in your 20s.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 04:50
That makes a lot of sense. Do you remember how you ended up realizing that was there like a single moment or was it a series of things like how did you figure out that particular realization?
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 05:01
That’s a good question. I don’t I can’t recall a single moment, unfortunately, I wish I had a good story about that. I think it just sort of dawned on me, it’s probably more a reflection of my own experiences as a follower, right? Where there were times where somehow, you know, various instances over the course of my younger years, where I was involved in decision making in collaborative conversations with somebody who’s leading me, or the team that I was, and probably recognized the power of that. And I’ll recall a single incident or story that really kind of relates that
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 05:33
what kind of changes that made in the way that you approach situations today when, say, you’re impacted with a situation that you may not know how to deal with, like, what is the like, how do you tend to go about that,
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 05:47
or tend to be as transparent as possible. So I try to talk, I try to provide as much context as I can about decision making decisions that we’re making. So everyone understands what’s going on. Sometimes that’s after a decision has been made. But there are plenty of other times where I’ll use my current role as an example. Right now, I’m responsible for North American sales impossible, which is about 95% of our sales right now, or more mostly in US and Canada, we have several other countries, but those countries are smaller, and international revenue, and sales is picking up steam. It’s growing. But right now, most of its here in the US and Canada. And so I’ve got a team of about 80 people, like any organization, I’ve got a management team as well. So it doesn’t matter across that organization. And we meet on a regular basis to talk about the business and talk about what we’re doing, and discuss strategy and discuss decisions to be made all the time. And most of the time, if we’ve got a decision to make, most of the time I bring that decision to that that group, because we’re meeting weekly, I also meet with my direct reports, weekly, as well. So I try to bring as much to the table as I can, as opposed to just making decisions on me, even if I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do. Or even if I have a pretty good idea of what I think we should do. I almost always bring things to the group, we discuss it. And there’s been plenty of times over the years where I might have thought we needed to do it a certain way. And in discussion, I realized that I wasn’t thinking about something or I wasn’t thinking clearly about a situation and the discussion illuminates blind spots. And so that’s the basic process that I’m from now,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:27
that makes sense and have you think about what decisions you should make versus other people on the team or what should be done collectively or individually.
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 07:36
There’s certainly a balance, there’s sometimes really sensitive discussions that have to be made like leadership changes or team changes. In business, sometimes you have to do organizational changes that eliminate teams, those kinds of conversations, unfortunately, can’t be broadly, they can’t happen broadly, right? Like there’s, it’s highly sensitive, you don’t want information to leak, you got to control the message. And so there are definitely times we’re dealing with sensitive things that I have to think about on my own. Maybe I’m talking to my boss not so I’ve got that, or maybe my HR business professional business partner, sorry, is in the know. And then I typically try and work quickly to a point where I can pull in at least a few of folks in my leadership team, because even in those situations where things are sensitive, you still want to get input, right? Like I mean, this is part of what diversity is really all about this push towards diversity, business and organizations, right? Diversity helps you in two ways. One is it brings diversity of thought when you’re building diverse teams, people with diverse experiences, that works backgrounds, ethnic and diversity, etc. You are bringing people together that are going to look at the same situation differently, and bring new ideas and also identify blind spots that you otherwise wouldn’t have identified. And so the sooner you can get at least a few people involved in dealing with a situation or making a decision, the better your chances are of I think making the right decision at least. And certainly identifying either opportunities are blind spots that you’re not considered.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 09:14
Yeah, I think that’s super helpful. And it certainly is a really good business case for diversity. On the context of decision making. One of the things that I know you’ve, you have an opinion or two about is leading with data and making decisions with data. It’s an interesting topic, particularly because of your background in the Navy, where at least for an outsider, I think about I might imagine that there’s a lot of decisions made based on instinct, and like very quick decisions. And so coming from that world, how do you think about when to trust your instinct and when to trust your gut and when to think about data?
