In this episode
In episode #8, Michael Lopp (Rands) talks about the power of scheduling regular one-on-one meetings and asking clarifying questions to identify unengaged employees.
We also discuss the concept of Manager Readmes and how they can help you build more efficient and positive working relationships.
Michael is the author of Managing Humans, Being Geek, and The Art of Leadership. He has been writing for over 17 years, sharing his insights on management, culture, and technology through his blog, Rands in Response.
During his career, Michael has led rapidly growing teams at companies like Netscape, Pinterest, Slack, and Apple.
Tune in to hear Michael’s advice and best practices for other managers and leaders!
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The story behind Michael Lopp’s pen name (Rands).
Michael’s new book, “The Art of Leadership” – and how it compares to his previous book, “Managing Humans”.
Michael’s How to Rands guide – and why it’s important to create a “guide to working with me” or “Manager ReadMe”.
The importance of one-on-one meetings and focusing on topics of substance, not updates.
Should the one-on-one meeting cadence change depending on your direct report’s seniority or experience level?
“The Twinge”: asking clarifying questions and using your experience to detect disasters before they occur.
The power of silence (long pauses) in communication.
The purpose of weekly staff meetings and how to run them.
Bored people quit: how to identify unengaged employees and what to do about it.
Rands Leadership Slack: a community for managers and leaders.
Michael Lopp’s parting advice: pick two or three things that you want to get better at and practice consistently.
Aydin Mirzaee 2:08
Michael, welcome to the show.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 2:11
Good to be here. Thank you.
Aydin Mirzaee 2:13
Yeah, this is super awesome. We’ve been looking forward to chatting with you for a long time now. Glad that we finally had the chance to do it. And we were just talking about this, but I know that this is a question that a lot of people have, which is obviously you know, you’re Michael. But your pen name is Rands. So what should we call you during this podcast? What should I refer to you guys?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 2:35
It’s sort of up to you. The story there is Rands is the one unit name I use on the internet, and it’s actually my wife’s maiden name. So I picked it a million years ago when I was like logging into some system. I need a nickname blah blah and then here we are years later, and it’s sort of that name on the internet. But when people use it, I know they’re talking about me on the internet, which is interesting. Lopp is my last name. I don’t want to work for the last couple of gigs, just called me Lopp. Michael is my first name, when I hear it now I feel like I’m in trouble usually “Michael” like someone who knows me needs something. So it’s really up to you: Rands, slop, Michael, throw my name.
Aydin Mirzaee 3:15
Cool, I might just interchange between all of them.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 3:19
That’s what I did in the next book actually, I just kind of swapped between things. I had to explain in the beginning. I’m like, “by the way I kind of switch between things, hope that’s cool”.
Aydin Mirzaee 3:27
Yeah, actually since you brought up the book, obviously, actually there’s a bunch of things that we know you a lot about. And I do want to mention them here because I think they’re all just amazing resources. So obviously, you wrote the book Managing Humans, which you know, I think is incredible. It’s obviously very instructive, but it’s also very humorous and it’s actually entertaining to read. So that’s something that everybody should check out there. But you’re also working on I guess, a new book that’s coming out.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 4:00
Yeah, it’s all done actually. Literally in the last week, it’s starting to show up on Amazon. It’s called The Art of Leadership; Small Things,Done Well. And, yeah, I just finished it. And it was -publishing books is hard. It is like, no problem i have 30-40 chapters, but getting it out the door is done. And now it’s done and the marketing kind of kicks in over the course of the next couple weeks. We’ll see how it does.
Aydin Mirzaee 4:25
That’s amazing. And so what is the super high level sort of synopsis? And how does it compare to managing humans?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 4:33
Yeah, so this is the third book. Managing Humans, which is doing incredibly well, by the way, it was my first book, and I’m actually just signed a contract to do the fourth edition of it. And it kind of takes a stab at sort of distributed working and managing in time of crisis. But it is sort of the collection of human humorous stories that gave it this subtitle when I first did it. It’s called Managing Humans, you know, biting in humorous tales of an engineering manager or something like that, which I thought was super dumb. But it actually does describe it well, and you said it too, which is sort of stories, but it’s also sort of lessons inside of those stories.
