In times of volatility, where it's difficult to understand where the markets gonna go, and there's a lot that's outside of your control, there's going to be fear, uncertainty, doubt. There's going to be a new element inside of how you manage your teams, which is anxiety about what's happening in the larger environment. And so you have two choices, and one of them is kind of a non choice, you can either do nothing about it and stay quiet and just continue to march forward. Or you can actually acknowledge where you are, and start to lead for your team.
In this episode
What impacts employees in having a positive or negative attitude about their workplace?
Hint: it’s not just salary!
Matt Martin is the CEO and Co-founder of Clockwise, a tool that optimizes your team’s calendars to create more time in everyone’s day.
In today’s episode, Matt shares his insights on growing in a volatile economy and how to show up for your team in times of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).
He also talks about team engagement buckets and the different factors that affect job attitudes and what leads your team to having a positive or negative attitude at work.
Matt gave us an inside look at his leadership style, different meetings Clockwise hosts on a weekly basis, and he even shared his top time management tips for managing his calendar.
Tune in to hear all about Matt’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.
Letting go as a new manager
The Zen state of management
Managing in times of volatility
The elements of sustainable work
Matt’s leadership style
Investing in leader’s growth
Clockwise’s various weekly meetings
Optimizing your time
Finding zen moments in management
- Follow Matt here
- Try Clockwise’s free Weekly Kickoff Meeting Template
- Check out the factors affecting job attitude graph
- Listen to Vlad Magdalin’s episode
- Read Principles by Ray Dalio
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:41
Matt, welcome to the show.
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 03:35
Thanks so much for having me.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:36
Yeah, very excited to do this. You know, you and I were chatting beforehand, you know, you’re currently the CEO and co founder at Clockwise and I feel like both Fellow and Clockwise have similar missions, we kind of tackle things from different angles. And so it’s really exciting to have you on the show. You are no stranger to startups. Yeah, you were working at relate IQ before that got acquired by Salesforce for a pretty hefty sum. And yeah, and it seems like even before that you were a civil litigator. So you’ve had an interesting career. But what I wanted to do was start from the very beginning, and ask you Do you remember when you first started to lead a team? And what were some of those early mistakes that you used to
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 04:21
make? It’s funny, there are a couple different answers this and the earliest that I started to lead a team it was out of college, I ran a publication that was focused on Minnesota politics. Now with a lot of intent. I ended up managing a few different writers in that role. The second answer, very informal. The second answer is that when I was a civil litigator, I managed a team of lawyers that are doing document review and would do that periodically. But the real answer and where I focus for the purposes of this podcast is my experience managing software engineers, and my career has been an odd path for certain but having a It turns software engineering about a decade ago, I started managing my first engineering team about seven years ago. And you know, one of the first mistakes that I made it and I’ve seen this by so many managers is, you, especially in software, there’s this path where you enter management while you’re still doing your full kind of nine to five software engineering job. It’s rare, and some companies are better about this than others. But it’s rare that you just, you know, all of a sudden, one day you switch gears entirely into being a manager of people and you stop coding, you stop doing code receptors and other stuff. candidate, my first mistake at that moment was just not letting go of enough, I hung on to that icy engineering work for long because I liked it, it’s very quick cycle of feedback, you get to put your fingers to keyboard, and this is why I still love doing it. And you get that a jolt of like I created something whereas management works on a much longer cadence, you know, even for stuff that you can impact in terms of processes, you know, the fastest you might see results is on the order of weeks, but usually months, sometimes years. In the case of careers, it took me a while to realize how much I was neglecting the managerial duties because I was still orienting towards Hey, this coding stuff is really rewarding. And I’m still asked to do it. So I’m gonna spend most of my time there.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 06:20
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I do agree, it’s almost you have to learn to get fulfilled in a slightly different way. Right not seeing, you know, code that you push in projects that you’ve coded up. But it’s a different sort of satisfaction.