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 09:54
I think it’s very situationally dependent. I think there are times where you got to move fast and operate with little data in and make decisions based off your experience. And one or the other instinct your instinct is, is influenced by your experiences, right your instincts. I think instincts like if you’re 10 years old, your instincts are going to be different than when you’re 30 years old. And the reason, of course, is multifaceted, your brain still developing, but one of the things is, you don’t have the same experience. And your experience influences your instincts, right? The idea that you that your instincts aren’t based off of knowledge, or even data is probably a little bit a little bit off, right? Because your instincts are certainly informed by observations, ie data that you’ve picked up over the years. So your instincts can get better. And you can rely more on them over time. But I think that there are plenty of leaders and managers out there that tend to make decisions based off of what they think. And the problem with that is, you’re just one data point, right? Like, yeah, you’ve got the, you’ve got the the body of your experience that like if you try to make a decision, for instance, off of what product to make, because you think this product is the right thing to do based on you know, what, you know, unless you’re maybe Steve Jobs, like, that’s probably going to be the wrong, you’re probably getting the wrong signals, right, like consumer interests, and consumer demand. And sentiment is a complicated thing. And if you’re not taking a little bit of time to collect data on what the market may want, or need, or what consumers may want or need, you very easily could develop the wrong features in the wrong product. So you know, there are times where collecting some data is really very, very important. There are other times where you, you have to look for pattern is very little data, because you got to make a decision now. And that’s one of the experiences I’ve had in the startup world, you know, we don’t always have time to collect a lot of data, or you don’t have a lot of time, or you don’t have a lot of data to even get to right, you have to look for a couple of signals, maybe two data points makes a line and say, Well, we’re going to go for that because we got to make the call now, in the military, this sort of general way, I think that decisions are taught to one degree or the other is, hey, collect as much data as you can get to 75% data clarity, and then make a decision based off of the best information you have. There’s an old saying, I can’t remember who set up originally, but something to the extent of like a imperfect plan, executed with energy and vigor now is way better than a perfect plan executed to me, I think that I’ve seen managers operate with pure instinct that tends to go wrong. I’ve seen managers operate, you know, like, they won’t make any decision without getting data 100% of the data or try to get 100% of the data and, and they end up with sort of analysis paralysis, and they move too slowly. And there’s sort of a balance in between them. That works.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 12:41
That’s certainly a really good way to put it. I’m very glad that you you said that there’s actually no one answer. It’s a balance. And it depends on the situation, I think like this is what makes a lot of management difficult is a lot of it is situational. One thing I did want to ask, though, is how do you like there is a point where you can like I think people have instincts about a lot of different things. But sometimes you can trust your instinct more than others. How do you think about like when you know that trusting your instinct is a good idea? Or like when you think that it’s not a good time to trust your instinct? Maybe it depends
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 13:19
on the scope of what you’re deciding. So one of the things you’re always trying to figure out when you’re leading sales organizations is what’s the optimal sort of scale? Like, how many accounts are prospection? I signed to a sales rep, based off of which segment of the market they’re going after? And and what’s the right amount of time it should take to close a deal? And what the what are the right metrics to measure all that against so that we’re operating this effectively and efficiently as possible, because you’ve got the sort of sales and right leads come in, work them, and then revenue comes out. And it’s not as simple not quite as simple as that. Because there are, you know, big customers, medium customers, small customers, right. So in there’s a different sales motion and a different set of expectations you might have for the different segments of the market, you’re going after, depending on what your business is. But within the food service industry, well, within tech, it’s really common to go after both large scale customers, as well as SMB customers, if you have a product that fits. And how you do that is a little bit different. The amount of energy you put into enterprise, large customers versus SMB customers very, very different. And so it’s sort of natural to want to try and do that. If you come from Tech. Yeah, we should. We should try and go after that. So we tried that out impossible. Let’s do that kind of thing. Let’s try to get a, an SMB kind of team together, and go after small restaurants, right, one and two unit one or two door kind of restaurants. The problem is that the fundamental economics don’t really work like they do in tech. The margins in tech are like 90%. If you’re selling software, it’s 95%. But if you’re selling food, it could be 20%. They’re very different margin games. So the actual value of every incremental small customer is relatively low compared to tech, and then you got to factor the amount of time it takes. So what I’m getting at is that we could have trusted our instincts, like done the math and sort of said, You know what, this is probably not going to work. Or we can try it and collect some data and then decide if it’s gonna work. You know, I think it would have been probably the wrong decision to trust our instincts, in that case, be like, Hey, I don’t know if this is gonna work or not. But I think it did work to sort of try it, collect a bunch of data, and then make a decision and know for sure, like we were able to, we were able to do that. There’s probably pros and cons to that process. But sometimes your instincts may be right, but sometimes they may be wrong. And if you have the ability to collect data to inform the decision, then you certainly can be in a much better place. The reverse of that is true. Like if we, if we said, we trust her and sucks, and all this has got to work worked in tech, it’s got to work in in food, and built out a whole huge team, and just let it rip. Without collecting data and evaluating, we would have gone down a significantly bad path.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:07
That’s a really, really good example. One thing that I did want to also asked you about is the concept of high performing teams, what have you learned about how to build a high performing team? And are there differences in the way that you would answer that question, say, in a military context, or like in a high tech company context or in a food contacts? Like, would you apply the same principles across the board?
