🚀 Breathe.



“You have to take care of the people. That's the culture that you have to instill in the company. The most important resource in the company is your people and if you take good care of them, the rest will work.”

In this episode

In episode #64, Eli Fathi shares why every team should be structured and what an unstructured team looks like. 

Eli Fathi is a passionate leader with over 43 years of experience in companies including Telexis, OrbitIQ, Fluidware, Mindbridge. 

In this episode, Eli explains the difference between leading with carrots versus leading with sticks and why leaders should eat last.

We also talk about Eli’s leadership style of leading from the front and what it means to have an ‘eyes on, hands off’ approach to managing.

Tune in to hear all about Eli’s impressive entrepreneurship career that has led him to co-found seven startups.

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


Structured communication


Leading from the front


Pointing out and hiding mistakes


Leading with carrots or sticks


Mirroring through mentorship


The value of your company is your people



Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  00:00

 Eli, welcome to the show.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  00:01

 Thank you. It’s pleasure to be on your show. 

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  00:06

Yeah, I you know, I’ve obviously been wanting to do this for a long time, I think we’re just over 60 episodes. So this is gonna be really fun for me. And particularly because you and I, we co-founded a company together, we worked together for I think, seven or eight years and we’ve known each other for probably close to 20. Now, so it’s been a while. But, you know, besides that you’ve also had a super extensive leadership career. How many startups have you? Have you been at seven, you know, obviously Telexis Orbit IQ, Fluidware which we did together, then Mindbridge, and then you’ve also been, you know, advisor and mentor to countless leaders, all across tech companies. So why don’t we kick things off by asking about like really rewinding and going back and asking you in your career and again, you’ve been CEO or founder at you know, most of these companies, but even before then, you know, you have reported to other leaders or other managers in your career? And I just wanted to ask, like, Was there anyone in particular that you have memories of and that you thought was a particularly good leader? Absolutely.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  04:23

In this case, it was the president of NewPages. His name was Peter Sommer, and I had the luxury and privilege to actually be with two of them. Since we were a Newbridge affiliate, telexes or became mesh networks. We were Newbridge affiliates. If I remember both of these, President, one was x and the other one joins Peter Charbonneau. So we both were Peters and there are amazing leaders in and each one was differently and what they really I found that mentoring was something that I can always remember in one case, I would sit with, with them an hour once every couple of weeks and, or a month or so, and have a muffin and ask questions, but they were so structured like these are summer is an amazing individual. His mine is very analytic. I believe he was a Ph.D. or but it will scientific in everything that is done was well structured, and what he taught me about the importance of structure. So that’s what I learned from Peter a lot, it was to make sure that whatever you do is well defined, well structured, well organized, and everything will follow from that. So have the plan, plan, you know, if you plan to dive, dive the plan, right you have, you have to follow you know, when you go dive in, you have to prepare the plan, and then you dive the plan. So you make sure that you follow what you have done. So that was one. The other Peter, it was a different way. And I will talk to him before every board meeting and whenever I needed. And what he provided was his method of teaching me that was amazing, rather than telling me and I learned that as a mentor, he taught me, you are a window, you are a mirror to the other person. Because if you tell your mentee what to do and what the answer is, you never really get to as a mentee to learn how to do it. And Peter had an amazing knack of telling me asking questions, probing questions. And then let me come up with the answers. And that was amazing. So I learned from two different mentors and two different aspects.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  06:49

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So from the first Peter was around having structured conversations, and from the Second Peter, not, you know, basically answering questions right away, but helping the other person figure out the answer themselves, I guess. So if we were to talk about, you know, sort of the management mistakes that you may have made early on in your career, what something that you remember, maybe you, you know, you used to do, but then you do less of today,

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  07:15

You have diversity on a team, every team that you have, when you go beyond two, and you go to three, you are starting to have the number of communication permutation become very large and a small team, generally, you look at development, you’ll have 6 7 8, and so on. So when you have so many people in a team, communication becomes extremely important, both oral as well as written, the mistake that I had early on, not recognizing that within a team, you have a couple of issues. One, not everybody thinks the same way. So you have some more communicative people, some people that like to communicate less. And what was important to maintain now that I learned is that you have to going back to the structured plan, the dive to plan, that you have a structure both orally and written, where the information is shared among the members of the team. And up, you know, the poll to the manager has to be well structured and well documented. So everybody shares the same information. What happens when you have a lack of a structure of information that is well defined, some people over-communicate, some people don’t communicate as much. And it’s not shared among the team. So the uniformity of the information is much more fragmented. And as a result, not everybody’s exactly on the same page. So looking back, what we need is a product like you have right now that enables people to have a well-defined structure. It’s well-defined what everyone is receiving, and what everybody is providing. So it is very uniform.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  09:15