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 06:35
Totally, I think that you and I probably both seen this. I mean, when you see a team, or specifically an individual, you know, I think of an engineer that I worked with on my team, who I had to coach up a little bit, how to help the rest of the team out great engineer, really high impact in terms of individual contributor, heart was in the right place, but just didn’t have the right patterns of helping the team with architecture get out ahead of stuff. And seeing him rise to the occasion and seeing the first time that that team really shipped a win. And like, you know, you could see how impactful he had been and how much he had grown. Like that is like, that is so addicting. And that is the lifeblood for me of the reward of being a manager. But it takes so much time to get there. I mean, there was months before I ever saw anything like that,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:21
it makes a lot of sense. You’re right, like it does happen. The impact of the work that you do does take a while to actually realize, you know, my question was what series of events led you to actually learn that? Or how long did it take you to, you know, realize that, to some
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 07:37
degree, this is why we started clockwise. But I’ll say that story, you know, I was constantly in a reactive state, I didn’t have enough time to be proactive for the team. And one of the things that jolted me out of it was a feedback cycle. You know, it was just seeing the team reflect outside a one on ones, they weren’t giving me some feedback. But having that time to have the crystallize it, it was probably about six months into when I first started managing, but seeing the feedback is still, you know, I can still recall, it just you know, positive things. As always, when you look at a feedback, I try to coach everybody on my team not to do this, and I was guilty of it, you skim right through the good stuff. And you look at where the critique was. So there’s a lot of good stuff about be supportive, but the critique was just like, you’re maxed out far enough ahead, you know, always behind, you’re pretty critical, like not getting far enough ahead of processes for the team, you know, not helping to set the strategy or where we need to go, but just kind of helping to move what we’re doing right now. And that jolt of like, hey, my job is not to live in the moment alongside my team of shipping code, it’s to get out ahead to clear the path and to help amplify them in any way possible. That was the first jolt. I won’t claim that I got it right after that. But it was just like, Okay, I need to shift something. Yeah, it
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 08:53
makes a lot of sense. And, you know, it’s very interesting when it comes to software, and especially a lot of, you know, tech companies, this is very often, you know, a lot of CEOs also like that our founders of tech companies also get that kind of feedback, too, which is, yes, you can code and maybe you’re really great at it. Maybe you’re even the best person on the team, maybe, maybe, but maybe Yeah, but the reality is that, you know, if you spend all of your time doing that work, then other things in the company break. And I think, you know, it’s very interesting. I remember one of the very first episodes that we did was with Vlad, who’s the CEO of Webflow. And he was telling me the story of Yeah, it was the same thing. And he was coding a lot and he really enjoyed it. And at some point, his team basically stopped him and said, No, no, you need to focus on these things because the company is breaking unless you focus on it. And so it is quite a journey and I find like it’s very interesting but in the just says, manager role as the CEO role, anything that gets more senior, it almost feels like you learn different things that your job should be. Even the more senior you become like I imagined that You know, first line manager versus your director, and now CEO, like, there’s just the types of things that you need to focus on also need to shift
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 10:08
100%. And I mean, uh, you know, one of the things that I think the Zen state of management, if you’re trying to make a career out of it, I really think does come back to a growth mindset. You know, I, there’s a point that was an inflection point in my career, and you’d be hard pressed to pinpoint it because it was more of evolution for me than just a lightning bolt, where it went from having a new challenge land on my plate to be something like, I have to deal with this thing, too. Oh, interesting. There’s a new challenge. And I haven’t seen before, and look like the new challenge isn’t always fun. I mean, sometimes it does stink to have it on laminar desk. But there’s that moment where you realize like, your job as a manager, especially again, if you’re making this your career is to figure out new challenges that haven’t heard before, figure out how to process them, how to get them into motion, how to solve them, and then add that to your arsenal of things that you’ve experienced before and things you know how to do. And that I find really rewarding. I mean, I think that’s part of the fun of the job.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 11:06
Yeah, I do agree. Like, it just keeps things interesting. And, you know, allows for growth. And speaking of new things, and dealing with new situations, you know, it’s very interesting in the last few years, like, especially when we started the podcast, if you can imagine the first few episodes that we did, I would literally go to people’s offices with a microphone setup. And we would just record in person, and then COVID happened. And one of the things that was a prime topic during COVID was just change management and like, leading and trying times, and in times of uncertainty, and so we did that for a while. And that was a topic, but it seems like that same topic is coming back. Now. I know that you were were you just at the collision conference, doing a talk there. Yeah. So you gave a masterclass on, you know, basically managing your company through economic uncertainty. So that’s certainly the talk of the day these days. I’m curious. So what do you do in this time? And more specifically, I’m curious, like, how do you communicate with people in your team and in your company about how to think about the next? You know, is it six months a year? Who knows?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 12:14
Yeah, I mean, so really fun talk. And I’ll emphasize the outset that the focus of that talk really was, how to lead in the time, like how to help your team and how to show up and make the most of what your team can contribute. A little bit less about the business strategy side of which there are tons of articles, tons of podcasts, I think there’s a lot of good resources, it’s confusing to synthesize a lot of it, but just wanted to note that I’m setting that aside, because there are a lot of things that you should do, first, evaluate your budget, evaluate how much runway you have, etcetera. But assuming you have, there’s an order. I think one of the things that keep in mind is leaders of our organization is that in times of volatility in times, where it’s difficult to understand where the markets gonna go, and there’s a lot that’s outside of control, there’s gonna be fear, uncertainty, doubt that permeates inside your organization, there’s gonna be this FUD and fear, uncertainty, doubt that Fudd element will spike anxieties, whether you talk about it or not. And so there’s going to be a new element inside of how you manage your teams, which is anxiety about what’s happening in the larger environment. And so you have two choices, and one of them is kind of a non choice, you can either do nothing about it and stay quiet and just continue to march forward. Or you can actually acknowledge where you are, and start to leave for your team. But I think the remainder that are just shooting to everybody’s like, none of us know what the s&p 500 is going to do tomorrow. But we can control how we show up for our team and how we lead. And on that front, I have a variety of tactical advice. But I can go into whatever depth you think is helpful here at that. I mean, I can kind of give you like a 30,000 foot overview or dive on a few topics.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 13:56
Yeah, let’s talk about some tactical stuff. I think one of the things about this podcast is people love just having some tactical takeaways.