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 16:33
I would I mean, I think some of my thoughts on high performing teams come from my experiences in the military, I started thinking, Well, you know, I think for anybody, no matter what you do, there is a difference between just sort of doing it and learning from your experiences, and thinking about it, and reflecting and combining your thoughts, your reflections with your experiences, and accelerated your development. And I call that being a student of your craft. And I think leadership’s no different, right? Like, there are people that I’ve encountered over the course of my life in my career, that are really good at what they do. And as I look at that, and I’ve examined that a little bit, in some cases, if not many cases, some of the best are students of their craft. Jerry Rice is one of the best wide receivers of all time. And one of the things about Jerry Rice is like he’s naturally gifted as an athlete, but he also worked harder. Like he, he studied more, he was more game tape. He studied more in the offseason, like he was a true student of his craft, and that helped accelerate his development. I think, as a leader, I’ve tried to do the same thing. I’ve tried to reflect and study and write down my thoughts on various aspects of leadership or team building. And building high performing teams is was a result of that my thoughts on that are a result of reflecting on like, okay, the high performing teams I’ve been a part of, or the ones that should have been hiding from us, like, what are the things that seem to differentiate? How do you actually make that happen? Because if you ask anybody and say, Well, what would you like to have a high performing team? Or, or an average performance? You know, time from Team sounds pretty good? Okay, great. Well, how do you do that we just hire great people. I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Right. So everywhere I’ve been I’ve, what I’ve picked up on this is what I’ve picked up on is like high performing teams have to maniacal at the very, there’s probably a lot of things that don’t. But the very foundational elements, the basis for at all is you have to hire the right people, you have to put a lot of energy into how you do that. And you have to then train. And it’s not just training them in the new hire point. But on an ongoing basis, you have to have a whole culture of around training. And then you have to have, you have to establish a learning environment where people are continuously and constantly learning from their experiences, those three things combined, have tended to make high performing teams in my experience. So and you have to be maniacal about these three things, because they’re very easy to put into it in an either ignore them, or put them into an administrative bucket of like stuff I don’t really spend a lot of time on because what I really need to do is go sell right, what I really need to do is build this this product, right? But if you don’t take the time to hire the right people and make sure you have a very thorough process and how to do that, you’re the raw talent, the raw material you’re getting in, will never get you there. Right. So you absolutely have to have a highly selective a hiring process or recruiting process. And that should be very well scripted. And I have plenty of thoughts about that. But then the second thing is okay, you’ve hired fantastic people, if you don’t put a tremendous amount of energy into training them and training them on an ongoing basis, then what’s the point of hiring really great people, right? Because you’re not equipping them with the right tools, process knowledge that they need to perform their jobs. And then the last point is that organization, that alone won’t be enough, right? Because you need to create a culture where people are constantly reflecting and constantly learning from their experiences in discussing those experiences, whether it’s formal reviews or informal feedback, after actually ports, debriefs, all of these components come together. And if you’re not doing those things, I think, in my experience, very, very difficult to get a high performing team.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 20:08
So I guess one of the questions I would ask is, how do you know? Like, if you were to, I guess, like part of it is the, you know, there’s constant training and constant learning. That is an element of it. But is there another thing like if someone were to ask themselves like, like, do I have a high performing team? Or is this a high performing team? Is there something that you would look for that like are characteristics that let you know that this is one of those teams,
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 20:35
I might conflate high performing with good culture? Those two things tend to be kind of related. But I mean, I would certainly look at those three elements, right? I’d look back at those three elements and say, Are we doing those things? But do I have people that take initiative and operate autonomously? Do I have people that think creatively and critically and bring the thoughts and ideas and opinions to the table freely? Do I have people that offer feedback, whether it’s feedback up or sideways or down on a regular basis? And? And do I have a culture where people accept that feedback? They don’t get defensive? When we do training to people wholeheartedly engage and actually attend? And actually, you know, are they a part of that? Those might be some of the signals? Of course, like the biggest signal would be, you’re setting the right goals, and your team’s achieving those goals on a pretty regular consistent basis.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 21:24
I think that makes a lot of sense. So you talk about this concept of, you know, hiring and making sure that you spend a lot of time hiring and hiring the right people. What have you learned about like finding the right people? What is the hiring process look like? Say it Impossible Foods? Hey, there, just a quick pause on today’s episode to let you know that we really appreciate you helping us spread the word about the Supermanagers podcast, if you’re enjoying what you’re hearing, so far, dial into your podcast app of choice, whether that’s on Apple, or Android or Spotify. And just leave us a quick review. Now back to the interview.