And I think that’s one of the reasons it’s done well. Number one is, I think it’s approachable. And also, I just think keeping it up to date and the fourth edition is coming. It started in 2007. So it’s, it’s getting refreshed. But how is it different from Small Things, Done Well? it’s difference is that I really wanted to kind of debunk the myth of leadership as being this like, higher calling sort of inspired, certain kind of genetically relevant humans can do this thing and focus on just sort of the tactics of leadership. So Small Things,Done Well I found about 30 or so just really practical, small things that I think you should just do, like 1000 times in a row and it’s not because the thing itself is particularly inspired. It’s that the act of doing it 1000 times will actually teach you some really interesting things about yourself or your team, or reputation, or trust, or respect. So 30 things and in the same sort of tone as all the other Rands books as being sort of finding and whatnot, but I really just focused, I said “these are the 30 things”, and literally listed them at the beginning of the book. These are the small things. And I also kind of took a look, like sort of sips executive, you know, senior manager and manager and kind of chunk them a little bit to kind of have a different perspective around sort of the different small things.
Aydin Mirzaee 6:32
That’s awesome. I mean, I’m ordering it literally after we get off this call. But, so I remember in the original book, there was an 11 point test that you had put. So is it along the same lines, but just expanded and more broad and role specific?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 6:54
Not as much. There’s a couple that are like that, like there’s one in there which is sort of like a professional growth questionnaire for yourself. Am I growing right now? And sort of like ask yourself these questions. So there’s some like that. But there’s other ones where it’s just really, it’s really just simple. Like, what’s a good one? Read the room! Learn how to read the room, part of your job here isn’t just like reacting to what’s happening. It’s understanding who’s here, how they’re feeling. It’s like playing poker, right? And you’re like, what did I walk into here?. And learning how to do that, you’re not great at it immediately. Try it a couple of times, and see how it goes. And explain why that’s important. So it’s sort of a little bit more prescriptive about sort of the things to do, but again, not like, be a visionary or inspire the team, which sounds great, but it’s kind of vapid and hard to act on. And these are very smaller things which perhaps will get you there.
Aydin Mirzaee 7:50
Yeah, I love it. It’s almost like all the different things that if you were to break down someone who does it really well, and then just outlining them and yeah, that’s amazing.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 8:00
Yeah, I hope so. Let’s let’s see how it goes.
Aydin Mirzaee 8:03
Yeah, I’m excited to read it. You know, you’ve written about a lot of different topics. And one of the things that we’ve read about you is just your how to rands. I’d love for you to just tell the audience here, what kind of got you to write that? And how often do you update it? Like, how does it work? Do you recommend everybody do it? Is it just for managers? Is it for everybody?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 8:27
What it is basically, as I go through, and I kind of say, imagine if you were working for me on the first day, and you’re like: Who is this schmo? And like, what’s he about? And this is the “read me” if you want to think about that sort of thing. I really don’t actually recommend that as a way of doing it, but you’re capturing the things of who you are as a leader, both. You’re some of your quirks in sort of like, how you kind of run your day and kind of this reflective exercise of reflecting on who you are as a leader. So, there’s kind of two different use cases there.
Number one is, and I think this is 50% of the value of going to the exercise- is just taking that time to kind of reflect on the things that you care about as a leader, but also to kind of think about the things that kind of, you know, might be different than other people out there. An example like, my wife knows this incredibly well. I’m an ask-assertive, meaning that if you want something from me, you say, “Hey, Lopp, Rands, Michael, whatever your name is. Can you do that?” So I’m like, “Well, of course I can. No problem.” Now, if you do exactly the same thing with exactly the same tone using tell-assertiveness… “Michael do this”, I’m immediately mad at you. And that’s not about you. That’s just a weird thing I have about power. So like, I am ask-assertive. Literally, the way that you asked me to do something will change my tone about how I respond. Now, if you do tell me to do something I’m not gonna, like, jump up and start screaming or anything like, but I’m telling you in my head kind of what’s going on. And that’s just a small example. And there’s a bunch of things in there. Like, I’m just really, really, really big on being on time. And it’s a respect thing. When I’m having a meeting with folks, it’s not just about me, it’s about everyone else who’s there and that we’re getting things done. I’m big on meetings starting on time. And you should know that, person that works with me. So anyway, it was sort of that piece.
