Guest

06

“I want to work with my team and empower them. Even at times when they think there’s a challenge or a problem that they don’t feel comfortable with, I’ve seen many times people surprise themselves and people around them by delivering excellent work.”

In this episode

In episode #6, Sam Zaid (CEO of Getaround) shares a playbook you can use to identify and hire great leaders. He also describes the RACI framework and how Getaround is using this and another set of rituals to help new managers be effective right away.

Prior to Getaround, Sam founded Apption, an enterprise software consultancy, and 360pi, the leading retail price intelligence platform that was acquired by MarketTrack and Vista Equity in 2016.

Sam holds numerous patents and inventions, is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, a Microsoft Code Award winner, and a Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneur. 

Tune in to hear all about Sam’s leadership journey and the frameworks that have helped his company succeed!

. . .

Enjoyed this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


03:21

Sam’s first manager at Nortel and the characteristics that made him a great leader.

05:49

Lessons from a “not so great” manager.

07:33

How would Sam’s team describe his leadership style?

09:00

How Sam’s leadership approach has evolved over the years.

10:40

Why managing in the Bay area is different than managing in other parts of the world.

12:50

How to get the best leaders on board.

15:56

Sam’s playbook to hire great leaders: Look for the “Peter Parker” archetype.

19:35

Sam’s essential management rituals.

21:20

Getaround’s mission decks.

23:05

OKRs and health metrics.

25:50

How to run effective meetings.

28:00

4 Meeting types and best practices.

29:00

The importance of documenting decisions.

29:49

The RACI framework for decision-making.

31:51

How to prepare for a decision-making meeting.

33:36

Stephen Harper’s leadership style + the benefits of “writing everything down”.

35:40

Sam Zaid’s book recommendations and advice for managers and leaders.


Resources


Episode Transcript

Aydin Mirzaee  2:02  

Sam, Welcome to the show. I’ve been really looking forward to this. Obviously, you and I have known each other for quite some time…

Sam Zaid  2:07  

A couple weeks.

Aydin Mirzaee  2:10  

A couple years, decades, maybe something like that. No, this is super fun for me just because I’ve obviously seen what you’ve done over your career across a bunch of different companies. And actually even had the pleasure of working with you on a project where we sold suits online.

Sam Zaid  2:31  

I think we’re still number one on Google.

Aydin Mirzaee  2:33  

Yeah. Search rankings still have not declined. But I guess one of the questions that I wanted to just kick things off with When did you.. Who was your first boss? like, who would you consider the first manager that you reported to? 

Sam Zaid  2:49  

I mean, first of all, I haven’t had that many non-entrepreneurial jobs, right. So I can select from a limited set. But the first one that comes to mind, first manager I ever had, and he was a great manager. I was very young. So it was when I first started working at Nortel, which obviously is a company that doesn’t exist anymore, but I started working there. Geez, I think I was on 14 when I first started working there.

Aydin Mirzaee  3:17  

Holy moly, why did they let you work there at 14?

Sam Zaid  3:21  

They were obviously, it was like a massive time when the company was growing a lot. Early internet. And yeah, they did a program where they were doing like internships. And the funny part of that story is I was actually trying to get a job at a grocery store, and they wouldn’t hire me. But no, I got lucky and found a manager at Nortel who hired me so I’d worked there part time and then full time in summers. And I was writing code, learning computer stuff and a couple things. Aside from it being, you know, it was actually my first real work experience as a programmer engineer. Which one I didn’t like at all. Really? Yeah, if it  was a hobbyist thing I’d enjoy it much more probably topic for a different podcast. 

Going back to your question, he was a great manager because like, he just was very encouraging, he gave me open ended problems like “hey, go, here’s a system we have, we want you to write a demo of it that functionally replicates it on a on a PC, so we can show it to customers without having to ship a whole transport system to them”. And, I ended up writing that. At the time, I was doing a lot of other languages, but I think I ended up bringing like a hypercard or something, which was like, you probably don’t remember. But anyway, he would go through my code and give me pointers and he was like, just always very encouraging, would give me a lot of freedom, room to make mistakes. I would comment my code, I didn’t really even know what commenting was at the time, I just sort of did it. And he was like, “Hey, this is really good. This is what I like to see.” And he was very encouraging, but then also gave good constructive feedback, right? And I had another manager after him who had a very different style, so I had a real contrast. And it completely affected my motivation actually.

