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Guest

138

“You have to encourage radical candor within an organization. It’s very important, especially nowadays, for organizations to be open and transparent, so that people can raise their hands and say, ‘hey, there is some problem happening in this particular function and we need to fix it’. They should feel safe doing that. That’s the first foundation to building a team, which is psychologically safe. Number two is encouraging failures. Because if you're not failing, you're not stretching your boundaries enough.”

In this episode

Feedback can send somebody in the wrong direction. 

So it’s important to be thoughtful in the messaging and delivery. 

In episode #138, Raj Sarkar emphasizes the importance of feedback throughout his career journey and how you can leverage it to grow. 

Raj Sarkar is an Advisor for many different startups and has worked with companies like Amazon, Cisco, Google, Atlassian, and 1Password.

Raj offers tactical tips on giving and receiving feedback and shares his rule of 3. We also discuss high performing teams and what it takes to build psychological safety. 

Tune in to hear all about Raj’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!


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


03:49

If everyone likes you, you’re doing something wrong

10:55

Habits to give feedback

21:52

Trends on PLG organizational structure

27:26

Building high-performing teams

32:10

Marketing hackathons

37:35

Exhibiting more ownership

39:02

Feedback is a gift


Resources


Transcript

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  00:28

Raj, welcome to the show.

Raj Sarkar  03:51

Thank you for inviting me.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  03:52

Yeah, very happy to have you on, there’s a lot that we’re gonna get to talk about. You’ve worked at a bunch of very familiar companies, X CMO of one password, your senior leader at Atlassian, and Google, and today you advise a bunch of different startups, your Forbes, top 50, entrepreneurial CMO. So lots of stuff that we’re going to talk about lots of passion areas for you. But the question that we like to start with on the podcast is, do you remember when you were first leading a team, when you first started doing that? What were some of the early mistakes that you used to make?

Raj Sarkar  04:26

Oh my god. So there are two phases in my career. One phase is the engineering phase, which was just four years. So I leave the portion out of your talk about marketing, which I’ve been doing for the last 15 or 16 years. I remember specifically, very clearly, when first time I started leading a team, and this was just happened in Google. So as part of the GCP team at that time, this was potentially run 2011 and 2012. And I was a one man show for a long time. So I launched Google Cloud Platform and Google IO. And then I had, like, had my hands that I can’t do this work alone anymore. And it was leading for headcount for the GCP marketing team. And I remember I had to negotiate with my manager for a long time before I got the headcount. I was so excited when I got that had got for the first time. I always liked to interact with people and see people grow. So I was like, new and exciting thing for me at that time. And I remember that vividly.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  05:40

Yeah. And so let’s dive into that. Do you remember something that maybe a mistake or something that you made early on, or something that you were maybe not as good at, in those early days?

Raj Sarkar  05:51

I think one of the first mistake, majority of the first time leaders or managers still right, you have this natural instinct to be likable. So you say yes to a lot of things. And you don’t question stuff. Within your or two of managing teams, one of my biggest revelation was I need to say no to more things than yes, one of the things, you know, I’ve learned over the years, I remember early on when I was a manager, I was trying too hard to please the people working for me. Now, as a leader, like when you are basically sitting the C suite, you know, managing a huge organization, and working with people from you know, different cultural background, you know, different upbringing, you know, that yourself may be suitable for some people, maybe not suitable for all. So there will be always some people who are not happy with it, everyone is happy with you, they tell you to do something.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  06:51

I like that, too, if everyone is happy with you that you’re doing something wrong. But obviously, this is in the context of the larger organization. If you have a team of three people, your team or three should probably be happy with you most of the time, I would say, but that’s super helpful. Do you remember how you began to realize that so it sounds like maybe in the beginning, it was more about being likable. It’s just a natural tendency that most humans have. One of my favorite books out there is this book called The courage to be disliked, but something that I read much later in my career, and wish I had read earlier. But do you remember like an example of something that caused you to shift and, and really change your approach to how you manage the team that changed

Raj Sarkar  07:37

privately in Avastin, I would say because Google that was just like, a manager for probably a year or so. But it gives her a lesson. I remember, initially, I was doing exactly the same how you used to operate at Google. And then at a certain point in time, when you have to manage like low performance and your team, then you need to start having those hard conversations. And you realize early on, that it’s demoralizing for the rest of the team if you’re not taking action, because you’re afraid to take that action, because you’re thinking that you’re gonna make that person unhappy or dislike you. And you’re not giving feedback as frequently as you’re supposed to. Because you’re trying to be, you know, likable for every single portion of the team. So I think that is the first time when I started realized, and even my boss at the time, my manager at the time came to me and said, hey, you need to rectify this, you need to handle this situation. So I would say, that is when I realized, okay, I need to not make everyone happy all the time. And there are certain scenarios where I have to be played hardball and make you know, someone on my team unhappy.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  08:50

Raj, if you were to think about situations where people are likely to make this mistake, where do you think it comes up more often? Is it would you say in decision making, is it in giving feedback? What are some of the areas that maybe when you’ve observed other managers make this sort of mistake? Where have you seen it more frequently?