And then there’s the other piece, the piece of sort of reflecting on what you care about, which I think is important. And then there’s sort of having that there for others, for your team to kind of look at. I don’t think you should declare this is the way that it is. But I think it’s, we as humans can be opaque and in strange ways, I think it’s a good way to kind of get a temperature check of your boss. So yeah, it’s a good thing, right?
Aydin Mirzaee 11:11
Yeah. I mean, I love it for so many reasons. One is that, like you said, it’s the process of creating it. And sometimes you actually have to sit and ask yourself a bunch of different questions so that you can actually say “Yeah, I do like this, or I don’t like this”. The exercise is probably great. But it’s also, I assume that people will figure this stuff out. If they’re working with you for long enough. It’s just a short circuit, and you’ve always worked at such high growth companies that there’s just not enough time to.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 11:46
It is true, it’s really as a function of the rapid growth. Let’s just kind of circumvent these little learning browsers when they go on to the next month and just kind of go, this is how I work. And you asked another thing, which is how often I updated.. I take a look at it every quarter or so. But, I edited it. It’s in the book, the next book as well. I edited a bit, but it hasn’t changed a ton. Little small things have, but not substantive changes.
Aydin Mirzaee 12:12
I’m curious. In all your, I guess, years of leading teams, have you ever come across? Like, have you ever had someone on your team who is like “Oh, thanks for this guide. Actually, I have one too”.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 12:27
Um, I have seen managers at my prior company, they did it as well. And we shared them. So yeah, other folks have done it. And it was interesting. It was interesting to see and I see other people are doing it on the internet too. They’re interesting just to read sort of as a reflection of the person, and they do it in different ways. And they interpret the exercise in different ways. But it’s really I think it’s just interesting to kind of capture who you are as a leader.
Aydin Mirzaee 12:53
Yeah, definitely. One of the things that you talk about also in the guide is this kind of how important one-on-ones are to you? And you know, one of the things you obviously talked about is, you don’t want them to be just updates and you want things of substance, what is a topic of substance?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 13:15
Well, let’s talk about what it is not, which is things that I can figure out by going into the bug tracking system, or the confluence page or this sort of thing. And that’s sort of restating what you just said about like, I’m not gonna waste your time going and asking you things about, you know, how many bugs we have in this component, or this sort of thing. Now, I may look at that, get the data somewhere and say, hey, my spidey sense, topic of substance. My spidey sense is “with these many bugs, this many people on the team… I think we have a problem here. What do you think?” And we go “interesting”, and we have a discussion about it.
So it’s not about the status of the data. It’s about sort of the strategy around the thing. So I usually have two or three things going into any one-on-one of that nature, where we’re going to have a debate about something, a discussion about something. And if I don’t have anything and you don’t have anything, I have three more things that I just fall back on, and always good conversations: your growth, my current disaster because something’s always blowing up for me, let’s talk about that. It may not even be your team, right? It could be something else. So it’s those just high bandwidth conversations, strategic, not tactical, something where we can have a comment. And by the way, I get coaching, we get coaching out of this in both directions, we can learn things, right. So that’s the reason to do it. And like, I can’t imagine a more important regular meeting to have with my team on a weekly basis, because we have all the tactical meetings elsewhere and there’s these statuses and bla bla bla like, this is the time for us to actually grow every week like that. Sign me up.