Aydin Mirzaee  5:26  

Oh, what did the other person do?

Sam Zaid  5:29  

Um, I just felt like he never was really happy, he cared less about the quality of my work more about when I showed up, when I left exactly, what I was, like he was much more of a micromanager. So people used to throw around “micromanager”. And it wasn’t that he was telling me exactly what to do all the time. But, it was more that I think he was very, he had just a certain way of doing things and he wanted me to work that way. So that I fit his mold entirely. And some of these things were great. It was good discipline, but other stuff just wasn’t, didn’t make sense for what I was doing. 

And then the other one was, I think he really did give me check. Like, you know, when I came in the first time, my first manager, he was like, “hey, go do this thing”. And it wasn’t the most important project going on, but it was like something that went to customers, and I got to work on and he gave me an opportunity, and sort of room to execute.  Whereas the manager I had after that was also good, but he was more worried about me as like “Okay, well, he’s an intern..that’s the thing, so I’ll put him on this or that ” and sort of gave me all the jobs nobody really wanted. So I didn’t mind. I mean, it was good learning either way, it’s better than bagging groceries. So I wasn’t complaining, but you know, it was just a difference in mentality.

Aydin Mirzaee  6:53  

Right. And so, I assume that this had some sort of impact on your leadership style. So how would you describe but, rather if I asked your team How would they describe your leadership?

Sam Zaid  7:06  

Yeah, I don’t know you will have to ask them. I would say that I try to be, do a few things. So one is I try to be very empathetic, down to earth, matter of fact. I want to work with my team, empower them. And, you know, things I enjoy. I enjoy seeing people, even at times when they think there’s a challenge or a problem that they don’t really feel comfortable, they don’t feel they’re ready for. I’ve seen many times people just surprised themselves and surprised people around them just deliver just such excellent work. So, I’d say my management style is really, just trying to get shit done, focus on solving problems, helping people, being a partner, and then letting them sort of take the reins and go. And obviously that requires selecting for the right sort of people on your team that you can do that with. But it’s what I’ve learned.

Aydin Mirzaee  8:10  

Well and so do you find, I mean… you’ve obviously been at a bunch of different companies now or started a bunch of different companies. And do you find that like, is the Sam the leader today? How is he different than  the previous companies or even in like the earlier stages of get-around? Like, do you think that your style or your approach or what you do has evolved?

Sam Zaid  8:34  

So definitely has evolved. And also, you know, first of all, it changes with the stage of the company. Obviously, when you’re a small startup, you have to be much more in the weeds. I would say in general that, you know, I feel like when I asked for, I try to be very clear about what I asked for our people in my team and I like to know that they have commanded their respective domains. As long as they do that, it gives me comfort. 

But a lot has evolved, right? Like, I think when we were a smaller company or even when I started my other companies, it was much more like do everything, figure out what the priorities are for the day because there’s probably 100. And you can do five of them, figure out how to get those done, and work very, very collaboratively with the team. And it’s a very much more unstructured process. Obviously, as we scale the company, things become much more structured. And so, you know, then it’s more about hiring leaders that can really, clearly build an organization, can lead, be very clear communicators, drive organizational clarity, empower the teams below them. Certainly people who enjoy and really enjoy building teams, and people, and organizations- that are very strong people managers, matters a lot more than when you’re a smaller company, you can have a lot of domain experts and functional leaders, and that works really well. 

So, I would say that’s one thing. And then also managing in the Bay Area is very different than, you know, say in Canada. It’s just a different, there’s a different set of expectations, different level of competition. There’s much, much more recruiting competition, and retention is a much bigger challenge. 

Aydin Mirzaee

Cheating the bar has to be higher here?  

Sam Zaid 11:02

Definitely higher here. Yeah, because there’s so much, there’s always people getting offers and other opportunities, and there’s so many startups funded every single day. And then, you have the Google, the Facebook, the Apple and all those companies always put out a job offer that’s valid for a year. There’s just a lot, it’s just a different much more competitive environment. Which in many ways is good because it really keeps the companies honest. Because you have to retain people, because they have other options, because the market is so efficient and so fluid. Whereas in other parts of the world, there’s not that many options for folks, so as long as they have a job they’re sort of happy and the benefit of that is they probably expect less. So I think learning how to operate in that environment when I first started getting around was definitely something very new, sort of a rude awakening.

