Teams who share personal stories are more effective

From the department of “Captain Obvious”, this article in HBR makes the case that teams who share about their lives are stronger for it. Of course they are. How many times have you made that first impression judgement of a person, only to later revise your opinion when you learned more about the person? Sharing our lives allows us to see how our teammates are the same as us, to see where we have shared experiences. This results in increased empathy. Hearing about the details of our coworkers outside of the office also helps us better understand our differences. Both…

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Employee benefits at Basecamp

Interesting insight into what Basecamp offers their employees. If you’ve worked for a SaaS company or are familiar with the industry, a lot of the benefits have become common. Free equipment, on-premise snacks and drinks, perhaps a gym allowance, in-house massages. All the books from Amazon you can ask for. Shares! What’s clear in this article is that Basecamp offers quite a few more benefits than many established SaaS companies do. It’s certainly more than most startups. I’ve had the blessing of working for three SaaS companies, two of which come close to what’s listed…

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Why startups should train their people

Ben Horowitz talks about both the importance of training your team and how to set up a training plan. This is such a vital part of building an effective team, yet it blows the mind to see how little thought many companies put into it. Big and small. Ben nails it: Almost everyone who builds a technology company knows that people are the most important asset.And: Training is, quite simply, one of the highest-leverage activities a manager can perform.Well said. Who should be doing this training? The leaders (aka managers) on the team. How can new team members…

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The ideal relationship between you and your boss

Such a good topic to consider. If you’re running a company and you want employees to believe yours is the best they’ve ever worked for, how will you make that a reality? If you’re hoping perks are the answer … I strongly believe you hire people for who they can be, not who they are. This should permeate your thinking as you write job postings, review applicants, and talk with potential (and current) employees. It’s not enough to offer unlimited books or conference budgets, massages and an in house chef. A team leader will empower her/his…

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The importance of the 1-on-1

Josh Pigford shares his thoughts and experiences with having a 1-on-1 with each of his team members. The takeaway? They're vital, especially with remote teams. From my own experience, I can echo the sentiment. I've been on amazing teams where the 1-on-1's were hit and miss. Sometimes we'd have them, other times not. My manager would often let the employee choose to skip the meeting if they felt there was nothing to discuss. That's a huge mistake as it shows that, as a leader, you have plenty of other things to be doing and you do not highly value the…

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Face to face

As mentioned last week, the Campaign Monitor team got together recently for our annual meet up. As the team grows, having a meet up like this becomes increasingly expensive, both financially and administratively. It's also absolutely vital. Although we live in an incredible time from a technological perspective, there is still no replacement for face to face discussion. Full on interaction between two (or more) human beings requires being present in the same physical space. So while having remote positions allows you to hire the best people regardless of location, being able to get the best work from those people…

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On the court

During my high school and college years, I learned quickly that there were kids who were much better basketball players that I was. Playing with them was often an exercise in humility and frustration. And I took every chance I could to make sure I was included in the games with people better than me. Why? Because it made me a better player. And fast. Although our nature can be to run from situations like this, we can all learn to relish them as well. The moments of frustration are the catalyst to improvement. And while humility is a trait…

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