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The Great CEO Within Matt Mochary

The Tactical Guide to Company Building

August 01, 2022 - 1892 words - 10 mins Found a typo? Edit me
management business leadership

Matt Mochary coaches the CEOs of many of the fastest-scaling technology companies in Silicon Valley. He shares his highly effective leadership and business-operating tools with any CEO or manager in the world.

Learn how to efficiently scale your business from startup to corporation by implementing a system of accountability, effective problem-solving, and transparent feedback.

Reading, talking to other experts in a particular area, practicing, and teaching are the best ways to learn and improve yourself.

3 Key takeaways

  • You need to learn how to manage yourself before you can manage your business.
  • Don’t ignore conflict. Be transparent, give and take feedback often, and be an active listener.
  • Be obsessed with learning about your customer. Do so by asking better questions.

Summary

The team

  • Do not create a 50/50 partnership, because despite it sounds ideal, it actually leads to real pain if there is no easy way to break a deadlock.
  • Find a partner who has complementary skills to yours. Give a large percentage of the company; it worth it.
  • Founding teams should never grow beyong six until there is a true product-market fit (PMF).
  • Metrics that PMF are important. For example revenue, renewal rates, …

Getting things done

  • Read “Getting Things Done: The art of stress-free productivity”, by David Allen.

Inbox zero

  • Keep your inbox clean as a single triage room at a hospital.
    • It is important to distinguish the urgent cases from the ones that aren’t.

Top goal

  • Schedule two hours each day to work on your top goal only.
  • The earlier in the day you schedule this top goal, the better.

On-time and present

  • Don’t waste other people’s time.
  • If you know you’re going to be late, let the other people know as soon as possible.
  • Be present and focus on what’s being discussed.

When you say it twice write it down

  • Write down all processes. In doubt, write everything.

Gratitude

  • Focus on the positives.
  • We perform our best when we are having fun and feeling good.
  • Be appreciative. Tell people when they’ve done something good.

Energy audit

  • Audit your time and figure out how much of it is spend on activities that energize you and what activities drain you.
    • Delegate or outsouce the things that drain you as much as possible.

Health

  • Your mental and physical health is the most important resource we all have.
    • Take care of yourself and the people around you.

Decision-making

  • Require that anyone who wants to discuss an issue write it up, along with the desired solution, ahead of time.
  • This method, thought time-consuming, yields extraordinarily thoughtful decisions in a very shrt amount of time.

Getting buy-in

  • When people feel they are part of the decision and their input matters.
  • When people are given more influence, they feel more invested.

Issues and proposed solution

  • Require that anyone who presents an issue at a team meeting do so in writing.
    • It should include both a detailed description of the issue and their proposed solution. They cannot say “I don’t know.” They must at least present a guess.
  • All issues should be presented at the weekly team meeting.
  • Allow 5 min to discuss each proposed solution.
    • If consensus is reached in that time - great.
    • Otherwise, don’t spend more time debating, and use RAPID framework instead.

Loudest voice in the roomo

  • Be aware of who is in the room when you have a group discussion.
  • Avoid influencing other people’s ideas by wriring down their vote or thoughts before you share your perspective.
  • Let juniors ask and speak first.

Sloppy agreements

  • Sloppy agreements are when people don’t show up on time, or don’t complete the goals they declare.
  • The antidote is “impeccable agreements”:
    • precisely defined
    • fully agreed to by all relevant people
  • There must be consequences of breaking agreements.
  • If you can’t meet the agreement, then you have an obligation to let other members of the agreement circle know asap.

Transparency

  • Don’t hide negative information.
  • Our imaginations are much more powerful than reality.
  • Share all relevant information with your team, both negative and positive.
    • Let them adapt.

Conflict resolution

  • Interpersonal conflict is almost due to people:
    • Not fully sharing their thoughts and feelings
    • Not feeling heard
  • Prove to people that you have heard them by summarizing what you just said back to you until they say “that’s right!”.

Issue identification

  • Ask people to pretend they’re the CEO and answer:
    • “What are the 3 most important issues for me to solve in the next 90 days?”
  • Ask people to write down their thoughts about the company when they feel their joy, excitement, sadness, anger and fear.

Conscious leadership

  • Be more interested in learning than been right.

Customer obsession

  • Focus on the outcome, not the output.
  • You are solving a customer problem, not just making a product.

Culture

  • You don’t choose your values. You have them.
  • Use your values as a guide to who you hire and when you fire.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate. Make an effort to publicly acknowledge achievements.
  • Don’t measure hours. Measure output.
  • You prevent office politics by never allowing lobbying to be successful.

Company folder system and wiki

  • Have a company wiki and make it mandatory that all new hires read it.
  • Whenever you find yourself doing something twice, write down exactly what it is that you did.
    • Everyone on the team should contribute.

Goal tracking

  • Never assign someone an action without them agreeing to it verbally or in writing.

