Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #171

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the Startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rotan joined as always by my friend and the founder and CEO of startups dot com. Will Schroeder will uh very often the case startup founders and the team end up getting thrust into the management role. And for a lot of us, uh it was the first time ever, right? And uh and six will be on the founders. So today, as we're talking through this, let's keep that in mind that we're not just talking about us as founders being put in that management position, but how the entire team is being treated by management or treating management. It seems to be a challenge kind of across the board for the starts that we work with. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: it is. And I think the problem is for many of us, you know, we've been in management roles before, but maybe we haven't led a team of managers. Most likely we haven't many, many of us haven't. And so we don't have a really good bar to tell us. Am I a good manager? Are the people around me? Good managers? Like what does that actually look like, and I think it's tricky to what you said a lot of us are basically thrust into this leadership role, by definition, by definition of what we've done. And more importantly, we're required to hire lots of other people to do a job. We may not be qualified to do to begin with. In other words, if I, if I'm not qualified to be a manager, let's say I'm young, I'm 23 years old or I'm 33 years old. I just haven't been a manager at this level or a sea level exec at this level. Number one, I don't know what I'm doing. So how do I know that when I hire the people around me that they know what we're doing and then what is the net effect of having a whole bunch of people who actually aren't good managers and worse off? No one knows it. So I think that's what we can dig into today and can do an assessment. Talk about what a good manager actually looks like and what a shitty manager posing as a good manager also looks like.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Yeah. You know, in the right situations, both are very easy to spot. Right. It's hard to miss somebody who's just an excellent manager. Their teams perform well and not just perform well, but they continuously perform better. You know, they're, they're hitting goals or hitting targets, they're, they're measuring what they're doing, they're doing all those things well, conversely, a shooting manager, you know, when the data exists, when you have the visibility pretty obvious, uh where, where bad managers exist. I think one of the big challenges in, in a startup is that especially those early stages, there's so much that's unknown and so much that's undefined that sometimes we might miss a good manager or a shitty manager. More likely the shitty manager is simply because we don't yet know we don't have that visibility. We can't see. We're not sure what they were supposed to be getting done. And it's like, well, they're working, they're, they're, they're doing stuff that people would like for them are doing and stuff everybody likes them, they get along, they're not making waves and we're not yet in a position where we're clear whether what they're doing is actually having an outcome. This is the really, really, really hard spot I think for most founders to, to assess and again, like that's assuming that we're even qualified to make that

Wil Schroter: assessment. Yeah, I think a lot of people are just babysitters masquerading as managers. Let, let, let me illustrate the difference here. A babysitter looks something like this. I've got a team that works under me on a regular basis. They report up things that are happening, they bubble them up and sometimes people, you know, need to be addressed in some way and, and you know, they're crying so I need to take care of them, you know, make sure they're ok. And, uh, and I just try to keep everybody happy and everybody likes me. I like them. We have a good relationship. People come to their job and they do their job. I'm a babysitter. I'm a highly paid babysitter. The only thing that I'm doing is replicating what the team is already doing from time to time. I put out a fire, but my entire purpose is to recite what other people are doing for a living.

Ryan Rutan: It's an accounting process, right? You, you, you become, you become the historian of the team, right? Let me tell you a tale. Right. Here's what just happened, right? Yeah, we

Wil Schroter: who cares? Here's where it comes from a lot of times, especially in a startup and we won't talk big Corp for a second because that's a whole other thing we'll talk, just startup, just start up in a startup. The reason this often happens is that early on in the formative stages, we've got one person that's running a department or was he even the department? It's just them. Yeah, I was gonna

Ryan Rutan: say, yeah, the, the department of one or maybe they're running more than one department, right? This

Wil Schroter: happens and I'll pick on development for a second, your tech team because it's, it, this almost always happens. Nobody's fault by the way, natural evolution. I'm just pointing out that it often happens like this. The person that joins could be a co-founder or what have you becomes the CTO. At initially they're a CTO of one, the chief technology officer of exactly one person themselves. But then we hire a couple more people. And then naturally, obviously without question, they're their manager, strike one. Nobody stopped to say, are you a good manager? Are you particularly skilled at this? In most cases they are

Ryan Rutan: not, do you even want to be a manager? Great question.