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 14:04
Awesome. Let me start with a story. So at clockwise what we had a town hall, all hands meeting for the whole company. And we went through a presentation where laid out what I was seeing in the markets, the advice that I was getting from investors, how I think it’s going to impact our business. And importantly, the things that I didn’t know the things that I couldn’t project forward. And then a series of actions for the business, probably about a 30 minute presentation, but I think that the thing that’s really important, that is what we did next. So that townhall kind of sets like the reset, you know, we come together explain how things are. And by the way, for everybody listening to podcasts, we never assume that people read the same news that you do. I mean, I think that, especially as CEOs of startups, we’re probably steeped in all this advice that we read a lot of this content that has been everybody in your company does so it’s important to lay out your thinking with a lot of depth and precision. so people can follow along. And then now the problem is if you stop there, everybody’s gonna go back to work. And they’re gonna probably do what the week before that meeting. And there’s a momentum to what’s happening inside your organization, that if you don’t give people guidance on how to actually change path, nothing’s going to change. So the next day, we did an all company brainstorm. We broke out six different topics, areas of the business that we think might change because of the macroeconomic environment, everything from how do we have to sell and pitch the product to new sales? All the way down to how do we think we should change our product roadmap, and we structure these brainstorms in a fig jam. And to get really tactical, the way that we did it is, hey, what are our hypotheses, let’s put a bunch of virtual sticky notes on the board about what is going to change that impacts this area of discussion. And then, based on those hypotheses, let’s rank them as to which ones we feel are pretty solid versus need to have more testing. And then what would we do to actually go out and test whether that hypothesis is true, or whether we may get it back there. And from that, we had a whole rich set of ideas across those six different areas, that we’re injected right back into the plans of those functions, sales, marketing, product, CES, everybody got new ideas. But the most important thing, Aiden is that the team got together and talked about it, your people had to actively think about, you know, okay, there’s this change. This is the hypothesis, here’s what we might do. It was a jolt to kind of wake up the whole team to Hey, this is in business as usual, we have to make a change here. And then repeat, repeat, repeat. I mean, we revisit this content on a weekly basis and come back to the fact of, you know, what are we doing here? What are we doing here? Yeah, that’s just one of the things that we did.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:48
That’s awesome. I love how you made the team part of the solutioning as well, versus saying, like, you know, here’s what we’re doing and doing the thinking for everyone. And that’s awesome. So I have to ask, what were some of the other tips, I mean, I really liked the first one,
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 17:04
there are a few different areas to focus on. So I mean, the very high level, the three different buckets that you want to think about engage the team on or one, making sure that your team is aligned on the highest impact areas, the business alignment, and focus, this is something that you should do even outside of a change in the macroeconomic environment. But it’s really critical right now as you’re making that turn towards new efforts. So we did that brainstorming as an effort to help align the team to that thinking of what we need to do. And then we focused it by triaging down to what are the highest impact things we want to go after. That’s the most important thing to do by far, just to make sure that your team is oriented towards doing work, that’s going to be high impact for the business. The second bucket is turning wasted time into Priority time. Now here, inside this bucket is really about managing the time and priorities here team, the thing that we think a lot about a clockwise, and I’m sure you do at fellow as well is how does everybody inside the organization get time for their highest priority work? And the reality is that meeting culture and calendar management can really make a negative dent there if you’re not careful. We’ve found in our studies of organizations, and we’ve done studies across 1000s of workers in the US sorry for the Canadian audience. But I think that the similarities are there for sure. But he said the US knowledge workers, we looked at what are some of the ways that focus time and the time for deep work changes as a company grows. And the difference between a company with 250 people and a company with 2500 people can be a reduction in five hours a week and focus on per employee, you gain that out of the course of the year, you’re losing a month and a half and time for your employees to ship high priority work. So I got a lot of depth there, but turning waste of time in a priority time. And last is making sure that your team is empowered and that their work is sustainable. That’s an area that I could dive into great depth there too, if it’s of interest.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 19:06