What do conversations look like if they’re, they’re not structured?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  09:19

It’s the person that has the biggest voice, then to rule. And what happened is you as a manager your role is to enable everyone to learn in. But again, if somebody just is not communicative, and we know people that just are loners, they don’t like to speak a lot, as somebody that likes to talk a lot. And what happened is, it’s always that this person that talks the most dominates the conversation, so it’s not uniform. The key is uniform. You want everybody to have the same level of information. And not just part of the information. And this is, I would say the most important to maintain a healthy team about spirits, culture, and morale. Because if everybody knows the same amount of information, they are much more productive. 

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  10:16

You are right that some people talk more others talk glass. And in particular, now that we’re all doing a lot of remote communication, I feel like it’s even harder than ever for people to elbow their way into a conversation. So I do think that makes a huge difference. One thing that I was going to ask you about, so we talked about communication, one of the things that I wanted to ask is, you know, having been, you know, spending a decade, many decades, you know, leading teams, how would you describe your management style today?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  10:54

Leading from the front, always lead from the front, I never asked anybody to do anything that I will not do. So if, if I have to click to make coffee, if I have to, you know, generally, as you get up the ladder, you, you do things that are more equally sophisticated, and less of the day-to-day routine, you don’t do. But to me, it was very important to lead from the front. Lead by example, if you have the policy to follow, let’s say in terms of travel, you don’t travel first class, and the person with you is traveling, casual class, and so on. So follow in a set example, that whatever you do, everybody’s equal in the company doesn’t matter the rank that you have. Because if you’re going to be successful, everybody has to feel that they are contributing, but also the same contributing the same. Yes, I tell him, you do a different job than I do. And everybody in the company does a different job. However, what you have to do at the end of the day, your value is as important as anybody else’s value. Because wheel cannot run if the small cog doesn’t, and doesn’t work. So everybody has to put the same effort and be recognized. And this is important. not allow the manager but realize you need the recognition. People love the recognition. And you have to show them that you recognize and you respect what they do, no matter if they’re the receptionist or the CTO, you want to give them the same respect in terms of time talking to them, supporting them, and recognizing them.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  12:41

Yeah, I think those are, those are super valuable points. You’re right like everybody does do a different job. But everybody is still contributing very equally. And I think that says a lot about your leadership style. Another thing that I’ve heard you say is eyes on hands-off at the for you to elaborate on what that means and how you put it into practice.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  13:05

As you grow a company, you know, you do a lot of the activities at the beginning yourself. And clearly, you tend to be better at it than the person at least at the early stages. When it is fairly superficial. You tend to do multiple tasks, and you know it better than anybody else. As time progresses, you have to release the basic release of some of this responsibility and provide the person with more opportunity to shine themselves. And what I find, if you give them the rope and you give them you want to set some guardrails. But if you in general padding said that gives the person the opportunity to show them what you want to get and let them show you how well they can implement it. Rather than always micromanage and tell them what to do. You want to let them come up with ideas. And obviously, they can come back to you and ask questions. But being on the back all the time and micromanagement is not going to be a recipe for growth for this individual as well as for the company you need to my philosophy is whatever you can down, send downwards delegate, you have so many other things on top that have to be done. If the person that is willing to take more activity provided until they throw their arms say, Uncle, I cannot take it anymore. Throw as much as you want into them and let them run with it. You’ll be surprised

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  14:45

It is a very interesting topic. It is something that a lot of first-time managers and it does take quite a while to get used to this concept of delegate you know as much as you can. Why do you think this is difficult? For people to do. And I also assume that when you’re saying eyes on, hands-off, the idea is that you’re measuring or you’re kind of monitoring the results more through metrics, then, like checking individual decisions, people are making.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  15:15