Raj Sarkar  09:11

I think two things you already kind of touched on, like decision making and feedback. Decision making is early on. If you’re a new manager, it’s very easy to make the decision for your team, like you know, something, you’ll go ahead. You should for the team. I think it’s very important for you to hold back on making the decisions and let your team make those decisions, right. And sometimes they might be unhappy that hey, my manager is not making the decision for me, right? But you like as you grow as you scale as the organization gets bigger and bigger. If you have to run an organization a size of like 800 people, you won’t be able to make every single decision in the organization as a leader so you still need to learn need to learn making those decisions. So it’s easier as a Early on, as a manager, step in and say I’ll make the decision for the team and make my team happy, makes it easier for them. But usually let them make the grind work and let them come to the decision then since then, rather than you making the decision. So that is, number one. And number two is feedback, like giving very frequent feedback, like especially, it’s much easier to give easy feedback, it’s much harder to give constructive feedback. And I think a lot of managers, and I know, throughout my career, they were good managers and bad managers. So a lot of managers were just reluctant to give like negative and constructive feedback. Frequently, I think you’re doing a disservice to your team if you’re not doing that. Right. Okay, this comes from the likability factor result, right? I don’t want to make someone upset. But even you’re like some of your high performance in your team, they will appreciate if you actually give feedback more frequently.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  10:54

Yeah, I mean, I’d love to dig in on the feedback side, especially because I feel like this is a very hard to get right skill. It’s one of those things that at least I’ve found that every year, there’s room even for me to improve, even though say I’ve been like a manager leader for a long time, especially when you’re leading a team of more senior people when maybe you have VPS reporting to you, right? And so you need to give them feedback as well. It’s not going to be super obvious things, right? It’s not going to be like, Oh, you interrupted that person in the meeting, maybe you shouldn’t have, right, it’s going to be like more deeply rooted things. And so my question for you is, what kind of ritual or habits do you have to make sure that you’re able to, like, critically think about what kind of feedback you can give to a person to actually get them to level up because I find that it’s not maybe super obvious things. But there are more things that you have to really, really think about.

Raj Sarkar  11:51

First and foremost, the most important thing to remember, feedback is bidirectional. Usually as managers, your resume that you’re the one who should be giving feedback, but you shouldn’t be taking feedback in quality, make it a habit within your organization, I think it’s super, super important, especially nowadays, a lot of managers forget that. Right? They usually tend to give feedback in a single direction and are not open to receiving feedback back from the team. This also makes it easier for you to give feedback, because you’re asking for feedback. And I use this strategy a lot when I’m doing feedback, I usually start off with Hey, do you have any specific feedback for me? And then, you know, obviously, the person I’m talking to will turn around and say, Hey, Roger, do you have any feedback for me yet, then that’s like, give me the back. Using,

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  12:41

it’s funny, you asked that as a matter of fact, they do.

Raj Sarkar  12:45

So that’s the first thing to remember that feedbacks are usually by direction, or people forget that. Number two, I usually don’t give feedback, just add, again, I’m worried about that, I’m going to send wrong signals to my team, or to the people who’s working for me, I usually do pattern matching to your point, like in a meeting like a behavior, certain behavior, one time doesn’t necessarily need feedback. But there needs to be a consistent pattern, you see a new hearing, I also validate with other people in my team, just to make sure that I’m getting the right feedback. So you have to be very thoughtful. The second thing to remember, you’re like, you have to be very thoughtful when you give feedback, because you can send that person in a wrong direction. So it’s important that you do map pattern matching. But when you get feedback, I was telling my team like peer feedback, for example, right? I’m like, oh, this person X sent something. And I was like, okay to do here, the same feedback coming from y or z. If you don’t hear the same feedback coming from y or z, this is like a one time thing, you don’t need to focus on it. So there is a lot of noise, that you need to make sure that you get to the crux the most important stuff for your team. And that’s your job as a manager as a leader to them.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  14:00

Yeah, some of this stuff is maybe correctional it might be, for example, you did this, maybe it should have been approached differently. But some of the stuff is maybe a little bit more aspirational, and a sense of like, in order for you to level up to the next level leader, or the next level role that you have, you know, here’s some feedback to help you do that. I find that that is particularly harder to do. And part of it is if you have seen, for example, someone else operate at a higher level, like you said, the pattern matching can say, well, I’ve seen others who have been in this role, do these sorts of things that maybe you know, you’re not quite there yet. Are there any things that you’ve done like when you’re trying to help someone level up to the next level? And if you yourself haven’t necessarily seen what that next level looks like? Are there any tips or tricks that you have in order to give yourself that benchmark so you know, what kind of development or aspirational feedback to give?