Wil Schroter: Great question. Early in my career when we were starting to hire a lot of the developers, I started to talk to the senior level folks and I said, let me ask you this. Do you love to code or do you love to manage? And they're like, well, I love the code. That's kind of what I do, but I like to manage coders as well. I'm like, cool. But do you wanna be a manager? Not a coder like, well, no, I don't wanna not write code, right? I OK. The thing is you're good at code. You have no experience being a manager and you might suck at it. But here's the thing, here's the thing I said. And I don't think you should be penalized for that. I don't think that your only route to growth should be having a team of people underneath you that totally dilutes what you're good at, which is a

Ryan Rutan: coding. Yeah. And, and that's the thing. And I think that when you, when you ask that question, the, the, the follow up question is why? Right. Do you want to be a manager? Yes, I do. Why? Because it has a perceived higher salary.

Wil Schroter: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. I want more money.

Ryan Rutan: It's the, it's the wrong reason. And to your point, people shouldn't be penalized for being rock stars in their field simply because they don't move into a management role, which is probably a less valuable use of their time. All right. And, and so yeah, but hard again, it's hard to avoid the startup because you just naturally have this progression, right? You're the, you're the only person who's there, right? We add someone else in, you have whatever little historical knowledge of the company exists. So therefore, like you're at the top of the totem pole and so you, you, you just stay there, right? Without any, any question, without any, any real assessment as to whether this is what should happen or not. This is just the course that we tend to follow as startup founders.

Wil Schroter: And here's where we get thrown off. We look at that CTO and they say again, everyone seems to like them, they're reporting on, on their projects, et cetera. Everybody seems to be doing what they're supposed to be doing. They're a good manager, they're not a good manager by that metric, by that metric. They're a very talented babysitter, they're very talented, maybe, maybe project manager. The difference is, and this is the delta. You know, we'll, we'll talk about is that a good manager is trying to change behaviors? A good manager doesn't look at, ok, this is what we ship. So, I guess that's what we ship. A good manager says. Here's what we should be shipping. They have a higher level sense of how the team should perform and here's how I'm gonna get the team there. The difference between that and a bad manager, a bad manager says, well, this is what the team can do. So that's what we can do. That's where we're topped out. Yeah. Huge miss. Yeah.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. When we just, when we just set it kind of accept those set limits particularly again, like it's a problem for the manager for sure. But if we're talking about a manager, that's not the founder. It's even more of a problem for the founder because they may not have the visibility to say that's incorrect, right? Like that, that shouldn't be our baseline, right? We just start to assume again that person is a good manager because they're, they're hitting their targets or whatever without knowing that we're only at 50% efficiency, 60% efficiency. Right. This is where it becomes really, really dangerous because then when you compound this across, you know, 10, 15 people who are now managers across a team of 60 to 70 people, we end up with a much, much bigger compounded problem

Wil Schroter: in the, the reason we're using the term manager here as opposed to leader. And I think leaders a little more apropo in a lot of cases, but we're using manager because when we want to talk to founders, like in this episode about it, we want them to look at themselves as leaders. But we also wanna be able to apply this to all the managers in the organization. So I don't think this stops that just say the sea level of leadership. I think it's every manager that we appoint. And I think part of the challenge is we look at the managers and we say to the managers, we really want you to, to grow the team or grow their performance. But if the manager starts with this mentality, what's the highest bar I can set? That isn't hard to get to. It's like a coach saying I'm willing to start leading this team and I think we can go 500% this year. I think, you know, we, we go like eight for eight this year and you're like, OK, that doesn't seem like a really high bar. Yeah, but our team has never been more than 500% before. We've never had a winning season. So, you know, I'm, I'm gonna set it at 500. Yeah. Yeah. And so what you're doing in that case, first off ourselves by allowing that behavior to take place is you're saying I am guaranteeing mediocrity,

Ryan Rutan: you're literally aiming for it.

Wil Schroter: Yes. Yes. You're looking across at the team at the head count. And you're saying, ah OK, well, these are all C plus players and C plus players are never gonna perform better than C plus work. Of course, they're not a bad manager, thinks like that.