100%. You want to measure your setup up, goals, milestones, and you want to measure them, based on me very much quantal, quantitative, if you can, in some qualitative. So meeting this results in milestones, these are the guardrails that you set. And you want to make small mistakes, you want to allow them to make small mistakes, not big mistakes, and measure these results in milestones. If you don’t do it, you’re never going to allow them to succeed, they have to be able to do some small mistakes at the time before they can grow. And that’s the only way that you can let somebody else move up the ladder in terms of capabilities. But it’s very difficult to delegate for many people. Because you know how to do it how many times you said, eight, and you and I were talking about individually, I said, I wish he can do as well as I do it, right? Each one of us seeing that on a certain task that we know better, we can do it better. So it’s very difficult. On the one hand, when someone is growing into it, to say he or she is good. And in this case, then when there are people that are superior certain tasks, especially at the specialist, when you move from a general-purpose to special purpose people, definitely a special purpose will be a lot more sophisticated than the general purpose. Because when you grow a company, you do a lot of general-purpose activities. But this ability to say you know what this person knows better than I am, and you have to accept it. That’s a big step for many managers to agree to.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  17:06

SoI think that that makes a lot of sense. I guess the question is, like, if you see someone making a mistake, how often do you correct them?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  17:16

You point the mistake to them, and you want to find out why they made the mistake, right? So they have to learn from it. Doing the mistake once is fine, a small mistake, doing a mistake twice. And you know, say, lie to me once shame on me. Hold on, you allow me to twice shame on me. So the same thing with a mistake, you have to let them do the mistake. Once you don’t want them to repeat that mistake and growth without no from it, they have to learn. So you have to do post mortem and say, why was that mistake made? And what can we learn from it, and not in a negative way, you have to allow them to make mistakes? No, you have to remember that you made mistakes as you grew up through the ranks, you make mistakes, it’s normal to make mistakes. And if you just scream at them, and tell them, you know, the wrong things, they’re never going to learn there’ll be more scared. And the next time there’ll bet they’ll make that one not only the neck mistakes, but they will also try to hide them, which is bad.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  18:23

Trying to figure out the balance of you know, when someone is taking on something new even if it’s not a mistake, you know, you’re probably used to things being done differently. My question is like, is there a threshold of which you don’t necessarily want to correct everything, because not all things are mistakes, but maybe they’re doing things differently, I just go back to that phrase that you use, which is you have to let them make their own mistakes. And I guess it’s the balance of like, how do you figure out like when you should intervene? And when you should? And is there some sort of, I guess, like the rule of thumb that you use of figuring out like when you should intervene and when you should just let them make some mistakes.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  19:07

You look at the degree of mistakes in terms of the impact on the company, if you make a mistake, and its impact, let’s say you have on a personal level. It’s a mistake of how you treat your colleague that that could become a long-term effect, right. So if the long term effect, if the mistake has a long term and potentially long term effect, you want to correct it right then and then if on the other end, when you assess the mistake and it is a mistake that no harm done. Everything is okay. The company is not in jeopardy. The other individual in the company is not in trouble and it’s a correctable mess. Stick that recognizable and corrected, you just let it go. 

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  20:05

Not everything indeed has the same impact or level of results. And sometimes it does make sense to see what the potential outcome is and then use that to figure out you know how often you should be correcting things. Because, if you go too far in the correcting zone, then you can also be a micromanager. And the whole point of where we started was eyes on hands-off. [AD BREAK BEGINGS] Hey there before moving to the next part of the interview, quick interjection to tell you about one of the internet’s best kept secrets, the manager TLDR newsletter. So every two weeks, we read the best content out there, the greatest articles, the advice, the case studies, whatever the latest and greatest is, we summarize it, and we send it to your inbox, we know you don’t have the time to read everything. But because we’re doing the work, we’ll summarize it and send it to your inbox once every two weeks. And the best news is completely free. So go on over to fellow dot app slash newsletter, and sign up today. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview. [AD BREAK ENDS] One other thing, I mean, again, talking about your leadership style, and something that I know from you from experiences, when it comes to leading with sticks versus carrots, do you tend to lead with carrots or sticks yourself?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  21:32

My approach was always to lead with carrots. People are smart, they’re intelligent and deserve respect. And my position is very simple. If you explain to people what you want to do, if they’re buying already, if they join your company, and you’re buying into the vision, you don’t have to anymore, hit them on the head, to make them do the things they have to believe they believe in it already, you’re already past that stage of the belief they bought into the vision, and they’re willing to do the work to make it happen. So adding sticks on top of it and scaring people makes no sense to me, what you want to do is encouragement, you want to give them recognition, you want to give them understanding, you want to give them all the tools. So their ability to follow you is all embedded in their belief that what we are doing as a company, the vision, the product, the market, is what it’s all about. And we believe in it. And therefore, there is no need for sticks whatsoever. The minute, if you I have a saying that says if you have the power and you if you use it, you don’t have the power. Simple as that. If you have the power, and you have to use it, you don’t have it at all. And this is why if you look at the navy seals, they’ll tell you, you don’t need to know they don’t have ranking on the closing. But you know who the leader is, if you need to use to show it by via rank, then you lost everything. So they don’t have the power. And that’s why to me recognition. And giving them the carrot is the only way that you can succeed, although we know a lot of companies, and some multinational that the leadership is with the six but I believe in, either way, I believe that the right way is is with this, honey, we can catch up more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  23:44