Raj Sarkar  14:58

Yeah, so what One of the things I usually do, when I go into a new organization and I’m running a new team, I set a baseline like how important feedback is. And I use this example with myself as a person. There were times in my career where I got feedback, and I completely ignored it. And majority of my career growth has come from the fact that I have listened to feedback once like I’ve, there was some time in my career, it flipped. And I was like, Okay, this is the feedback I need to incorporate. And I’ve seen my trajectory trajectory just take off, as soon as I started listening to feedback coming from different parts of the organization. And it’s not just poor feedback, but downward feedback as well coming from your team. So I started, start off with that baseline, and then make sure that my team knows this, the feedback is a gift. Usually, you will see, and even I did this at some point in my career as well, like, people ignore the feedback, people don’t take the feedback seriously. My I have this rule of three, like if I give you the feedback three times, and you’re not listening, because I will be thoughtful in giving feedback. And if I give you the feedback three times in a row, and you haven’t taken action against it, that means you’re not listening to feedback in and you need to have a like a conversation. Right. And I think you will become stagnant as well, I feel that that’s what I tell my team like, hey, if I’m giving you feedback, and you’re not listening, then you know, it’s your career, like I’m trying to help you be successful. Right. So I think setting the baseline that hey, how this feedback has helped me grow as a person because I were in their shoes. At one point in time, I was a PMM, as well, right, I was part of an organization. And the only way I’ve grown in my career is by listening to feedback. And I set that kind of foundation in place with my team. So my team understands that this is something which I rely on. And then I’m also very much dependent on our organization being successful based on how my team thinks.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  17:07

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. One of the questions I have on that is, you mentioned that early on in your career, maybe you didn’t listen to feedback that closely. I’m not sure if you want to share. But do you remember what that feedback was? And like what caused you to all of a sudden pivot and start listening to it?

Raj Sarkar  17:24

Sure. I think the first in the first moment of change. Remember, this was Atlassian, I was responsible for the Bitbucket cloud payment team. And my CEO basically made a comment in the slack even his attention was basically you want him to see this product. Now when I look back, I was like, okay, that’s what his reason was, basically push us. And then I gave like a defensive comment, I made a defensive comment on the public slack. And then everyone saw that my manager came and like had a sit down conversation with me and said, hey, you know, this is what you need to understand. These are the X, Y and Z, you need to do better, right? First of all, any hot conversation after that, I usually don’t do it on Slack, because slack is the worst place to have, like, any kind of conflict, right? I always had this nice little event with remote work to like always do face to face like zoom is super important. Because you can’t see the person you don’t know what the person is thinking. Right? So that was basically I was like, okay, maybe I need to start collecting feedback from across the organization. You’re always afraid to collect feedback, because you don’t want to say hi hired a leadership coach. And the leadership coach basically went and talked to my peers, talk to my bosses, talk to the people I was managing collected on this feedback correlated that feedback to me. So there are a few feedback I got, which was like I was super aggressive. I was always thinking about myself, I was thinking about going to everyone else I was working with. So that was one time when I completely changed my behavior based on the feedback I got from across the organization. So that is one example. I think second example was I was almost getting fired from Atlassian. And this is basically, I think the feedback I got is like I was being super aggressive. Not with my team, my team loved me, but my cross functional peers. And I remember my manager came to me and like, I know Roger, you don’t want to be enough. So and but that’s how you’re perceived across the organization. I did, I suppose almost like an existential question for me. Because I know that some of the feedback you get professionally, maybe it’s applicable in your personal life as well. So for example, I talked to winning friends and I was like, Okay, do I come across something bad like I’m not a listener? That was like more like, you know, a change I made not only In my professional life, but in my personal life as well, I started listening more I was listening, I felt like like I was listening less. So I started practicing that in my daily personal life, it kind of showed in my professional life as well. And it completely changed me as a leader, like how do I manage him how I work cross functionally, is completely more free as a leader right now.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  21:08