Yeah. So what do you mean by their work is sustainable? First off,
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 19:10
visual mediums in podcasts are always tricky. So bear with me here for a moment. But there’s this great, great study that shows that as the perceived sustainability of your workplace goes down, the risk to attrition goes way up. Let me repeat that just to make it clear. If you survey your employees, and you find they think that the work environment is unsustainable, the odds that you have retention risks go up tons. Now, that seems kind of obvious, but it’s just a correlation in business management. It’s rare to have such a visual correlation. That’s so so clear. And the wonderful thing here too, is that you’re not asking about anything that you know is immeasurable. It’s perception is the reality that people think it’s unsustainable, they’re more likely to leave it. So you start there. If your workplace is unsustainable, it’s going to be a problem to you.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 20:09
When you say it’s not sustainable, are we talking about things like your unprofitable, or your I guess unit economics don’t work out? Are we talking about cultural and sustainability?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 20:20
Great clarifying question. So this is asking an individual person and Senator company, do you feel like your work that you do day in day out? Do you feel like your work is sustainable? And there the color on the question is, I mean, you do ask it at that level. And so it means a lot of different things to different people. But when you probe on, what are factors that lead to work being sustainable or unsustainable, the things that employees are largely thinking about, that individuals are largely thinking about is the most highly correlated ones are one, do they feel rewarded? So this goes on multiple things? What is compensation? That’s just a reality? Like, do people feel like they’re fairly compensated, but I think the thing that’s interesting here is it’s so much more it’s Do they feel like their work is valued. Inside the organization, do they feel like they’re being rewarded with praise for the work that they’re doing. And here, for anybody who’s a manager, I have this chart that I keep on literally on a desktop on my computer. And it records factors that affect job attitudes. And that recognition, is one of the most important factors that affect how people feel about their job achievement is number one, the recognition is very close behind. And that you want to recognize people around you that are doing good work, regardless of if it’s a huge win. Or it’s just a small, nice thing that they did that week. I mean, I cannot encourage people enough. What do you see that email from somebody, they’re like, Oh, that was nicely worded. Send them a Slack message. You know, if you see somebody who helps out with another project that didn’t have to send a Slack message, send them an email just or talk to them in your actual one on one, if it’s truly a huge project that required a ton of effort, recognize it publicly, of course, but you don’t have to wait for those moments of public recognition, to have that moment of reward and that praise and also makes those moments when you have critical feedback, all the more trusting because that person knows you value them. They know that you care. And now you’re giving them constructive feedback that will help them grow. It makes that easier as well.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 22:38
Yeah, that’s really good. I’m curious what else is on this chart?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 22:42
Yeah, so this is actually, it’s a chart you can for those who are interested, you can look it up. It’s from a post on first round. And it’s factors affecting job attitudes, as reported in 12. Investigations. And the what it shows is basically, things that with what frequency are things brought up as being important to people’s job attitude, and achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, growth, those are all pretty positive, just to make something clear. advancement is brought up about a third of the time as his achievement and about about a third of the time, his recognition, recognition, achievement just outstrip everything. Things that people might think are really important that are brought up less than average, our company policies, very low supervision, very low work conditions, very low salary actually isn’t that high. But these are just the factors that people bring up when they think through what leads to them having a positive or negative attitude about work.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 23:50
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. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It’s oftentimes the little things that do make a huge difference. And, you know, I do agree with you one of the things I’ve done over the years, because it’s not a like, my brain doesn’t naturally go there very often to always recognize great things very quickly. And so what I’ve gotten into the habit of doing is, I have this daily journal practice. And one of the questions that is that I asked myself is, did anyone do anything that you appreciated? And so, if you asked me the question, then I’ll say yes, actually, you know, so and so did this or that, but without the prompt. It’s just I need the prompt to help me be able to get there but you’re right. It’s incredible and people really appreciate it.