I like that. I mean, I like this phrase that if you have the power, but you have to use it, then you don’t have the power. You know, I want to tie this back to the one we were talking about eyes on. And hands-off. So presumably, you know, part of this is you come up with you know, the targets and the goals, shared goals, hopefully, like you’re coming up with those coming up with the goals with the other person. So let’s dive into an example. Say that, you know, it’s a sales leader you have within the organization, you come up with company sales goals, you presumably lead with a carrot and encouragement and everything else to try and achieve the targets. But if you miss the targets, how do you balance the I guess the proverbial stick here with accountability? Like how do you continue to lead with a carrot but also make sure that there is accountability?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  24:42

It’s a very good question. So number one in a company, the CEO is the buck stop with the seal. If the numbers are not being met, then it’s still the CEO function. Yes, the CRR is their VP of sales is there. But it with all, it takes all parts of the company to make product sell, including marketing, including the product development team, including, you know, the support and including the salespeople. So what do you have to do is analyze first of all before you, obviously, at some point in time you have a stick for lack of performance and accountability. But you have to analyze why the sale has not been taking place, why the targets have not been met. And you can’t have a revolving door when you can just let people go all the time. But without finding the cause the root cause of the delay, in meeting the numbers, you really will not do service to anybody, including yourself, it may be that the person is amazingly good. But there is no product-market fit or the market is not ready, or it’s not the wrong time of the year, or you know this for the sales cycle. So you have to get the root cause of what’s going on. And yes, if the root cause, if everything else, check, or write. And obviously, you don’t want to wait to the last day of the quarter or the last day of the year, you want to do it on intermediate steps, and find out and once you realize if everything else on from the perspective of the company is correct, that it’s the person. But if everything else, or some other elements are not there, changing the person may not fix everything.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  26:40

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. So I guess if you’re thinking about things from you know, using a stick as the motivator, it partially assumes that you know, the person is not doing a good job. But if you’ve done a, you know, the right job at finding the right person for the work, and if the goals are still not being met, it could be something systematic or something that you as the CEO or the senior manager, have overlooked. And that makes a lot of sense. And I think it points to spending the time to come up with the right goals and evaluating all the things in the system and not just the people. One other thing that I think is, is relevant to this, this carrot and stick idea is just on employee productivity, you’ve had me you’ve written a lot about the performance effort matrix, I’d love for you to explain what that is, and how you look at employee productivity. In general,

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  27:48

When we’re dealing in today’s obviously, in the last 10, 15 years with all the tools that are available. You have Slack, you have a phone, you have text, you have email, and a variety of other social media, Twitter, and so on Facebook, Linked In, and so on. So you have a lot of interruptions during the day. And time management becomes really important from that perspective of how you do it. And the notion of touch once is really important if you have the data you want to touch once. So when you look at the productivity, when in this is as a manager, when you look at the subordinate and you look at the how the person is functioning, in my mind, like what I like to say is that there is effort versus results. And you know, and I use the example you can go fishing for four hours or you caught two fish. And from a productivity perspective, you must identify the following I want the results. I don’t necessarily want the effort doesn’t mean that I cannot measure effort, I can only measure results. And from that perspective, what you want to have the ability for an individual to show them time management and again going back to a structured way add a tool that gives them a structure information exchange, which very structures some again similar to the tool that you have is very powerful because it gives them this ability to structure what they are doing and for the manager to identify if the productivity is there or is lacking

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  29:40

Yeah, so I guess how do you reconcile that with your the seniority of the person so for example, you know, I’ve always thought of it as you know, then it becomes easier to be very results-oriented, the more senior person is within the world. organization. But then, you know, for example, if it’s an intern and they’re just starting, it’s their first job, it’s kind of it becomes a little bit more difficult to be results-oriented. And so maybe it’s a little bit more effort-oriented. So wondering what you think about that. But also, there’s this famous saying of it’s, it’s sometimes hard to predict results. So what you can do is you can, you can kind of measure the inputs and make sure that all the right inputs are going in. So almost not measuring by output, but measuring by input. I wonder what, what do you think about that?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  30:39