Aydin Mirzaee 14:59
Yeah. And it’s interesting because you say every week does that. I mean, does that change at all depending on the seniority of the person on your team or how long you’ve been working with them?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 15:00
No, no. It’s more senior folks, brand new folks have things to talk about, very senior folks have things to talk about. The issue that people usually ask is like, well, What if I have a lot of direct reports? then you have a different problem, which is you don’t have time for your team, which that’s a whole other thing. My number is seven plus or minus three. If someone has more than 10 direct reports,I start worrying. I’m weighing who on the team is not suffering and you don’t know because you don’t have time. So if I start to get too many folks, and it’s impacting my calendar, I fix that. Go after that issue, as opposed to like, I got to go to a bi-weekly or monthly. I mean, there’s different folks outside of my immediate sphere of sort of where I work. I’ll have like monthly meetings and that sort of thing. But those are more sort of bridge building meetings across the org.
Aydin Mirzaee 16:05
Got it! What is the sort of balance of, I mean it sounds like -which is awesome- it sounds like you’re walking into all these things with a series of things that you’re going to probe on. And I mean, I love this concept you said that you look at a bug tracker. And then you know, make it draw a conclusion that it’s almost like your spidey sense. You talk about it in your book as well. The twinge. I’d love for you to explain the twinge, what is the twinge?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 16:39
It’s really, this is really abstract. It’s hard to answer the question. It’s another thing from the book, the most recent book, I call it ‘tasting the soup’. And this is sort of a benefit of doing leadership for a lot of years. Is that you kind of hear something and someone says something in your brain which is far smarter than you will view, goes and says “this smells wrong”. And by the way, I don’t know why. But it’s just that sort of twinge of like “hey, what does that mean?” And what I think is going on, and I’m not a brain person at all- is this amazing pattern matching thing that’s going on in your brain. Is throwing this exception when this thing gets said, which is by the way, we’ve seen this scenario 217 times. And in this scenario when this was said, this blows up in this way.
And that’s your brain kind of like throwing and sometimes it’s just like, oh clarify this thing and it’s fine. But sometimes you’re like, wait, there is something here and I want to drill into this. It’s sort of honoring that ability of your brain to have intuition and to sort of have those inspiration about us in a scenario. I think there’s a lot, it’s one of the reasons that the one-on-ones and other things, I learned this from a prior boss. Anytime that something doesn’t seem right to me, whether it’s like super wrong or kind of wrong, I always ask clarifying questions. I’m just trying to probe and kind of get a sense of what’s going on, not in sort of a micromanaging way, just sort of seeking clarity. So right away, that was a long answer.
Aydin Mirzaee 18:21
Yeah, no, that’s a great answer. And it may sound like a small thing, but I think it’s actually super important because I think the concept is you actually have to get really good at detecting when the twinge arrives. Because, you know, a lot of times something might have felt long but you didn’t say anything. And then like, you’ll make that mistake a few times, but then you’re like “Oh, no, I have that subtle feeling like no, it’s actually my job to say something”, especially in a one-on-one, maybe it’s slightly easier because it’s you on one person. But often, you know, in larger contacts you might have to stop the train.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 19:03
Yeah, my other move there that’s related to that is when I kind of get the twinge, is you say something and I’m like uumh, and I don’t have a question, but I want to make sure that the way that I heard it was correct. So I say, “what I heard you say is this, and I repeat what you said”, and I don’t know, seven out of 10 times, like, yeah, you’re right. And three out of 10 times, they’re like “That’s not at all what I said”, you know. Oh, great. Okay, cool. Let’s, let’s talk about that. So it feels kind of douchey in a little bit just because you sort of have it in this meeting, and you sort of doing this sort of spot checking. But as a senior leader, that’s part of your gig, you’re just sitting there looking kind of at this broad set of data, trying to find where the errors and potential errors or emerging fires are.