Aydin Mirzaee  11:30  

Yeah and this is one of the reasons I love you know, coming here and chatting with people. I do feel that it’s, in some ways, a more evolved ecosystem for work. And, you’re right, if the bar is higher, I mean, managers just have to perform at a different level so that their team actually enjoys working with them. And yeah, like if you’re a crappy boss, basically people would leave to that year long offer that they have from that next company. One of the things that I’ve heard you say in the past and I can kind of get that, you know, from what you’ve been saying right now, is that the most important thing that you can do, especially in a scaling company like get-around, is make sure that you hire great leaders. I remember in the context of I was asking you maybe a question of  how do you encourage more feedback at your company or something on this level? And then you said, “No, you see, you’re asking the wrong question, the right question is, how do you get the best leaders on board?”.

Sam Zaid  12:34  

Yeah, I don’t remember the context why you were asking me about the feedback. I’ve grown to appreciate the benefit of having really strong leaders. I think it drastically impacts people’s motivation, belief and passion for a company and that obviously ultimately affects their willingness to work and what they do. 

And then the other thing really is, you know, making sure that those leaders themselves can work as a team. And because at the end of the day, especially in today’s world, and certainly get- around, everything is so cross functional that we need our teams working together. And when they do, they come up with these magical solutions to things. Whereas, if it’s just one department or another, they’re so limited in what they can do, what things they can impact. But obviously, that starts at the executive ranks, right? And so, if the executives aren’t a team, the rest of the company will never be a team. So you know, bringing leaders that are here to play a team game, really put the company’s first, put their team second, and themselves last. And make sure the priority order is always company, team, self- supercritical. And as soon as you have one person who changes that order, or sets a different rank order of priorities for their department, then you start to see sort of like politics and teams being isolated and people not communicating well and duplicative work and confusion. And all those things that you really don’t want, and probably as a CEO you’re like “Well, why is this going on?”

Aydin Mirzaee  14:17  

Yeah, so I guess they are kind of like the symptoms, and you may try and solve an individual symptom, but the reality is the problem just stems from the leadership. 

Sam Zaid  14:27  

I mean, either from the CEO or from the top executives.

Aydin Mirzaee  14:32  

So I guess my question and this is like super tactical. So since you appreciate like hiring these great leaders so much, what is your playbook basically?, like how do you know that someone would actually be great at leading a team? how do you know that they’re going to fit into like the last rest of your leadership team, and that they put the company and then the team and themselves?

Sam Zaid  14:55  

Yeah, so well first, I’ll say we’ve made mistakes for sure. And then no, I think it’s like probably if your batting average is better than, I don’t know, one in two or two out of three, like that’s pretty freaking good.

Aydin Mirzaee  15:12  

Okay, so I just wanted to know because like for the audience is the bar two, three?

Sam Zaid  15:18  

I don’t know, actually doesn’t matter. And it depends what you measure it in. So was the question how do you know? I can tell you what we’ve done. But the way I think about it is, you know, if I’m an executive, what does my team looking to me for, right? They’re looking for leadership, they’re looking for guidance, they’re looking for sort of everything that’s in a good people manager. They’re probably also looking for someone that understands the type of work they do, what they do, why they do it, how to improve them as a professional.  And so certainly at the executive layer, depending on how many, you know what layer of executive we’re talking about, there’s a challenge finding somebody who can sort of do both of those things, right? Be a great leader, but also be some level of functional leader or expert. So for us we look for people, and then people who know how to build an organization. So you can be a function expert, a great leader, but still not know how to build a team, rebuild and all. 