Ryan Rutan: It's interesting though, go go back to the, to this distinction between leadership and, and management for a second. And this is where these two distinctions, they become really, really important and, and how they feed each other. I think frequently bad managers are allowed to be bad managers when we lack real leadership, right? So leadership has to be there to provide that reason to want to hit more than mediocrity to be told that it's OK to try for more than that and to fail. I think one of the challenges that we have, you know, depending on where leadership stands and how they're communicating with the team, people pick targets they can hit because they feel like they won't be penalized for that. If I aim too big and miss will I, will I be, will I be hurt for that? Right? There was uh I, I'm struggling now to remember who said it. I'd like to credit them somebody within one of the, the larger tech companies basically said, look, there's all of this talk around output and the output is the only thing that matters. And, and while that is true, that output is very important, they said what you actually need to measure and reward is effort. Because if you start to only manage towards output, you miss a big piece of this is then you're not motivating people to do more than they can because then they're just saying, OK, here's the defined output. That's what I'm gonna do. I'm not compensated. I'm not incentivized to put effort forth. That might fail, right? That could be innovative, could take us somewhere new, could take us beyond that point of mediocrity. But because leadership isn't giving me that freedom isn't telling me this is what I should be doing. I'm just going to aim at that midline and I'll be safe. Right. And, and safety and complacency in a startup, real dangerous conditions. Right. That's a, that's a powder keg waiting to blow the bottom out of the boat.

Wil Schroter: Here's the worst part. I don't think that call it bad managers actually know that they're bad managers. I think that's the worst part. I think they're sitting in a position where they genuinely believe that they're doing the right thing again. Team likes them outputs where they said it was going to be et cetera and in their mind, they don't think they've got ac plus team and this is where things get really tricky. They think they've got an A team because in their mind, this must be what an A team looks like. They've never played with a different team. They actually don't know.

Ryan Rutan: Well, when they set the, when they are allowed to set the baseline, right? When they're allowed to set the goal, right, you they get to set the curve for the class. So of course, it's an A team, right? Everybody, everybody with an A, right. So this is, this is again where we have to go back and say like leadership has to be involved here. And of course, this is really, really difficult when the manager is also the leader, right? If we're talking about the founder here and you have to play both of those roles, it can be extremely difficult because you have to lead on one hand and set the vision, set the pace and all that and then you have to manage. On the other hand, which is to get everybody else to fall in line and do those things too, incredibly, incredibly challenging. So the

Wil Schroter: question becomes, where do you set your baseline? And I think part of it looks like this, if we were to say I use something binary, our sales target is going to be $100,000 a month. That's what we set. And of course, it's, it's always very arbitrary when we get to set it and we, we run for a while and, and we hit it a few months. If we then say $100,000 is our target every month from thereafter, we gotta have to be asking ourselves some questions. Number 1 $100,000. If we could hit that why couldn't we hit $200,000? Like, what would prevent us from doing that? Well, everybody's, you know, making all, all their calls and, you know, closed sales. Are they the best people to be making those calls are the, um, the leads. We're getting the best leads they could be getting. There's a lot of things that it's our job to constantly say. Yeah. But what about this? At which point? We don't look for ways to increase our baseline. We lose. It's like saying, hey, I'm ac plus student. I think I'm an a student, but I'm ac plus student. So as long as I'm getting C pluses, I'm good.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, this, this does lead us down that path of growth versus stability and a few other things. So we're also not saying, right, if you hit 100,000, you have to hit 200 you have to hit 300 you have to hit 400. Of course, there need to be reasons behind the growth. So we're, we're not saying just, you know, always push and, and, and try to move baselines arbitrarily. But if we're talking about early stage startups, that's generally not the problem, right? We're not usually in, in some comfy position where it's like, you know, actually we could just keep doing this for the next 15 years and everything will be well,

Wil Schroter: and that's the, the tricky thing is we have to challenge those assumptions on a regular basis, we have to assume this is the hard part. We have to assume that all the people we have right now are a grade below what they should be and test that assumption, push it against everything that we can do in, in all aspects of the, the organization. So when you look at a manager and again, we could pick on any department, it really doesn't matter. But let's go back to the development team and Deb team saying, hey, you know, we're, we're hitting our timelines, maybe we're a little bit behind in some cases, happens, but that's where we're at. And we stopped and say, well, what if we got better people could that improve timelines, could improve output, could it in? And at which point you're not even asking that question, then that's a problem. The second question is for the people that you do have, what measures have you put in place to guarantee? We are getting absolute efficacy out of those people. The problem, the problem is for a lot of these managers, they actually don't have another level of capability, right? This is it, they are C plus players and they produce C plus teams. And again, it goes back to and, and we might be the founders thinking the same thing, founding team thinking, you know, we kind of are capped out here, especially for most of us. We're first time founders, hell we, we, we never managed like this before. And so I think a big part of it is going back and constantly asking, well, what if it could be better? What might that look like? Instead of saying this must be the best it could be because it's, it's never the best it can be, that's