Aydin Mirzaee 19:49
Yeah, and actually so speaking, I mean, I love that. And speaking of other tactics and things and you also have the long pause, as part of your tactical suite there. How does that work?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 20:06
Um, I talked about it, I do a podcast as well. I called it “The Important Things” and it’s just me and a friend talking. But we talked about it there. There’s this movie called Eddie and the cruisers, you probably have never heard of it. Have you heard? No, I have not. Anyway, it’s like this, I don’t know, this musician in this movie, doesn’t matter what the movie is about. And he’s talking about writing poetry. And I swear to God, this is related to your question. And there’s a power that you as the speaker or the writer have to kind of control the flow of the conversation. And… when I pause…it changes everything. Like I just did it there right and you are like it’s everything okay? Did it freeze? And people listening to you are going like why is he?
But it’s this way to, in a world full of talking all the time, it’s this way to kind of grab the conversation, grab the narrative, and kind of change it. And I learned this a lot. I learned this from Eddie and the cruisers. I learned this from a lot of writing, and a lot of leading it, and a lot of speaking as well. It’s a really good way to kind of grab your audience and make sure you are “you listening to this right now? Because what I’m saying is important.” Not in a douchey way, by the way, anybody can kind of kind of frame the way that you’re talking.
Aydin Mirzaee 21:31
I yeah, I love it. I think everybody should use that in their upcoming one-on-one to see how many seconds you can go until someone says something.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 21:42
Well you don’t do it in a mean way. I had a boss who started ramped you was like, give me these long pauses and then eventually figured out that he was like pre compiling everything he was saying in his head to me, and he just had to do that for a while and he used to drive me crazy and I thought it was hard, you know, he was just like, getting off sort of in his head, but it could be a power trip too and then like, screw that.
Aydin Mirzaee 22:05
So, you know, basically strengthen the twinge, the detection, the long pauses, love it great tactical stuff. Let’s talk about staff meetings. So everybody, well, everybody should have staff meetings. I’m just curious, you know, from all the years that you’ve been doing this, what is the right cadence for it? What gets said like, what’s the template? What do you want to talk about during those things?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 22:37
Yeah, um, I mean, let’s talk about the core reason for it. Part of your job as a leader is sort of setting the cadence of things in the org, like, how are we moving along, and whether that’s, you know, long software development cycles or continuous integration, continuous development cycles, whatever. Different companies do it in different ways. But for me, I kind of follow a weekly cadence. So like, “this is what we’re going to do this week”. And even whether that’s long term, whether that’s with long operating system cycles, or really short sort of slack, you know, we release every single day. So I kind of look at the week as sort of a, a unit of work, if you will.
And the staff meeting is there to kind of set the stage for what is happening this week that matters. And it’s, you know, that’s why it’s there. It’s early in the week, because you want to set the tone like “this is a planning week and we’re doing X, Y and Z. Or this is a bug fixing week we’re doing a B and C.” So that’s why it needs to exist but back to the one-on-one religion I have, a staff meeting is not status as well. We’re as a team, we’re talking about “Okay, cool. Planning is happening. What are the big things? What do we know? Who’s worried about what? Who’s political? What’s going on? How do we debug this?” So that’s that. But it’s also just like one-on-ones too. It’s an opportunity for anyone on the team to kind of throw down and say “I’d love to talk about this”. So I published my agenda in a collaborative documents solution. And I put the things I want in, and anyone else can add anything that they want as well. So it’s just an opportunity for other folks to kind of throw things on the list. It’s about an hour. If we don’t fill it, okay, we get some time back, no problem, generally it gets filled. And generally, right next to the one-on-one, to me is sort of the most important meeting of the week because this is us, the leadership team kind of breaking bread together and talking and working on things. So, that’s the recurrence of it. That’s the agenda for it. And that’s part of the purpose.