So we have a bunch of cultural values with things we test for when we call hashtag, which is hashtag build engines, so an ability to build systems inside the company so that, you know, if they were to leave, everything still runs with an objective of they shouldn’t be necessary, right. Another thing we test for is an ability to get under the hood, meaning they can get in and figure out why something’s not working and when they need, not necessarily all the time. But, you know, if they don’t understand sort of the root cause of why something isn’t working, then how do they bring that to the executive team in a way that everybody can collaborate and figure out what the right answer is. We’ve always tested for that, and things we haven’t always tested for where we’ve maybe gone wrong in the past is what I mentioned “the company, team, self” I think, especially around here where there’s a lot of opportunity, and I’ll say a lot of ego. You can get people who bring in, set the priorities differently. And especially if things, times get challenging, you can see those priorities change. 

Aydin Mirzaee  17:32  

So tactically speaking, what kind of questions would you ask during an interview?

Sam Zaid  17:38  

Yes, it’s hard because it’s a character thing, right. But I think generally, it’s people who don’t have a lot of ego and have a lot of humility. So for me it’s like how do I identify Peter Parker? Because Peter Parker is the sort of the saying “with great power comes great responsibility”. And so obviously, he’s got a lot of great power, but also acts in a way that’s very responsible. There’s also a type of guy that’s never arrogant or overconfident and, in fact, doubts himself a lot of the time, but still will confront major challenges. And so, look for sort of that type of a person. Because they’ll play a team game, right? And they’ll put the company first,  they’ll put the team ahead of themselves. And that’s sort of the archetype, but that’s a personality trait and a character thing, it’s less about any sort of formal management training or functional domain expertise.

Aydin Mirzaee  18:37  

Cool. That makes sense. One of the things that I’ve always known about you as well as just your focus on operational rigor, and operational excellence. In general, so I wanted to ask you like, what is your management almost like stack? And what I mean by that is like, let’s say we parachute you into a team- what are the sets of rituals that you would first ask? Do they exist? And if not create them right away?

Sam Zaid  19:15  

Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. But some of the things we do, for instance, is what is the rhythm of the business? Like, are we reporting stuff daily? Are we reporting stuff weekly? Who’s owning what? Really being clear about the organizational design, any sort of matrix organization and whether it’s like squad model, or Spotify model or whatever. So just really being clear about organization and then understanding the cadence of what’s happening and how things flow, how information flows. So everyone is aware of it, right? I know “Okay, I’m gonna have this update on this particular day, so I don’t have to ever ask for it ahead of that”. And if it doesn’t happen, then someone will ask for it. But you know, there’s an expectation. That also drives accountability and ownership, because then people have to report things and things have to get done and have to move. So sort of the cadence or rhythm of the business, how you think about that. 

Then, I like to set my priorities. So I just keep my own sort of like, what are the things I care about getting done today, tomorrow and next day? You know, obviously, some days that doesn’t always work as planned, because things happen, but sort of being clear on what the 123 deliverables you’re trying to get out in a single day. But yeah, so the management thing I would think it’s very important so we do that. So really, the business, how do communication channels happen? Clear clarity of organizational design and accountability and ownership.Those are all very, I mean, everyone should know that stuff.

Other stuff we do is we do mission decks. So, mission deck is we have a company mission, we have our corporate you know, sort of like what’s the mission of the company. But then imagine you’re in a team and you’re let’s say you’re in a trust and safety team. You’re running trust and safety. What is your mission? And so our mission decks are an opportunity for a team, smaller group to craft what is their mission. So they have something, they can say “Hey, this is what we do. We’re going to provide delightful, real time and very balanced trust and safety estimates”. Right. And then how are we going to do that? Here are the strategies we’re going to employ, here are the KPIs and things we’re going to measure. Here’s how ownership and responsibilities are designed within our team. And here’s the blind spots and things that we think by, actually in this strategy might be sort of, you know, side effects that we need to be worried about, or need to at least mitigate. And like every team does that and publishes it to  the whole company. So then you can see okay, what does that team do? Well, here’s their mission. Here’s what they believe in. So it’s almost like

Aydin Mirzaee  21:55  

They’re on a roll

Sam Zaid  21:56  

They are on a roll up to the whole company. Yeah, but so it gives them a purpose. And so it’s like, we’ve done it, and we’re doing a whole pass on it right now again, and just, it’s cool when people anchor on that, because then they feel like they’ve got, the mission of the company, which they understand. But then they have the mission, their mission, which helps drive the company’s mission. And that’s much more tangible to them, right? Because it’s what they do every day.