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 22:08
I’m a product of my experience, right? So while at Google as well, Twitter, I went to a couple of different startups that have been impossible for about two and a half years. And then I was in the military for a while military hiring process a little different, right? It’s a little different than business. But there are examples of recruiting and hiring processes in the military are really thorough. If you think about like, what the Navy SEALs do, there’s a really thorough, not so much recruiting process, but like vetting process to hire who they ultimately want. For me, a hiring process that works really well, in my experience is it’s kind of an operational administrative process that you want to make sure you’ve got really clear ideas of who you’re hiring, and what roles you’re hiring for. And all that’s really well documented, you want to make sure that you’ve established clear criteria for how you evaluate people in the interview process way. We’re looking for these five attributes. And here’s questions, literally questions that we use to get those attributes. And here’s examples of Perfect, good, below average, below average answers to those questions, and take all of that, and then it should be my opinion, and objective, numerical sort of grading criteria for each of those actions. And whoever is interviewing, that panel should be defined, it shouldn’t be endless. Hey, anybody who’s available, hates now this group of 10 people for our organization they interviewed. That’s it, they’re trained, they’re calibrated, everybody is informed about this criteria. And these attributes, how we conduct these interviews, and everyone is trained and calibrated on all of that. And then you you make sure that people understand how not only that information, but how to run these interviews, as you do the, as you go through an interview folks, for various roles, that 10 person group should be getting together every single week, every single week, and talking about the candidates talking about the scores, calibrating those experiences, so everybody stays in sync, because what you want is you want Johnny and Jane to ultimately be evaluating as consistently as possible for folks that we’re trying to hire. There’s more details to it all. But that’s the kind of process I think the other thing I’ve learned is, a lot of people tend to bias towards experience. They look that hey, we need to hire a sales rep to go close, you know, large scale accounts. And so they look for people who’ve done that and, and they look at their experiences and where they’ve been and so on so forth. And then they run sort of an informal interviewing and discussion sort of process. It’s not really well calibrated or organized and they hire that person and they’re biased towards the experience. And what I think I’ve learned is, oftentimes, talent can trump experience there have been plenty of times where the person doesn’t have all the right experience. It’s not they’re not any but they don’t have all the right experience. But clearly we’re getting signals on talent and They’ll make up for a relatively short order, and time. And again, that’s been proven to be true. Like, where talented people can learn quickly, and can fill the gaps in their experiences pretty quickly and ultimately outperform over time. I wouldn’t say that’s absolutely true. And I wouldn’t say that that works in every single case. And I’m not saying that it makes sense to go hire somebody who has no experience to do a certain job, because just because they’re really smart and talented, but I most definitely, I would absolutely hire somebody who’s a fit on talent and culture, who doesn’t have the right experience than the opposite. I would never hire somebody that has the right experience, who’s not a fit on talent and culture.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 25:38
Yeah, I think putting it that way makes a lot of sense. And it was really interesting seeing how much work you actually put into it. Because it’s the, what is this person exactly going to do? What is the exact criteria? And what I loved? Was you even had, like, example, answers of what a great answer or a really poor answer looks like. I think that that’s great. And even the concept of don’t just grab anyone who’s available to do an interview, make sure that the people who are doing interviews are actually trained on the concept. I think, like that’s a level of operational excellence, that would make a big difference for a lot of companies on training like I, one of the questions on training is I think for some sales teams, maybe there’s some natural ways to go about it. Because you are often like bringing people together, and they’re sharing experiences. How else would you think about training for other types of groups? Or what are the maybe like the types of training that you do entail seems
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 26:42