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 24:58
I love that prompt. And anything that you can do to get in the habit of just, I think the thing that really struck me is, there’s also a study that shows that the ratio to positive feedback versus constructive feedback should be about 10. To one, it’s just human psychology people, you know, really need to feel that reward to it for it to hit, because the constructive feedback, it’ll hit right away, they’ll hear it, they’ll pay attention. But the praise actually, it takes. And again, it doesn’t have to be big stuff, you know, if it’s big stuff, that’s great, you should definitely call it out. But it can just be a little stuff. So sustainable work was one element that we’re focused on. And one of the things I mentioned here is reward. But another is the two others that we look at a lot are empowerment and opportunity. So if people feel empowered, if they feel rewarded, and they feel like they have opportunity inside of work, those are going to lead to the feeling that there’s a very sustainable work culture. And sustainable work. Culture is kind of magic, because you can look at two people, often people think like, you know, number of hours worked. But it may not look like if you push somebody to have 80 to 100 hours every week, you know, they’re gonna burn out. But if you look at somebody who has working 60 hours versus 40 hours, the person who’s working Saturday might actually feel that their work stainable, if they’re really feeling connected to the work that driving that it’s high impact, that they’re feeling rewarded for it that they feel like they have an opportunity to grow. Whereas somebody who’s working even, you know, 30 hours a week might feel like they’re cornered, they’re in a dead end job that their manager doesn’t care about them. Like that’s going to feel highly unsustainable. And I think they’re really tactical things that we can do as managers to make sure that our workplace feels like it’s sustainable. And
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 26:42
this is awesome. So we’re obviously going to, you know, link to the chart that you talked about. And these are really, really great tactical tips. And I think it’s something that everybody can go and do. And I love using fig jam, to even brainstorm you know, some of these things to make sure that everyone is involved. One other thing that I did want to touch on, you know, I’ve just in our brief conversation here, it sounds like you have thought a lot about, you know, leadership in general, it sounds like you’ve developed a certain leadership style for yourself. So one thing that maybe I’ll start with is, if you were to describe your leadership style, how would you actually go about describing it?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 27:25
Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. Um, so I’ve never thought about this before. But to put me on the spot, I think that my leadership style is authentic, I will say, inspirational and trustworthy. I’ll unpack that a little bit. Like, if I’m always going to be authentic about who I am, how I’m approaching a problem, what I know what I don’t know. And I strive to be authentic about feedback as well. I do have moments where I really believe in what we’re doing it clockwise. I mean, we are building a time orchestration platform, we think fundamentally every knowledge work, working on the piano deserves a schedule they love. And the way that you have to do that is to create a platform that allows to balance priorities and time. And I can dive into that for hours. But I really believe in what we’re doing here. And I feel part of my leadership style is that I carry that vision forward in the organization. So that’s why I say inspired not to say meaning that I’m the best and inspire and others. But I think that authenticity comes through. And the third, I really strive to have very high trust relationships with folks. If you’re doing your job, well. I trust you to execute it, I trust you to have the autonomy to deliver, especially in a leadership position. If there are areas where I’m uncertain about I’m happy to get involved and help out, but my default is trusting you to go do the job. Those are the three that come to mind for me.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 28:54
That’s awesome. And I have to ask, I mean to you, you’ve been in leadership positions for a while. Do you find that your style has changed over the course of time? Yeah,
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 29:04
a ton a ton. I think that that authenticity has been something that’s been hard for me to come by in a leadership role. I think I’m a generally look, I’m a Minnesotan. I’m an authentic person, like I wear my personality and my sleeve. But a lot of impostor syndrome came along with managerial roles, like Am I doing it right? Am I the best Am I worthy of this position? And what I’ve come to realize is, everybody has their own style. You know, there’s some tactical pieces that you can pick up on, it can be better off out, you can read up on you can improve over time. But ultimately, the way that I show up as a leader is going to be markedly different from the way you show up as a leader. If we’re doing some of the same stuff, we’re just gonna have a different style because if we try to be someone that we’re not, it’s just not going to work. And I think that that that took some time to get comfortable with there’s still moments where I just So getting comfortable with that, I mean, you know, you put me in a brand new situation. And, you know, it can be a little bit of an impostor syndrome to this day. But that’s the biggest one. This is