Aydin Mirzaee  22:25  

Yeah, that’s really interesting, because I’ve heard of that in the context of things like, okay “ours”, but this sounds like a more perpetual long-lasting OKRs. 

Sam Zaid  22:33  

We do OKRs as well. But okay, so we do OKRs and health metrics. And health metrics are just the same as when you go to a doctor and you get a checkup and make sure your blood pressure is in the right range and stuff like this. But then the OKRs are things you’re trying to move, right. So the way we think about it is, “okay, well if I have high blood pressure, and I want to bring it down my OKRs to bring it down and that’s going to be bring down my 20% this quarter”. So that OKRs really are something that moves a health metric for the business. But that’s quarterly and monthly, and can change whereas your mission is more strategic, longer running. It’s about sort of, you know, what you’re really… it’s more qualitative, does include health metrics, as well as their KPIs. 

Aydin Mirzaee  23:20  

Do you also include the way in which, because again, if you’re talking about this is this team, or this department or organization being kind of its own structure… Do you also define in that like, how you’re going to, like the SLS you might have with other departments or areas?

Sam Zaid  23:39  

Yeah, so when I say KPIs, we think of those as what are those key metrics, call them health metrics for that team. That could be servicing a customer, so it could be like customer satisfaction. It could be for a legal department, like document turnaround time or something, when there’s servicing an internal customer. And they define them themselves, and obviously, may not get it right the first time, but it’s like a process where they can learn and then codify what they’ve learned. And someone else can look at it, and executives can look at it, but it gives, drives empowerment and ownership. And so, once they’ve defined their health metrics, then an OKR is really a “we have a health metric where we’re turning around documents in seven days. And we want to drive that to three days, so the OKR for the quarter is to make, to drive a delta in this health metric”. And so, the OKRs is only ever a smaller subset of sort of like the health metrics and core KPIs that the team looks at. And they’re monitoring them all the time, but they’re focusing on a small set that where they want to make sort of some change or improvement. That’s how we differentiate, a key result is really an improvement to a health metric, versus the things you just looked at to know sort of how you’re doing overall. Make sure something’s not going off track.

Aydin Mirzaee  25:00  

Cool, that makes sense. Switching topics for a little bit, I remember you telling me about some of the things that you do in order to run your meetings. There’s this, there’s this specific scenario that you said that I mean, I don’t know how true this is for a Muslim(Im not sure what they say here). Which is, you actually had a timer for specific topics that you talked about during meetings and literally when the timer goes off, you must switch to the next topic. 

Sam Zaid  25:33  

We’re not that militant. But, I would say that you can’t always enforce it perfectly, but you know, I try to set guidelines for my EA. For example, if she booked a meeting, I want to have an agenda. Okay, so like what are we talking about? When I put together agendas, for meetings I’m driving that are important, that might be longer meetings with a partner or something, I try to set that agenda and then I put like, you know, increments of 15 minutes against each one. So something might be, you know, even increments of five minutes actually… intro might be five minutes, then maybe there’s an opening thing, 15 minutes and then there’s core of the meeting, which is a 30 minute agendas or items or something. So at least we know, you know, how much time we’re expecting to spend up front and then as we’re going through we can see over here you know, we’ve spent 20 minutes but we’re only 10 minutes through the agenda. I find that’s helpful, it’s also is a reminder for me because I can engage in conversation and get into a meeting, and then next thing you know time is gone. Also, my chief staff is very good at keeping us on track, so before I used staff, I used a timer, it was linked to my iPhone. I could just like, put a digital display out in the meeting room, but yeah, don’t do that as much right now.

Aydin Mirzaee  27:01  

Right? Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. So, what would you say to people that would say “Well, if you have that much of a regimented sort of like agenda, then where’s the room for creativity and brainstorming?” And like, what if a really important thing comes up? That’s more important than everything else that was going to be discussed?