I’ll use an example of the call center. So take Apple, right, when you go to the Apple Store, right, you have the people coming and helping you in any way, and there is no time on the clock. But you know that there are many call centers, that’s you have a time limit, and you have to maintain certain productivity. And, when you are rushing at a certain time, some customers need longer, some customers needless effort. And but these are the two bookends, right? You can have one hand that you have to have 10 customers an hour. And the case of other cases just gives me the results. And I’ll worry about it. So they in terms of seniority, it’s really important that you teach people as they come to the company from day one, that the only way to measure themselves, is themselves how do you know that you are successful in your career? You know, I set goals for yourself, and I have a whole blog on that. You have to set goals for yourself. Because how do you know that you have reached your goal on a personal level professionally if you don’t know the goals, so the same thing applies to activities in the companies, you you, if you don’t set it up in some level. And, to help the younger in terms of effort experience the person has, the more senior the person has to help this young, less experienced people to teach them the right way, and help them to see intermediate goals. So they can achieve them. And you don’t want gold it’s unrealistic. You know, if the person just joined as an intern, and ask them to do things that will take in a month in a week, it’s not necessarily a good way of teaching them how to plan. But it’s all about planning.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  32:46

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. You have focused a lot on coaching and helping a lot of people both within your companies and also people outside of the company have you served as a mentor for a lot of people. One thing that I know about you which is always super fascinating is you always have people decades later, years later, you know, coming to you and sending you that random message out of the blue thanking you for you know, basically helping them in a very meaningful material way. But also you tend to keep in touch with so many people, and even long after you you’ve tended to work with them, these people still come back to you. And you’re this trusted adviser to them that that’s not super typical. I feel like a lot of managers and leaders, switched jobs, different contexts. How is it that you have been able to kind of foster that kind of relationship with so many people that have worked at your companies,

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  33:50

I remember my first job, and somebody helped me to navigate through the mazes of the job. And I committed myself that I will do the same thing to other people. And this is really what got me to this level to level to the degree that I will continue to support people. And generally, I may run out of time, and that’s why I used to work 14 hour days, I will take them and I’ll get random people and people that I know. But if somebody called me and said I need help. I always give them the time. It was a level that I use the evenings and nights and weekends to do that. And I feel that the people know that this is very rewarding for me to give back is very rewarding and as a result, it’s doable. They stay in touch with me, but I also learn a lot from them by teaching them and mentoring them, and see How they grow. It makes me very fulfilling, it rewards him. And I said I hope that this, I can propagate to other people. Because of what I’ve done, somebody helped me, and now I helped a lot of people. And I’m hoping that these people that I help will help other people. And the whole idea is to make the ecosystem and obviously, we will live a much better place.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  35:26

Yeah, no, I think that that is amazing. And so in coaching and mentoring, I guess all of these people and you know, I, you know, you’ve always served as a mentor and a coach to me, and so I know this firsthand. But you kind of abide by some of the same things. I think it was the first Peter in your example, that, you know, it was a leader who did a great job of coaching, but you also never go out and explicitly tell people to go do a particular thing. You ask a lot of questions and you point them in the right direction.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  36:02

I learned from this to Peters a lot that you have to become a mirror, I use that a lot. I’m a mirror to you. And I will point out, I normally ask the question, do you want me to tell you what I think or you want to tell you what, what you want to hear is, as a matter of fact, today, I was speaking to one person who called me to thank me I randomly and he said to be the same thing, you asked me that question. And I always say, depending on what you want to hear, and I’m not here to insult you or hurt you. But if you want me to tell you, what you’re really what it is like, so you can improve, I’m going to share it with you, or I can just be quiet. And to me asking the question, that’s the only way that the mentee will learn. Otherwise, you’re not going to learn if you give them the answer, you’re never there? Well, it’s not never, but it will take them a lot longer to learn and be independent, and you want them to be independent, very fast. You know,

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  37:03

I think that this makes a lot of sense. And, you know, certainly, in a lot of cases, you’ve served as mentors to employees, throughout, you know, people who reported to people outside the company. So one other thing that I did want to ask you about, you know, in this realm is, as it relates to culture, you have this statement that I think a lot of people use, you know, to define cost management, but I think you have an interesting framing on it from a people and culture aspect. So the phrase is to, you know, take care of the pennies, and dollars will take care of themselves, we’d love for you to explain how you frame that in terms of people and culture.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  37:50