Ryan Rutan: for sure. Right. Yeah. Rarely, rarely. Is that the case? Yeah, it's, it's a good point. And then I think that that leads into kind of the the the second tent of, of management, which is that it's all about behavioral change, right? So in order to be able to change behavior first, we have to know what the existent behavior is, have some sense for how close to peak performance that is or isn't. And then figure out what are the levers that we have available to us to change that performance, whether that's a wholesale change of, of an individual, you know, somebody coming adding to the team, taking somebody off the team working on skills uh or distribution of work within the team. This is really the core of what a manager should be doing, right? And this is this is, that's it, right. It's all about behavioral change

Wil Schroter: in my mind. The managers is the Ben Kenobi or Yoda. In this case, their job is to make people Jedi warriors. If you were to, if you were to sit down with your manager and you were to say, take a look at each member of your team and tell me how you took them from being ac player to a B player, B player, to an A player, et cetera. Most of them would be shocked because they, it, it didn't really there. Well, I, I helped him out in this one project or I did this one thing and I was like, and that's cool. And maybe that situation helped a little bit. But how did you consistently push them more? So instruct them into the words of the force analogy to become the Jedi Knight? What did you do that transformed them from who they were to who they are now? And when you talk to most managers, they're like, wait, I was supposed to do that. They, they didn't even understand that was into the job description which inherently bad managers. It's our job to look at that. And by the way, it's all applies to us as well as founders. It's our job to look at that and say, if the folks I put in place are fundamentally transforming the people that are sitting under them, what are they doing there? What what value are they adding again? I'm back to babysitter. No. You know, something that's really funny about everything we talk about here is that none of it is new. Everything you're dealing with right now has been done 1000 times before you, which means the answer already exists may just not know it, but that's OK. That's kind of what we're here to do. We talk about this stuff on the show, but we actually solve these problems all day long at groups dot startups dot com. So if any of this sounds familiar, stop guessing about what to do, let us just give you the answers to the test and be done with it.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. You're back to babysitting. So, so some of it comes down to the, uh, the raw material. In this case, the raw material being the the human capital that we have and this can be, this can be really tough too, right at the start up level because we, we don't necessarily have all the resources we have, we can't necessarily hire the person that we really, really want, right? We may have a budget that, that dictates otherwise. And so then, you know, it becomes a real challenge for the the manager. Uh again, if it's the founder, slightly different story, if it's a manager underneath the founder, leadership has to get involved here and, and be able to help with that assessment and say, like, look, this is as much as we are going to get out of this person. Like what do we do about this now? And, and unfortunately, startups tend to just go with inertia, right? They hire fast and fire slow simply because I mean, lots of reasons. So half the time that, you know, they're hiring friends or friends of friends or people, they know, or, you know, they, whatever the circumstances were and people end up sticking around long, well beyond their, their livelihood. Simply because that tends to be the start of way. Right. And, yeah. And so, so that's, it's super hard, right. Like, you know, behavioral change is fine. Right. But even a really skilled manager who has a, a pattern and a path for somebody, you have to have somebody who's willing to follow that pattern and path and, and have the capability of growing, which I think in startups is less of a problem, the raw material is not there. Uh And more of a problem with management itself just because again, we've been thrown into this role, maybe for the first time, certainly, probably for the first time under these types of circumstances. And maybe we were a manager in a, in a, in a corporate environment somewhere before where there was a lot of structure and now in this completely unstructured environment and it's our job to provide the structure. And this is an extremely uncomfortable situation to find yourself