the concept of ongoing training was beaten into me in the military, because, as an aviator, you spend several years going through flight training, spent a lot of time getting trained, right flying train, it’s endless for a good, yeah, three years before you’re in your first squadron, and first operations wire, but it doesn’t stop, it just continues. You’re just constantly training, you’re continuously training and being tested on the basics, the basics of this aircraft systems and safety procedures, then your squadron takes written tests on a regular basis, you literally going to sit down, you’re going to take written tests, every couple of weeks on like emergency procedures, and this limitation, this thing, you know, every few weeks, you’re doing this as a group, self regulated. And then every year, you have to pass a flight test, and evaluation. And then there’s lots of other tests that you’re testing sort of that you go through as, as you get more qualifications. But there’s a basic, it’s called Nate tops, which was naval air tactical operations, I think something like that. And detox is the sort of governing constant regulation for a given airplane, or the way in which we fly. And you have to have a top evaluation every single year, and pass it or you couldn’t fly. And so that concept of like, hey, it’s not just about new hire training. But it’s ongoing training to be great at what you do. So I’ve tried to take that into my roles in business. And it’s not life or death, working at Google or Twitter, or impossible. But our success or failure as a sales organization is at least in part due to how well we execute. Certainly product is important piece of that, like, if we can’t execute well as a sales team on an ongoing basis, then we’re not going to meet the goals and objectives we need to meet. And so we have to not only train people as we hired them and make sure that they know what to do. But we have to sort of like continuously devote energy to it. So ongoing training for sales teams means product training, new products, or product features we sit down with, but it also means just practicing the pitch. So this is something we started like we were doing this, at Google, we used to call pitchapalooza, we would just informally get together every single week at the sale and just go like do a mock sales pitch. And then, you know, have fun with it, debrief it. I’ve tried to continue doing that at organizations I’ve been a part of. So even that level of informality where you’re practicing the very basics, even the most experienced sales rep has been there for three years or five years. Hey, let’s hear it. Let’s have you run through a sales pitch, or just go back and practice and rehearse basic objection handling, like these things. If they’re not constantly used, and in refreshed, those really basic skills will get rusty and they’ll erode.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 29:23
It’s a good way to look at it. And also, I assume me You mentioned debrief. So I assume like there’s a process of other people giving each other feedback and also learning from things that others may do really well or mistakes that they make. Try not to make those and pitches do evolve over time.
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 29:41
They definitely do evolve over time. And this idea of creating a learning culture part of that one element of that is the concept of of a debrief or after action report or what have you. This was awesome hammered into me in my experience in the military, we would, you know, if we go fly and you’d fly several times a week three, three to five, maybe six times a week. Every single flight required preparation, then they had like an hour long brief of what we’re going to do. And then you get your flight gear and you go fly, which might be an hour or two hours, three or four. And then you come back and you could spend hours debriefing, reviewing every detail from the preparation to the brief, to the flight itself to the debrief, debrief, the debrief, everything was reviewed, and everything was commented on. And then one of the really important concepts was he had to check your rank at the door, one of these military has a little bit more than civilian world is this rank structure? Well, you go on a flight, you could be able to turn it flying with a captain or a, you know, an admiral, and but you know, you come back from the debrief, and you’re equals, and no matter who screwed up, or who did well, you call it out. And so I’ve tried to bring that concept into my jobs in the civilian world since then, the business world and, and anytime we do a customer call or a customer meeting, or even just a somebody does a big internal presentation, you know, we try to debrief provide feedback.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 31:01
Yeah, that’s super interesting. So you actually do more debriefing and after analysis than you do flight time in the
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 31:10
military? If it was, look, I mean, if it was a really simple flight might take 15 minutes. But if it was a really complicated flight, like you went out and did dogfight training, you can use these for an hour debrief these, because you’re watching, you’re also watching videotape of the engagement. You can record certain things. But yeah, you can spend, you can use this for an hour and a debrief.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 31:29
Yeah, it’s super interesting, right. Like the mean goes back to something that we started the discussion with, which is just being a student of your own craft. I mean, athletes do this all the time, like you said, watching videos of themselves, like marking things up, and then deliberately practicing very individual things to help you get better.