Sam Zaid  27:21  

I mean, we’re not radicalist. I think you have to apply judgment, which is important in any meeting. But I think also, you have to understand the type of meeting, right? Are you in a decision making meeting? Are you in an informational meeting? Are you in a strategic sort of like, very strategic meeting? Or is it more of a brainstorming meeting? Depending on what it is you set the agenda, but even a brainstorming meeting, like you know, one of my first creative directors always used to say “there’s no creativity without constraint”. If you have all day to brainstorm, you’ll probably brainstorm all day. But if you say, ‘Hey, we’re going to spend 90 minutes or 45 minutes’, then you have to focus your energy on living within that constraint, which allows you to focus your creativity as well. So, I think it’s just different, right? It doesn’t have to be ‘okay, we’re gonna bring some for 5.5 minutes’, it’s maybe a little bit more loose. If it’s a brace meeting then it is Hey, we’re trying to drive at three decisions. We have all the decision documents, sort of prepared ahead of time, people have reviewed them. And so then we’re just like, 15 minutes on this one,  15 minutes on this, 15 minutes. 

Another thing we do is, when we’re driving decisions, we try to write things down, right? So someone takes ownership of recommending it, they write a decision document, it gets funneled to everyone, everyone reviews ahead of time, come to the meeting, spend 15 minutes, you know, on it, or maybe whatever amount of time and then, have a decision at the end of it. So there’s a lot less sort of like fluid stuff happening in the meeting. And people come prepared and if people haven’t read it, once you’ve stepped in ask has anyone read this? And if not, if they don’t you put their hands up? It’s okay, fine. Everyone spend five minutes. Let’s read it because there’s no point coming meaning if you haven’t read it, then we start coming.

Aydin Mirzaee  29:10  

Cool. I really like that, and do you in advance decide who the decision maker? is or what it if its like close?

Sam Zaid  29:16  

We do, we try to run a rasci framework. So it’s like a, I have to remember what all the acronyms are.. so it’s an acronym for like: recommender, approver, consult someone who’s like a consultant, and informed. So I guess it really means, you have the recommender or  the person who’s recommending the decision, you have the approvers ultimately, the decision maker.  You have the people who are consulted and then you have the viewer just informed. Right, and so for bigger things, we’ll write it out. It’s okay: this person is the recommender, this person’s the approver. Here’s the list of people who need to be consulted because they have input or affects them. And you know, we’ll keep people informed. When that’s really clear, then the person who’s the recommender can go away, get the information, put it in a document, that we have a standard format for, send out the decision doc and then you can drive an effective decision meeting. And especially as we’re, you know, a bigger company where a lot of people need to be involved and you need more process and structure, it helps sort of make things efficient for definitely, for executives who don’t have as much time to be, you know, they get all the information and the detail, they can choose how much they want to, like, internalize that, but they don’t have to go and get it themselves.

Aydin Mirzaee  30:36  

Right. And so this template that you have, like, where does that live? Is that sort of thing that when you manage… there’s just gonna be a new feature in Fellow you know, we do have cool templates. But yeah, I’m just curious, like, how do you.. is it like by osmosis that people sit in the meeting, and  this is the way that we do things that get around?

Sam Zaid  30:59  

Yeah, I mean, this is first of all has evolved, right? It’s stuff. Some of these things are things we’ve only added last six months. But the what was the question? Where were they?

Aydin Mirzaee  31:08  

Yeah. Like how do you operationalize this so that all decision meetings are like important ones across get-around actually work that way?

Sam Zaid  31:17  

Yeah.So it’s really about being disciplined to not have a meeting if that hasn’t happened. And so, rather than people often lead by booking meetings, right, let’s book a meeting. That’s the first thing that happened. And so rather than doing that, it might be okay. Let’s have whoever’s involved talk about what is it? who’s responsible? Who’s gonna be their ultimate decision maker and approver and who’s gonna recommend the solution? Okay, once that’s agreed, then it’s like, Okay, let’s go get that done, and then book a meeting, or you can book them in advance, but have a meeting to go through that and not have the meeting without that tool for people to have gotten the decision document. 

Not for small decisions, you don’t do that. But for a lot of stuff where you’re deciding on ‘hey, should we do this with this sort of, you know, product direction, or the sort of partner’ or I don’t know, this sort of lunch plan, like whatever it is. Because also having the documents means someone can come in later, go back and be like, here’s the options were considered. Here’s the recommended option. And here’s the reasons why. And here’s the decision we made and who made it, right. And so that gets really clear in that document, so that you don’t lose that institutional memory when somebody leaves or somebody forgets. And for us, those are currently all just like Google Doc templates. So nothing fancy about them.