It’s all about culture, in the sense that your biggest cost in a company is the people. The value that you have in a company is the people, whoever got up and down the elevator, is the people and this is your asset. Now, if you invest in the people, and you get the culture, right, that they are the number one in the company that you are, and of course, we know that the customer is on top, and we know that the investors but if you look at who is making the grunt work, who is making the company successful, are the employees. So from a cultural perspective, what you want is to give them all the resources, all the capabilities, all the environment, set up the right ecosystem and environment for them to succeed. And when you do that, they will take care of the dollars, it may cost you a little bit more in terms of giving them access to the gym and things like that. The things that are very small in terms of the cost, but what you want is the culture that they are going to look at it from the perspective of I’m going to make this company very successful. And therefore they’re going to bring you in terms of dollars, as opposed to the pennies that you are and I don’t want to minimize its dependencies. But the relationship of the cost invested in employees if you look at any employee, and if you look at all the amount that you’re going to put in terms of products, and so on, it’s so small relative to the amount that they can bring to the companies that you can look at it from that perspective that the culture of embedding in them that they will you will take care of them their needs. But in essence, the culture that they will have is that they are going to create a company that is much, much larger, much more successful, and bring you the big dollars to make it a successful company.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  39:48

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I think it can be short-sighted to try and you know, save on these little things. When in reality, as you said, the most important asset that you have is the people It is going to be the largest item on your, I guess profit and loss statement. And in terms of expense, so it makes sense to give them whatever they need to be successful. And then all these other little details will take care of themselves, and certainly, the most value will come from what they can produce. So the people come first,

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  40:22

You have to take care of the people. And that’s the culture that you have to instill in the company. This is the most, the most important resource in the company is not the product, or the people that go up and down the elevator, if you take good care of them, right, then the rest will work. But you have to treat them as adults. And, again, going back to the notion that we spoke earlier, give them the opportunity, they believe in the vision, they believe in what has to be done, allow them to show and prove to you that they believe in the vision and they’re going to take care of them, and the rest will be taken care of.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  41:03

I think that makes a lot of sense. And you know, so far we’ve talked about the vision, we’ve talked about eyes on hands of employee productivity. We’ve talked about some of your management mistakes, we’ve talked about leading with carrots and not sticks. One other thing that I think it is important for us to talk about is to kind of round out the discussion around your management style. You also believe in this concept of leaders eat last I you know, we did talk about leading with example, and not getting anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t do. What does it mean for a leader to eat last at a company,

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  41:48

it’s again about part of the culture to show to the people that it’s like the captain leave the ship last the pilot, the captain on the plane, leave the plane last, you have to demonstrate that you are a responsible leader, and you have to take care of going back to the culture, you have to take care of your people. And that means that if there is enough food for 10 people, and you are number 11, you give it to the 10 people first and you’re number 11, this is a metaphor to say you need to support their needs. First, make sure that their needs are being addressed, whatever the needs are, both from material needs, you know, if it’s a computer, you should not have the best computer. If the head of development in a better computer than you you don’t need to get the best computer. If you have a limitation on expenditure, whatever it is. So the metaphor is to give the employees the best tools, the best environment for them to succeed. And then you are the one that will eat the scraps at the end of the day because they are putting in the effort to make the company successful. And when the company is successful, you are over successful.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  43:13

Yeah, I think that, that that’s the right prioritization. Eli, this has been super insightful. We’ve talked about so many different concepts. And I think we’ve rounded out what your leadership style is some of the things that that you believe in. For all the managers and leaders out there constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any resources, tips, tricks, or even final words of wisdom that you’d like to leave them with today?

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  43:43

Yes, they are. A couple of things that to learn from mistakes that I’ve made. So talking about culture, make sure that the culture is correct in terms of communication, over-communication is important, structured communication. When, when some of these companies, you know, when I started 43 years ago, they did not have the tools that we have today. So you have tools like you know, Fellow, use tools like that, to make sure that the communication is open, structured and well defined among people, you have to look at it from the perspective that whatever you do, you need common communication, common theme, and way that everybody is on the same level fields in terms of getting the information when you do that within the team, is among the team and to the leaders. When you do that, you’re going to ensure to reduce the level of friction, the level, and uncertainty and increase the level of collaboration among the team and within the company.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  44:51

I think that’s a great place to end it. Eli, thanks so much for doing this.

Eli Fathi (Mindbridge)  44:54

It was my pleasure. 

Latest episodes