Wil Schroter: in. I also think you've got two ends of the spectrum. You've got patience. Intolerance. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Patience is, it's gonna take a while for them to get where I want them to be intolerance says, and at some point I'm not OK if they don't get there. Right. I was like being a parent. But in this case, I think for a manager as it relates to their team, they have to be able to look at uh the team members, a lot of times they're bringing on junior level folks because we're startups, we don't have a ton of cash and they have to be able to say the patience aspect. There's things that I need to teach them how I can kind of uh grow them in order for them to be wonderful. But they're gonna make a lot of mistakes along the way. It's gonna take a little bit of time tolerance says at some point, they've made so many mistakes. It's not worth investing more time into this person. I'm better off replacing them. You, by the way, they're almost always better off as well. I'm better off replacing them where so many where it's worth investing the patients in can't do that with our Children, but uh a lot of Children be open if that were the case. I don't think good managers have an issue with that. I think good managers are thinking in terms of, I only want to work with a great team. Right. Right. And I'm either gonna develop them or find them or both

Ryan Rutan: for sure. I, I I'm gonna point back to leadership here again. Right. Because leadership has to, has to be able to convey to management that it's OK to do those things. One of the things that I have seen time and time again is that managers are afraid to get rid of people or to make big changes because they think that it reflects poorly on them. Right. It's like, oh, I've had this person and I've been patient and again, then we pass that line of patience to tolerance. But now if I admit that and I fire this person and it's like, well, why didn't this happen sooner? They're, they're concerned about those kind of things. I think this is where that balance has to exist with leadership, where the managers can feel comfortable making the right decisions without feeling like that's a failure, right? You know, letting somebody go isn't a failure right now. If you're just consistently hiring people and then letting them go because you're really bad at hiring, then let's, let's figure that one out, right? Let's talk about why it's happened, maybe get some help with that. But I think that it's really important again to strike this balance between leadership and management where management feels properly supported and incentivized to be able to make those right decisions. Uh Because this is something that we see a lot where people are like, you know, I there's a couple of people on the team, I'd really like to get rid of, but I'm afraid of what message that we'll send to the rest of the team or what message that we send to. And I'm not usually hearing to my boss because I'm usually talking to the founders. They're usually more concerned about what messages are sent to investors, to partners, to right to, to my co-founder, to whoever, where there's somebody else who's going to pass some level of judgment on this decision. But certainly where we're looking downstream and we're looking at managers who are managing underneath the founder. I think it's really important that we as the founders fully empower them to make those decisions and feel good about it. I think

Wil Schroter: if you were to compare the two, I think a strong manager, their team is a reflection of them, strong manager, their team is a reflection of their capability, a weak manager, they're a reflection of their team. The team sucks and which is why they suck, right? And you, you look at this, if you were to talk about like a professional sports team, right? If you, if you watch time and time again, a professional sports team that has a great a coach consistently wins, they go to other teams and they consistently win. The team is a reflection of their capability, right? In the losing teams that coach they have, you know, the same tools to work with some teams are better than others, et cetera. But even a good coach can take a bad team and make them better, but a bad coach give them any team they're gonna lose.

Ryan Rutan: That was the point there, right? Which is that we're talking about behavioral change here, right? So they should be able to take this, they're all professional athletes at the end of the day. Right. So, uh being able to figure out how to put them to best use is that, that manager's job. Right? And, and the same thing applies to, to us as founders, you know, we have to make the best use of the resources that we have, which unfortunately sometimes means engaging in the painful process of management.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Yeah. Or, or seeking out other candidates having a high bar and say, I, I would love to hear, you know, in any organization, a manager say I've got five people that are under me right now. None of them are good enough for what I need to get done. And what I'm doing right now is I'm actively seeking out the right people and I'm also putting them on plans that at least give them the opportunity to get where I need them to be. That's the, that's a beautiful answer. I hear it never, by the way when I talk to founders, but it's a beautiful answer. I think if founders look across their organization or look themselves, they think a good manager is irreplaceable. Conversely, a bad manager can be replaced. In fact, sometimes you don't even backfill them. They, they leave and you're like, you know, we actually don't. Yeah. Which, which is the biggest mark of a bad manager. But Ryan, when you and I think, you know, as, as managers in this business, you know, what would break if we left, we can point to very specific things that particularly exist because we exist in the organization, which to me is the Hallmark of a good manager. You are part of the DNA of the company. If you're not and you're just a cog and you're replaceable, something's wrong for