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 30:09
a really important one. And I think the, you know, when you first start out, you’re often trying to look to imitate, you know, see what is good, or very often, especially when people come on the show, they’ll say that, you know, I had a first manager that was so bad in this particular way, that I decided that I wanted to be the opposite of that. And so maybe their initial leadership style is about being the opposite of something and not necessarily copying it. But I think once people do it long enough, you’re right, like they develop their own authentic style. And it can change over time. As you learn more. It’s very interesting that I know, I put you on the spot and ask you this question. But it does sound like you have thought about this stuff. And it is something that you have maybe evolved over the course of time. One question that is related is, you know, for other managers and leaders at the company, how do you kind of like, invest in their growth as leaders or make sure that some of the best practices or learnings are shared in between leaders at the company,
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 31:13
I think this is an area of continuous investment, and one where, frankly, you know, we’re looking for ways to be better and better. Some of the things that we do today are, we’ve set up a formal management training program, we’re not a huge company. So it’s a fair amount of investment. But there are good companies that can help with this, there are a lot of bad companies that can help with it too. So choose wisely. But setting up formal manager training that helps people go through different topics, like you know how to conduct a one on one, how to be responsive to constructive feedback, how to conduct peer reviews, how to conduct managerial reviews, etc. But I think one of the most important elements that is it creates inside our company, different cohorts of people that are going through that, that then have a little bit of a peer network to talk to each other about what they’re seeing what they’re observing. And having gone through those classes myself, with the team. It’s also really great, because the partner that we chose to conduct our program focuses a lot on the discussion. So you have this really rich discussion about what people are observing in their one on ones or what they’re seeing in terms of a pattern. And then the last element of this is, so you know, what is training second is kind of cohorts and creating discussion areas. And the third is just making sure that folks are making the time for one on ones, not just managing down, but also peer set, so you can troubleshoot some things, and then to their manager, and then skip level where appropriate. And that for me, I have skipped level meetings with a lot of the managers of the company. And when we get together, I like to focus on just primarily two things. A, the time is laters. So wherever they take it, they can take it. But absent that I like to focus on just social, you know, kind of how are they doing, you know, learning about them, making sure that I understand that and Miss humans? And then second is, what are some management areas that you’re dealing with right now that we can talk about?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 33:04
I think that’s a really good way to do it. And it’s very interesting, one of the, you know, in chatting with, with different leaders of companies and organizations, one of the things that seems to happen over the course of time, is that, you know, companies start to develop their own management approach. And yes, there’s like generic things and lessons that everybody should learn, like, you should recognize, folks, there’s certain things but like you said, over the course of time, things start to become specific. And so the very fact that you have people discussing things in that pure format goes a long way towards cementing, like the way that people manage at clockwise, for example,
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 33:41
100%, the thing that I will note is like, I was a manager at Salesforce, and you know, there’s a whole structure to that, and tips and everything and like, we’re at a smaller company, it is just inherently much less formal, you know, so you have these conversations. And one of the things that you have to be mindful of as your organization grows, if you’re a leader of an organization is what of those conversations is de facto becoming part of the management style? And do you want that to be part of the management style, to your point, like, as these things permeate the organization, a management style will evolve, and it’s gonna evolve, whether you’re intentional about it or not, and so better to be intentional about it than just kind of let it happen.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 34:22
Yeah, I agree. And if you’re not intentional, then like, every new person that you hire is going to bring a slightly different version, you know, maybe something that you didn’t really extract her on. This is really interesting. I think that one thing that we have to talk about is we have to talk a little bit about, you know, something that you guys do at the end of the week, which is you have an end of the week meeting, which you know, a lot of companies do, but I think yours is a little bit different because you make it super open and you know, people can invite friends and I’m curious how that works. Like what is your end of the week meeting about And is it true that a A lot of people can come to this. Can I come?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 35:02