Aydin Mirzaee  32:44  

Yeah. But I think it’s really interesting because like, yes, it’s institutional memory. But I suppose it’s also a way that you can actually learn and get better with decisions because you can actually go and revisit what the thought process was back then.

Sam Zaid  32:56  

Yeah, it also drives discipline right? Because people know they have to do it. And, I had dinner- maybe six months ago, maybe nine months ago now- with Stephen Harper, who, you know, former Prime Minister of Canada, and I didn’t know much about him, actually. But one thing was interesting is his leadership style was always about “I want everything right now”. So that some people are not like that some people have a leadership style, where it’s just like “let’s just have a quick conversation, make the decision”, but then if you’re making so many decisions in a given day or week, it’s pretty easy to forget or really hard to keep track of that. And so he had this structure where he all of his aides would make sure everything was given in a package so that, you know, he could get as much detail but didn’t have to, you know you can make effective decisions and everything was codified and written and I think writing it down just gives you a different level of discipline, is harder to winging it. Like you know when you’re writing something, there’s more clarity and structure and people have time to reflect before they put words on a page, which is different than maybe a unstructured session where, I would never say that that’s effective for brainstorming. Right? You’re not going to write an institution doc for brainstorming, but you know, someone’s going to take ownership over, ‘hey, are we going to move offices? And what’s here’s the three choices and like, here’s the recommended option, and here’s why. And there’s budget impacts and time and location and travel and employee, you know, morale, all that type of stuff’. You sort of want somebody to really do it. You know, put some thought and discipline behind that decision.

Aydin Mirzaee  34:48  

Yeah, that’s awesome. That  sounds great. We should probably start doing that. And yeah, I mean, this is super helpful. And to, I mean, we’ve talked about a lot of things, hiring leaders operationalizing things or Rasci framework, and by the way, all of these will be in the show notes. But just wanted to end on a just for a fun note. So for all the aspiring managers and leaders out there that want to get better at their craft, any kind of resources, recommendations that you would have for them over the next year and that they should think about?

Sam Zaid  35:27  

Yeah. It’s a good question and so, I guess there’s like obviously the classic books people can read. So you know, there’s like Good to Great, Contrarians, Guide to Leadership, Radical Candor, Five Dysfunctions of a team, probably all the stuff you’ve already read. I find for me personally, there’s a certain point after reading books that thematically I don’t know that I get that much from them, sort of different twists on the same themes. But you know, if you haven’t read those, you should read them. That’s probably a good starting point.

I think the other is putting into practice and  hiring leaders who are better than you, because you can learn from them. And there’s a lot of folks who come from great companies and have great processes and structures and philosophies and they can bring value, right. And so a little bit about being a leader is not having an ego and letting that happen. And realizing like you might not be the best at everything, so like, just find those people. And then I think the thing I haven’t done too much of but you know, I’ve heard from a lot of my friends is really helpful as is getting  either a good advisory network or an executive coach, or people who’ve, you know, have more perspective than you could ever have, because you’re always going to be sort of focused on one thing as a founder, CEO or as a manager. And be willing to get feedback, even if you don’t understand why you need it or whether you need it. I think that can be helpful. 

I think the other thing, I don’t know if this is gonna work or not, but we’re setting up a book club internally with all of my executive team so that everyone has to read the same book, and then we can like talk about it. Maybe that has an impact, I’ll let you know. So, look I don’t know there’s a fast answer.

Aydin Mirzaee  37:31  

But I love your hack of like, actually, looking to people from other organizations, and using that as a method to like learn very quickly.

Sam Zaid  37:41  

Yeah, I think it’s important to actually think there’s every organization is different, right? Like, I think if you named off companies people know, whether it’s Amazon or Facebook or Airbnb, completely different. Management styles, cultures, leadership style, so I don’t know there’s one right answer, but they’re certainly.. it’s great to sort of maybe take a nap, maybe take a nugget from each one.

Aydin Mirzaee  38:01  

Cool. And that’s what we’re trying to do on this show. Probably a good note to end it. Thank you, Sam. This has been awesome. Thanks. 

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