Aydin Mirzaee 24:40
I’m curious how much in advance you actually send this out, the agenda to the team? And also is there any regularity in terms of you know, you want this person to talk about this or is there like a forest almost like, “yeah, you actually have to come to this meeting with something for like this section of the meeting”, or is it like very much free flow, and anybody can talk about anything?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 25:06
It’s the ladder, mostly. The agenda is reverse linearity. So it’s a stock that has everything in it from the beginning of time. And anyone can add anything at any point. Also, I was previously the VP of Engineering at Slack. So there’s a Slack channel. So people always talk in the staff Slack channel, we’re talking about things. There’s the pin to that thing in there. So we kind of get a sense of things that need to be talked about. And there’s definitely a case where someone is going to say, cool. “Julia, can you come in and talk about XY and Z this next week”, so that’ll happen but we are generally sticking to the agenda. There can be and it’s totally cool if we kind of go off script and we’re talking about something else. But the agenda is generally the thing there because I want to set expectations for folks. I have been in that staff meeting you probably have been in well with a boss who just likes to talk and like: “Cool you really like talking. I’ve already heard this because you’ve said the same thing to me in your one-on-one.” This is not useful. I’m not getting anything out of this. I want to respect it when it’s time, make it clear a contract, if you will, like what are we going to do here? So it can be some yellow there, but it’s mostly on the agenda.
Aydin Mirzaee 26:18
Got it. You know, switching gears for a second, wanted to talk about something that you probably also reference in your one-on-ones. But you know, we’ve heard you say that bored people quit. So I think for any manager, this concept of someone quitting is probably always scary. Yeah, I’m just curious, how do you detect the bored person and what do you do about it?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 26:50
The title of that article, that article did amazingly well. The title till the last second was, I don’t even know what it was. It was something really just like poetic, and then it became that and it’s literally one of the top three articles I’ve ever written. Because it’s just like, you get the entire article in three words. Anyway. sidebar…
Aydin Mirzaee 27:11
That also makes the best business books. It’s like, you don’t need to read the book, just read the title.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 27:18
The thing that I have detected, you asked, like, how do you detect it? It’s very obvious to me when someone’s bored. And this is after you know the person, you don’t know right out of the gate. But, it’s any sort of change to behavior. You know what engaged Frank looks like, you know what he’s when he’s doing his thing. And anytime that I sent sort of a change in Frank’s productivity, by the way, it could be something totally normal. It could just be something at home, it could be whatever, but it could also be that Frank has now explored this problem space enough. He understands how it works. Frank has a short attention span. So I asked and said go train the guy, I noticed this data, no big deal. I don’t know what they’re doing. And I’m listening, I’m listening about what is the answer? And if the answer is anything around ‘it’s not that interesting’. It’s just sharing contacts with me. If I’ll detect that he’s, there’s some boredom there. I go into red alert mode. I move into a mode that, I don’t tell him this by the way, but I move it because that moment of boredom to him is just sort of a piece of boredom because that Wednesday was kind of dull. But the larger thing there if I don’t do something over the next couple of weeks, that little seed of boredom turning then you’re like, “Oh, well, so and so gave me a call and they want me to work on this thing over here”.
This is another article, their shields are down and they certainly were kind of bored. So “Let’s see what else is out there, right?” So I move into “cool, Frank, you’re off this, you’re onto this other thing, or here’s this huge thing that’s scary that I know you wanted to do”. I mean, it’s not like I drop everything and pivot the entire team, but it’s, they usually tell you and the question is, do you hear them? And do you actually act, right? We’re so busy as leaders, and it just bugs me when you reflect back and be like “Oh, yeah. He told me, he told me like six months ago, and I put a little note on my to do and I never did anything about it”. That’s on me as his leader as a person who is responsible for his growth. So you just act quickly, but it’s listening. And it’s almost again, once you really start listening, they always tell you, they always tell you, maybe not in the words of boredom or anything but they tell you in some way.
Aydin Mirzaee 29:52
Yeah, I love that. I mean, just another thing I think all of us probably subtly do, but because it’s so subtle, you might miss it. And like you said, it starts as a seed. And then it grows.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 30:01
Oh, and by the way, the fact that he chose this hypothetical Frank, is sort of this act of trust like “hey boss, you know, I am kind of bored of this thing”. And it’s telling you because you’re shooting the breeze with them, right. But they told you and you asked, by the way, three leadership points: you addressed something before it turned into a disaster. Which is part of the heart. A lot of my job is fire prevention. You don’t get a lot of accolades when things don’t blow up.