Yeah, you’re welcome. You’re welcome any time. So even the very early days, we set kind of a cadence for the organization in two important meetings. One is, we have company all hands every Monday morning to somebody that sounds crazy. It’s like you need all have every week. And yeah, we do. And I’m happy to dive on that. But then it’s bookended by this end of the week meeting, we call it demos, because it’s really people showing what they did that week. We used to have it at four o’clock in the office, you know, you think of something pretty casual people go into the kitchen, they grab, you know, a water or a beer as it may be. And then we kind of get on the couches and show what happened that week. Obviously, in a more distributed environment, which we are that’s changed and shifted. And so now we have this right after lunch. So people on the East Coast or people on the West Coast, depending on timezone it’s so easy to join in the content of it, it is open, people who are interviewing, come join it, we have friends come join it, you know, often if parents are around or in town, they’re welcome to join, come to the office, grab some swag, you know, see what the company is up to. And that anybody can step up to the podium and show off what they did that week, we usually started with a couple of formal things. So one is, we have what we call the clock ease. It’s an internal kind of cultural ward. And we do have, at the end of every quarter, we have awards that are given out, the real heart of it is that we have nominations every week. So anybody can nominate anybody for doing something according to values. And then we read those out, we have new employee introductions, we do two truths and a lie, it’s fine, you know, gets in an opportunity for that person to to see the whole company of the company see them. And then the rest of it is yeah, individual demos are usually about two to five minutes, you know, showing off something that they should that we getting up and showing a clip from a customer call going in. And you know, the sales team presenting a big when they had that week, it can be anything under the sun, it’s pretty informal. And then we cap it all with a company photo at the odd number. We’ve done that every single week, for the last five years.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 37:11
That’s awesome. And so and how do you differentiate this between the all hands some of the elements that you talk about? You know, we might, for example, include at our all hands meetings, you know, certain demos, maybe they end up being a lot more polished when they they’re part of the all hands. But what do you focus on on on the all hands,
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 37:30
all hands Jesus is we’re pretty fluid about it. So you can kind of use the all hands for what needs to be used. But generally speaking, the all hands is about company level announcements and progress week over week. And demos is about you individually showing off what you did. And so, you know, for the recovery level, all hands, I kick it off with kind of core company KPIs and like how we’re tracking against quarterly goals. And then we’ll dive into any sort of functional level updates. And so there might be an announcement from the Talent Team about you not focused on a certain sort of role that they’re hiring for. So there’s a little bit like there’s the one area that you identify as, like, maybe sales would recognize a huge deal one and the as an announcement in the company all hands on Monday, maybe they would get up and just have a more informal demo, like, Hey, here’s what I learned on this deal this week. So there’s some overlap. And mostly demos is very informal, kind of about just showing up what you did. Whereas the company all hands about, here’s company progress and things that everybody needs to know about.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 38:31
And that makes sense in you guys, like from a company perspective, are you remote first, or most people in the office? How are you choosing to play that?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 38:39
We are remote first. And it’s I’m sure, like so many companies, it’s been an evolution. So when we before the pandemic, we were all in office colocated, five days a week, there wasn’t even like a work from home Wednesday. I loved it. Like there’s still part of me that loves that inperson element. And we over the course of a pandemic, we’ve kind of slowly let go as the pandemic went longer and longer. And as a certain juncture we’re like, look, we’re getting just as much done as we would colocate it. This allows us to hire the best people no matter where they are, because we have flexibility on how their workday flows. And we’re just going to embrace it. And so now, I go through that length, because we do still have kind of a hub in the Bay Area, because we started from that colocated group. But the vast majority of hiring has taken us distributed across the United States. And so now we have the the majority of folks don’t come into any office with any regularity.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 39:31
Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I think it’s what you said about having the opportunity to hire people anywhere. I think like that’s such a massive advantage, that it kind of trumps any disadvantage in my personal opinion.
