Our company was never supposed to be this big, I suppressed our team size to never be over 10 folks for a few years b/c I wanted to stay small. Then I realized I love watching people at Seer, and that growth often came from them getting new challenges / problems to solve for our company, and growth creates problems.
This 1 question helps me combat sentiment that happens in any growing organization and also helps me identify problem solvers:
“Execs are out of touch”
We hear it, the execs / managers don’t know the work I do. Ok, so how many times have you filled out what you were proud of? “Well, uh, …”
As your company grows, this sentiment will rise up! I find that having this weekly question helps me (and people’s peers) say to those people “are you taking the 5 minutes 1–2x a month to put these on the company’s radar?”
If that answer is No, then I get to say … that is on you.
“Execs don’t have time for me”
This past month I had an intern fill it out, and I responded to her, it felt great to open that dialogue with someone whom I would not typically work with.
More importantly when I have limited space in my calendar, I need to know what people are working on and how that contributes to the organization to choose whom I grab coffee with that week, and on any given week it can be a intern up to an executive. The power is in their hands.
By publishing my goals company wide (along with the tactics to help us get there) it helps people to know what I’m working on, so if your “what I’m proud of” helps me get closer to my big vision / goals for the company, you better believe I’m going to try to sit down with you or get someone who can.
“Problem solvers vs Problem identifiers”
This question susses out the difference pretty quickly. It helps separate those who want to talk about a problem from those invested in solving that problem. “
The “What are you proud of” question is not well answered by I’m doing too much work, that is what I am proud of.
It is well answered by “ for the last 6 weeks I’ve been working to automate ABC time consuming tasks, last week it worked, saving me 3 hours and I think I can scale this to others too.
Here’s an example of a dialogue with a person at Seer, notice how I also get my exec team CC’ed so they too know what this person is doing, which helps them prioritize whom to meet with as well.
There are some issues
Women vs Men — Specifically there could be a male / female dynamic where one gender isn’t as good as advocating for themselves. Doing it this way at least I have data I can join to people’s gender from my HR tool to the answers here to keep me in check.
Squeaky wheel — this isn’t the kind of thing to fill out every week, you need to help coach people on what are good updates by mediocre ones. Mediocre updates are fine, but they may not be as likely to get responses.
Execs / Managers — Its important to make sure your executives know its important to respond. (That part is very hard to track). My leadership style is one where I prefer to lead by example and see who “gets it” but sometimes you need to be more explicit.