Areas of responsibility

  • When more than one person shares a responsibility, it often does not get done well, or at all.
  • One person is assigned to each function in the company.

No single point of failure

  • Write down all processes.
  • Cross-train a second person for each role.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

  • Known your 5-6 most significant KPIs and track them religiously. Make them visible to the entire team.

Collaboration

  • Set vision and goals for the company, each dept, and each individual.
  • Communicate that vision and those goals to every team member.
  • Tracking and reporting progress towards those goals on a regular timetable (usually weekly).
  • Feedback on what’s going right and what needs to be adapted.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

  • Target 3 objectives with 3 key results for each.
  • For the company, department, team, individual.
    • Cascade them down so they are in alignment.
  • The objective = “where do we want to go?”. No necessarily measurable.
  • Key results = “how do we know that we’re getting there?”. It should be measurable.
  • Gather your leadership team and have everyone come to the meeting with their ideas for what the OKRs should be for the quarter.
    • Let individuals come up with their own OKRs. They will be more invested.

Feedback

  • Never give negative feedback using a one-way communication method
    • Like email, text, or voicemail.

The problem with no giving feedback

  • You won’t notice your company’s problems.
  • Communication will break down.
  • Your best talent will leave you.

4 A’s of seeking feedback

  1. Ask for it.
  2. Acknowledge it - repeat what they said. Make them feel heard and understood.
  3. Appreciate it.
  4. Act on it.

How to give negative feedback

  1. Ask for permission.
  2. State the behaviour (fact).
  3. State how the behaviour makes you feel (feelings).
  4. State your thoughts, opinions, and judgments around the situation (story).
  5. Make a request - a change you’d lie to see in the future.
  6. Ask if they accept the feedback.

Fundraising

  • Pick a partner, not a enterprise.
  • When you need to speak to an investor, ask 3-5 people in your network who know that person to send an email of recommendation to them.
  • Stack the referrals close together (in the same week) so that you get noticed.
  • Talk about your company once you know that the investor likes and trust you.
  • Sell yourself, not the company.

Recruiting

  • Spend as little time as possible with the candidates that you don’t hire, and as much time as possible with the candidates that you want to hire.
  • As the hiring manager, write out a 90 roadmap for the position you need to fill.

On-boarding

  • Give onboarding even more attention, time and energy than you give to recruiting.
  • Assign each new team member a buddy with whom they’ll check in each day for 15 minutes for the first 2 weeks.

Firing

  • Whe you make the announcement, praise the person’s contributions to the company, and take ownership yourself for the fact that you weren’t able to match their skills to the company’s needs.
  • Do not blame or criticise the person. Instead, take responsibility for the situation.

Effective sales

  • Build trust.
  • Sell results, not features.
  • Identify customers’ pains.

Build trust

  • Ask customers about them.
    • Listen actively and reflect back what they say.
    • At the second meeting show that you remember what they said at the first.
  • Be explicit about not talking about your company.
  • Ask for a limited amount of time.
  • Invite them to a purely social event.

Customer development

  • Asking the right questions will help you identify customer’s specific challenges.
  • You need to understand their pain before presenting your solution.
    1. What are their goals?
    2. What are the challenges preventing them from reaching those goals?
    3. What are their ideal solutions to overcoming those obstacles?

Sell results, not features

  • Most people don’t care about your product functionality or features. They care about their business results.
  • Focus on the why.
  • Focus on painting the vision of a world where customer’s desires are fulfilled with the help of your product.

Building a sales team & pipeline

  • Don’t hire sales people right away.
  • In most cases, sales people will never be able to sell better than the founders, and they won’t be able to sell the product if you are not able to.
  • Only hire a sales team if:
    • You have found an initial version of product-market fit (this means that a significant proportion of your paying customers are renewing their contracts).
    • You have figure out what you are selling and who you are selling to.

The structure of a sales team

  • Generating leads and closing deals are distinct functions that must be split.
  • Senior salespeople are expensive, so their time is best spent focusing on the most high-value activity: closing deals.
  • Ideal sales team structure:
    • Qualifiers - sales development reps: focus on generating leads.
    • Closers - account executives: focus on closing leads.
    • Farmers - customer success: focus on tending existing customers.

Lead generation

  • Predictable leads is the first step to achieve predictable revenue.

Marketing

  • Start by concentrating all of your efforts on the low-hanging fruit - the small customer segment that has a particular problem that your product solves 10x better than the competition.
  • Move on to the next customer segment only after you have the resources to do so.

Product market fit (PMF)

  • Designing a significantly better solution to your target customers’ problem than existing in the marketplace.
  • How do you know when you have achieved PMF?
    • Ask your customers. They will tell you by renewing their subscriptions, buying more product(s), etc.
  • B2B, PMF = long term contracts
  • B2C, PMF = second purchase, renewing subscription, sharing in social media.

Matt Mochary shares insights on developing his coaching method, understanding & overcoming primal fear, addressing imposter syndrome & more.

200 pages