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 39:46
Actually, this is such an evergreen topic. You know, it might even be boring to talk about links, so feel free to cut me off. But I my thoughts on this are still evolving. I think you’re right. But I think in May based histology maybe it’s romanticism. But I think there’s still a period of time where it’s critical to have everybody together that initial period of incubation of the idea and how to pull it together and how to pull it off. Especially if it’s something that’s still not fully formed, having people together be able to get on a whiteboard, be able to, like, I think you can do early stage being fully distributed. I think being co located, especially in early stage is an advantage in promotable advantage. But I think it’s an advantage,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 40:34
I agree with you, it is better if you can do it. And if it’s possible, it 100% is better. But it’s, you know, just speaking as, when you’re in the Bay Area, as an example, there’s a large concentration of talent in, you know, one location, if your company headquarters is somewhere else where maybe there isn’t a tech hub, it becomes harder. And so like, just the advantage of having remote workers is a bigger advantage than maybe it would be say, if you were somewhere where there was a concentration. So I think you’re right, like, there’s pros and cons, and we’ll kind of see how this stuff plays out?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 41:07
Well, I mean, I think that regardless, I agree with your honor percent. Regardless, the pros and cons, I think the one thing that we’re seeing pretty universally is that because the talent market has an expectation to be able to have access to jobs, that it should be a basis, if you’re making a choice to be co located, regardless of whether you’re in the Bay Area, or you’re in Ottawa, or you’re in Omaha, or, you know, wherever you might be, your talent pool is going to severely contract. And so if you can, you know, just start trade off, you know, do is that a talent pool that you can survive with for a period? Is that what you really want to prioritize above all else? I think for most folks, that answer is pretty straightforward. It’s no, I want the best people no matter where they are. But like in all of life, it’s a series of trade offs, a
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 41:53
series of trade offs. That’s what makes this stuff really hard. So one question and I know we’ve talked about a bunch of different topics. And this has been super insightful, I will ask you, your parting words of wisdom, but one question I had to ask you, as CEO of clockwise company focus on helping people create more focused time. Tell me about your calendar, what is your calendar look like?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 42:18
It is really, really structured. A few different things. One is, I think it a mistake that I made going all the way back to the first set of questions was, as a manager, I felt like, hey, it’s just my job to be reactive. And I think that was a really naive viewpoint of mine when I was first becoming a manager, because that proactive time is so critical to you, being a great manager, getting those chunks of time, whether you use clockwise use something else doesn’t matter. You need time in your week to think. And so every week, I will have at least a couple blocks that are two hours long, that are just dedicated time for me to go deep on something that you know, on any given week, it might be something different, it might be a strategy, Doc might be spinning up a new rack for a new leadership role. But I need that time to actually be proactive and do my job well, because what that rec for the new leadership role, it will get written, I will get it done. But if I do it in little 30 minute blocks, between meetings, it’ll be way crappier than if I actually sit down, think about it, think what I need things structurally and get it in, knock it out. So I would say first, make sure that you’re not robbing yourself with this mindset of, Hey, I just need to be responsive and react to the team the whole time. And then second is, once you have those larger blocks, I would advise people for your meetings, if you can afford to do this, try to somatically bucket them on days, I found this really advantageous. Put my leadership one on ones on one day, I actually do them in the morning of one day, they spread out a little bit in the afternoon, then we have our staff meeting, another day might be product oriented, that everybody’s in a position where they can kind of dictate that level, but I think it’s really helpful. And then make sure that you have little breaks, especially if you’re doing a bunch of one on ones, they shared a little bit of time to record your thoughts and a follow up. My very last tip in terms of time management and calendaring is, find the task management tool that works for you. Use it religiously, prioritize something that makes it really easy to get information into your task manager. And then triage from that into whatever your company uses. So like, Look, if you use Asana as the company and you love Asana as individual great your life is bliss. But if your company uses Asana, and it’s not working for you to capture your thoughts, that it’s not working, you got to find a different tool, capture it because you need to capture those as fast as possible. And then you can triage out from there and there’s something else.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 44:50
That’s really good advice, some lots of good tactical items in there as well. Matt, this has been super instructive. We’ve talked about so many different things. Why lots of tips around how to manage in a volatile economy. We’ve talked about your leadership style, time blocking different meetings that you run that clockwise. One question that we 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 final tips, tricks or words of wisdom that you would leave them with?
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 45:22
Yeah, absolutely. I think that the you know, I alluded this earlier, but the real Zen moment of management is where you start to see challenges as interesting problems to solve. And one of the things that’s really been helpful to me is two things. There is a great book called Principles by Ray Dalio, it’s kind of Bible, whether or not you actually get through all the way I will give you a pass. But I think a core concept that he hasn’t there is, the reason we’re recording these principles is he wants to get to a point where he has Oh, this is just another one of these. That’s literally as phrase just another one of these. And the point is, if you start to look at the challenges that you’re facing, and you start to think about what’s the opportunity there? How am I going to grow from this, and then you record out what your decision making was, you start to build this really rich set of information over time, where now when you get a new challenge on her desk, you know, maybe five years from now, you look at and you go, Oh, this is pretty similar to that other one that I dealt with a while ago. And I find I mentioned that because I think that cycle is really self reinforcing. Because it’s hard sometimes to get hit with a challenge and say, Oh, great, I get to figure this out. But when you start to see that cycle of recording it, understanding it and then actually growing from it, then you’re like, Ooh, interesting, new challenge. I’m gonna figure this one out. And now I have that on my utility belt. That’s great
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 46:45
advice and a great place to end it. Matt, thanks so much for doing this.
Matt Martin (Clockwise) 46:49
Awesome. Thanks so much for having me again.