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 31:48
It’s everything watching game tape. I mean, the best athletes do this, I’m sure there’s fantastic athletes who probably don’t watch a lot of beauty, because they’re just naturally gifted. But I have to imagine most of the best are watching tape.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 32:01
Once teams start getting larger, and you’re now managing an organization, what are some things that you have learned in in order to help just build a good culture where people feel empowered, supported and also inspired to do great work,
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 32:19
there’s probably a lot of things. First, I’d say that managers do matter, they can be really negative, and they can be a cancer in an organization, or they can be a game changers. Or they can, I guess, in some cases be netzero. But you know, you hire the right leaders in the right managers, their force multipliers, they work, they’ll help create the right environment. They’ll help foster positive, you know, morale, the help inspire and energize their teams. And they will help retain talent. And so I put a lot of emphasis into hiring managers that I think understand how how to lead. And part of that is people that have high EQ that are oriented towards people, you have to be technically competent, you have to be able to do many different things. As a manager, it’s not enough just to be a great coach or a great people leader, you have to be able to do more than that. But if you in my experience, if you’re not a great people, leader, a great a great coach and a great people manager, I think it becomes very, very difficult for you to do well in for the organization to do well. There are a lot of examples of people that are relatively terrible people, managers, who are highly successful business leaders. So this is not absolutely true. I would not say that like to be successful in business, you have to be a great people, man. That is absolutely not true. I think to be a great leader, you do need my opinion, I think to be a truly great leader, and a truly great business manager, I think you do need to be really good people manager, because in my opinion, to be truly great, it means that not only does your team achieve great results, but they feel really good about in one way. And they feel inspired and motivated. So I I hold a higher bar than just achieving the results. And so a big focus for me is in hiring managers that understand these concepts and have proven track records wherever possible, performing at a level where they’re achieving great results and have strong motivated, inspired teams. I think that the cultural elements that are important the things that you you know, to create that right environment, you have to care, ultimately, right? Like, you need people who care deeply about the folks who work for them as individuals, right? Like they’ve got to, they have to care enough to make time to meet one on one on a weekly bi weekly basis. They have to care enough to make time when that person really needs to talk. They have to care enough to get to know the individuals who report to them they have to care enough to work the extra hours because they had to put time into this person or that person or whatever. And now they’ve got to get something done to the business or what have you. They have to care enough to promote and celebrate their people’s wins, you know, and to support them and give them feedback when they mess up. caring deeply is the question Central sort of difference between, I think great people, managers and average people, managers. So I look for that country as well.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 35:08
We’ve talked about a lot of different topics. We’ve talked about leading large teams, continuous learning, high performing teams, we delve into training quite a bit. One of the questions that we like to ask everybody who comes on the show is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any tips, tricks, or final parting words of wisdom that you would leave them with?
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 35:33
Actually, I think the part about caring is one of the, I think one of the more important things that like, in my experience, and in my opinion, great leadership comes from a servant base mindset. Your job is to help figure out what the right strategy is, and help figure out what the right goals objectives are the right path for your team, your organization, that’s, that’s your job. And you don’t have to do that alone. Like your team can help you with that. It’s not your job to do it all. Do all that come up with it on your own. As I’ve said in the beginning, that’s step one. And then step two is to care deeply about your people take care of your people, and they’ll help take care of the rest. And so that’s a really simple leadership philosophy, right? Define the mission and vision path and objectives. Take care of your people, they’ll take care of those first that point, one, you know, and taking care of your people means supporting them, it means building the right connection and building trust. It means helping them do their jobs, giving them coaching, guidance, mentorship, and they did, it means lifting barriers and saw them to solve problems. And also, it really means supporting them. And when you when you do that, when you really do that your team see it right, like it’s very apparent. They know they’re supportive, they know you have their back, they know you’re there for them, and they know you care deeply. And that creates trust and confidence in your leadership ability and they will follow you and they will be inspired in their work. And when they follow you and they’re inspired in their work, they will ultimately achieve what you need them to achieve. You don’t have to be a jerk. You don’t have to be a tyrant in sit there. So just tell people what to do. And in a disconnected way in order to achieve the objectives you’re trying to achieve. There’s a better path. That’s great
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 37:13
advice, and also a great place to end it. Thanks so much for doing this.
Dan Greene (Impossible Foods) 37:17
Yeah, my pleasure. Good questions is good to chat with you.