Aydin Mirzaee 30:34
Yeah, definitely. I mean, that’s an interesting one. Yes. My team is still there. They grew.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 30:42
Aydin Mirzaee 30:45
Yeah. So you know, you have a lot of, I mean, there’s so many great things that you’ve put out there onto the internet and into bookstores everywhere. Another thing that I really wanted to mention because I think it’s super useful for all managers and leaders out there is just your, your the slack that you’ve created for everyone there. So that’s something that you continue to run even though you have now left slack.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 31:13
Yeah, there’s about 13,000 people there. Those aren’t all active, but the game that I play with myself on that slack is, I think, “Hmm, I wonder if this channel exists”. and nine times out of 10, the channel already exists, and there’s usually 100 plus people out there. It’s just really vibrant community of leaders and I love to say like, I mean, yes, I created the space for it, but it’s it’s 99.9% the responsibility of all the people there their community that is teaching each other, asking each other questions, asking me all these things that I wish I could have asked when I was a first time manager. So yeah, it’s there. And if people are interested, just type in ‘Rands Leadership Slack’ on the Internet and it’ll be really obvious how to get in.
Aydin Mirzaee 32:02
Yeah, that’s something that we highly, highly recommend. I mean, 13,000 members, and you know, I can attest that the community is very strong. You have questions people will respond, chances are your question has actually been asked before, so you can really look up things like that. It’s awesome. Thank you for obviously creating that and moderating it. You know, for people on the journey of just getting better at managing teams and leadership. What, other than obviously, read your books and join the slack. What else do you think that people can do or something that maybe you do now that you wish you would have started doing?
Michael Lopp (Rands) 32:45
Yeah, earlier -this sounds like I’m selling the most recent book- but it is front of mind for me. I think my advice is, go pick two or three things that you want to work on small things, if you will. And again, I’ll say this again: do them a 1000 times. This is something I wrestled with in writing the book is like “am I talking about like seven effective habits, not talking about habits?” I’m not talking about doing it repetitively because this is how you know to do it. Yes, that’s important. But the important part of let’s say, regular one-on-ones is not that information is conveyed, but it’s about you being consistent as a leader that they can trust that meetings are always going to happen. And that they understand that that is a meeting where like, meaningful things are going to be discussed, like what is more important than trust and respect and all directions on a team, and a one-on-one over time will like show to your team that you care about that.
So the meeting is not.. the meeting is important? Yes, the meeting 1000 times in a row is super important because you’re gonna learn all of these interesting things about how people communicate and reliability, blah, blah, blah. So I’m picking on one-on-ones, because that’s kind of my thing. But what are those two or three things that you think are important? Tactically, perhaps, as a leader, you should do? Great. Go do it 100 times in a row, like, go try it 100 times, but get started meetings on time. Great. This is how I do it. It’s really awkward. I tell you, by the way, I’m really a kind of a stickler for meetings starting on time. So five o’clock, sorry, four o’clock, my meeting starts. Seven people are supposed to be there. There’s two people there. I start the meeting. The two people are like, “Whoa, where are the other five, four or five people, that need to be here?”. And I’m like, we’re just gonna start. And we start and the other people show up because they’re running late because of blah, blah, blah reason. They don’t show up late next time. And everyone understands that we’re going to be respectful to all of everybody here about starting on time. And it’s not about starting time. It’s about trust and respect and efficiency and team health and all these other things. So what are those small things you want to work on? whatever they are, and do them a lot That’s actually the hard part. And it’s not the repetition. It’s the learning from the repetition.
Aydin Mirzaee 35:05
Yeah, deliberate practice versus like just being over the place. I love it. And that’s probably a great place for us to end it.
Rands, thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Michael Lopp (Rands) 35:17
Appreciate it. Thank you so much.