Ryan Rutan: sure. Yeah. And it's interesting because there are leadership qualities that are irreplaceable, then there are management qualities that are replaceable, then there are just skills also, right? And so we, we should draw the distinction here that what we're really talking about that is that that management role. So it's, it's really about, you know, the do we need to replace somebody for their functionality like the, the skill set that they bring or do we need to replace them because of their, their managerial capabilities? And the indication there would be that person leaves and maybe we're like, you know, that the thing that they did their direct work inputs and, and the result and output, we don't actually have to replace, but all of a sudden the team starts performing poorly, right? It's an indication that they, they, they were a good manager and we do need to replace that person. Conversely, if not, then what you found out was that you, you had a babysitter, it turns out you didn't have any babies, right? You, you said people who were autonomously doing work and what you had in the form of the manager slash babysitter was essentially the analog of an analytics reporting platform that just came and told you what was happening. That's

Wil Schroter: exactly it. And I think we've been so indoctrinated, you know, corporate world that everything has to fit into a nice neat hierarchy. Everybody has to fit. If we've got five people, they have to report up to one person and that person needs to report up to another person and it has to work in that structure. And I'm not saying it's entirely broken. I think what's missing in that is a very fundamental question which says, why is that team better when that person in that role? Is there not, do we have more reporting capability to your point? Like it's a human er P, right? Like what, what we want is we want this superstar coach, we want the person that comes in there, the Jedi master that comes in there and makes everybody 10 X better at their job and we wanna be able to look at that back to the irreplaceable and we wanna be able to look at that and say if we pull this person out, we are screwed, not because we need a reporting function, but because without that person, these people will not perform at that next level. And let's let's be honest, how often does that even happen? I mean, how many people are, are, are kind of sitting in their jobs and again, they're well, like their babysitters, but they actually don't perform any Jedi magic whatsoever.

Ryan Rutan: How often does that happen in startup land frequently? More frequently than we like? Right. Like that's, that's the problem. Right. So, yeah, it, it happens a lot and, and again, like, it, it happens for a lot of reasons. Some of it is just the, the obscurity of, of early stage startup where we're not even entirely sure what we're driving at. Right. So how do we measure that? How do, how can we be sure if we're doing the right thing when the horizon for that might be 6 to 9 months, 12 months from now. And I think this is where you have to just lean back on, you know, what are we doing down at the individual level, right? And again, it kind of that the, the point that I brought up before that I was unable to, to properly attribute the effort versus output, right? And now we can't just reward effort, right? If, if somebody just continuously is, is running and not getting anywhere that also doesn't work. But we, we at least need to manage for effort and kind of find ways where we can improve that effort, where we can quantify the effort. And then in this, in the case where we don't have the objective and, and measurable output yet, right? Which is often the case when we're, when we don't, we don't have our product yet we're still looking for product market fit. Maybe we don't have an M V P yet. Right? There's this, it can be really hard to truly say, like, let's manage towards this. Ok. Well, tell me what it looks like, coach and we're like, well, I don't know yet, we're figuring it out, right. So it is, it is a, a management challenge that is fraught with difficulty, but it's still one that we, we have to address. And again, I think in the absence of being able to look at the macro and say, you know, leadership is very clear on what we're trying to do here. We just have to manage down to the individual level, right? Uh the analog I have is coaching youth soccer, right? So before I think about winning games, I'm looking at each and every one of these young players that I have on the team and I'm trying to figure out what are the improvements I'm gonna make within that individual, right? Because I know it will be a net benefit to that individual and a net benefit to the team. I don't yet necessarily know how it fits into the overall strategy of how we're going to win games. But if they can't kick with the left foot at all, we're gonna start with that, right? And we're gonna work on some of the basic locking tackling stuff. And so I think that this is often where we end up as managers at the early stage is just managing towards the individual.

Wil Schroter: Ok, let's stick with that. I wanna stick with that individual management philosophy. So if we were to look at a manager and we're to evaluate a manager, let's say the manager has three people on their team, not a huge team. And we say, ok, last year, this is gonna go back to sales for a second. This is more binary, but I can actually apply it really to anything. Last year the team did $100,000 in sales. What do you want to do this year? And you say, well, I think we can get to 100 and 50,000. Ok, cool. That's an arbitrary movement of the goalpost. You, you're making, you know, but you're making some assumption that you can do that. The next obvious question is, what are you gonna do with your individual team members? What are you going to do? How are you going to change their behavior other than just telling them their sales quote is higher. A good answer would be, I'm gonna spend more time with them on the calls to help them close deals. Or if, if I'm running development, I'm gonna spend more time with their, with their code trying to show them some new ways to get things done faster and more efficiently. I've got a plan over the next 60 days. We're gonna do a, a check in every other week on these particular improvements. No, the different than you do with your soccer team and, and we're gonna find out if they're headed where they need to be. I'm not just gonna arbitrarily say, here's a 50% improvement. You figure out how to get there because then what, what good am I? I'm just a guy who moved the goal posts, right.

Ryan Rutan: Just move the goal post, right?

Wil Schroter: If I'm not capable of actually teaching them how to do a better job and how to be more effective well value. Am I adding seriously? Again, I, I'm back to being a human, er, p at

Ryan Rutan: that point. Yep. Yep. That's exactly it.

Wil Schroter: So, as a, as a leader, if you were to sit down with our founder, let's say if you were to sit down with your team or again, use it as a self assessment and say, where are you specifically improving the team? How are you making the team exponentially better? And where are those exponential returns even coming from? In other words, how do you know that your people could be better? A lot of people figure when I hire people and this is what they say they can do. That's what they can do. Always bullshit. Always bullshit. I mean, there are exceptions that people actually aren't that capable but if I hire a trainer Ryan and, and I tell the trainer I can do 20 pushups and he's like, ok, I guess you're a guy who does 20 push-ups? What do I need a trainer for? Like, where are you adding any value?

Ryan Rutan: I do on occasionally lose track of my account. So that would be helpful if you

Wil Schroter: Yeah. No, I mean, but seriously short of that, like if you can't get me the 30 pushups, what are you even doing here? Why, why are you part of the process? You're actually holding me back now. It may be the case because I'm fat and old that in fact, you try to push and push and push and I can never get past 20 pushups. Right. That's entirely possible. In which case, I'm the problem. But if I'm capable of doing 30 pushups and I'm not doing them, you're the

Ryan Rutan: problem. Yeah, I, I think that's, that, that's very accurate. And I think we, we run into the situation of, of management versus maintenance, right? If we're just maintaining, then we're not really managing, right? And sometimes we do run into situations where maybe maintenance is what's required at that time. Right? Like it's like, let's hold the line, let's make sure that everything keeps going while we're waiting for some other thing to happen. Product market fit. You know, it's some other thing, you know, a new, new product release, whatever it is. But when we find ourselves just perpetually stuck in maintenance mode, right? And we're doing things like you're saying, like, ok, well, we got to break out of maintenance mode what are we gonna do? Let's arbitrarily move the goalposts, right? You didn't move from, you know, maintenance into management at that point, you just, you just started now, you just started hoping that things would happen, right? So, yeah. Yeah. And again, I'm gonna circle back to you. This is where leadership has to get involved and, and help in these cases where they see management isn't moving the bar in a way that actually makes sense where it's, it's, they're not moving at all or it's being arbitrarily moved to me. This would almost always indicate that there's, there's some level of, of lack in the leadership. So that person understands. If not, then it's pretty clear, we just got a bad manager right at that point, we can, we can call, we can call it.

Wil Schroter: I think we've got to pass two tests, I think as leadership as management, et cetera. The first one is, has their performance, has their presence fundamentally changed the output of the team? Have they made the difference? Which is what we've been talking about. The second would be if they left today, would anybody even notice? In other words, was the team to be just as good or shitty as it was. I would say, if they passed both tests. In other words, they actually do contribute and change the value of the team. And if they left, they'd be irreplaceable. They're a great manager. If they fail both, both of those tests really, they haven't changed any behavior and if they left, we might not even replace them. We've got a babysitter on our hands. So, in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on startups dot com. That includes all of our education tracks, which will be funding customer acquisition, even how to manage your monthly finances. They're so much stuff in there. All of our software including biz plan for putting together detailed business plans and financials launch rock for attracting early customers and of course, fund for attracting investment capital. When you log into the startups dot com site, you'll find all of these resources available.

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