Thank you for sharing that really appreciate the story and the vulnerability of course in mentioning something like that, but we’ve seen it in your career, right, like I was looking up your LinkedIn right before. And it’s just obviously definitely seen at Atlassian, where you’re talking about this, like constantly getting more and more responsibility. Clearly the listening to feedback worked and were able to like really advance in your leadership career there. So one thing that is really interesting is just this concept of like you said, being able to listen, gather that information, and then make those changes. And again, like feedback is a gift. So it really clearly shows how this trajectory can take effect. To switch gears for a second. One of the topics I also wanted to chat with you about you obviously have led large teams in the marketing function have a lot of knowledge in plg across companies, one of the things I thought would be really interesting for us to chat about is what your thoughts are on team dynamics when there are certain teams that tend to work together, for example, say sales and marketing or customer success. And in an organization where it’s starting to become trendy, for example, to hire functions like chief revenue officer or chief growth officer, such that like all of those teams report up into the same person, I’m curious to kind of get your thoughts on that as a trend, why some companies may get those functions report into the same person. And just anything that you’ve learned around that.

Raj Sarkar  22:47

I think the reason I feel like that is going to happen more and more in the long run is because how selling in b2b SaaS has changed in the last 20 years or so. Like, if you go 20 years back, the we businesses will buy your product, there is no way for a business to try out the product. So they will go and talk to the salesperson. So the product is building the product, the salesperson will have a conversation with the customer. And then an intense dating process will start which will probably last like a few months. And then after six or 12 months, the you know the business will buy the product that has changed completely now. Now you can go to a website, click on a sign up and get into a product immediately. So you get exposure to the product immediately. So as a result, the whole process on how you sell to b2b customers have changed drastically, the definition of sales, marketing and product, the page whole definition is kind of getting blurrier and blurrier. This is why, like I talked about like how, especially for big product, sales, marketing, and product and kind of converging like, you cannot bifurcate the funnel, you need to look at the funnel into and as a result, you see, I mean, it’s happening in sub companies. And lastly in for example, the presidentially assignments, managed customer success, sales, marketing, all these are bought, and to one person. And you see that happening in a lot of other organizations as well. So I see that trend happening more and more, especially when it comes to b2b SaaS, I’m not talking about b2c Because it’s very different ballgame. That’s one of the reasons why I keep saying like here, you’ll see this. Yeah.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  24:33

So the thing that I want to get at here is it’s a very interesting trends that’s happening, like you said, and you kind of explain why that happens. So these three different functions, sometimes it makes sense to hire one leader where all these three functions will report to the same person. I guess my question for you is what happens if you don’t have these three teams reporting to the same person? And the reason that I’m asking this is I kind of want to get to the heart of as a leader of an ER organization, when might you think that certain problems can be solved through this method of getting them to report to the same person?

Raj Sarkar  25:07

Yeah, you don’t have to like, for example, product and sales don’t report to the same person in Atlassian. And in majority of the organization, that’s not how it works. I think, first of all, it starts with the leaders, the leaders need to work together really, really well and that the team is going to do because the leaders are reflection of the of the teams, we have this model called decrease call this the squad model in Atlassian. So product design, marketing and engineering was formed this squad. Now Atlassian is a company with lots of products. So each product had that SWAT model. And then my last role, we call it the ball teams portfolio of products. So there was a leader for each of these particular functions so as to meet on a weekly basis to talk about each of their functions. So everyone knew like what product is. So for example, I would know what product is doing what, you know, what design is doing, what engineering is doing. So the work didn’t happen in silos. So we used to work really worked together. We had this core model, we had a six channel, Slack channel for the US to meet on a weekly basis. So that’s how I think you can encourage collaboration between these different functions within the organization.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  26:27

Yeah, the squad model makes a lot of sense. And would you say like, what is the unifying factor? So when you’re considering something like this? Is it when all of them, for example, have the same Northstar metric that they’re trying to get to? Like, how do you figure out how to get these teams to form a squad in that way?

Raj Sarkar  26:45

So the four of the four members I talked about, we will create the OKR for our organization together. So there was this is not like marketing had their own product of their own or their sales or their own. Okay, so for each product is basically there was one OKR. And then each, okay, I will obviously like marketing alone, the customer number, for example, product alone, the revenue number, but that was basically our guiding Northstar for the entire organization.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  27:11

Yeah, so when there is that guiding Northstar, that OPR that really brings all the teams together, that might be a sign where that kind of a pod or a squad structure can make sense. 100%. So since we’re talking about teams, one of the things that I know you’re also passionate about, you’ve hired a lot of people in your career, created a lot of teams. And one of the things I wanted to ask you about is what have you learned about getting a team to be a high performing one, whether it’s from like creating that team or to encouraging that team? Like, what are some of the elements, some of the lessons that you’ve learned along the way?

Raj Sarkar  27:47

I’m sure you’re familiar with this study, which Google did around teams like what makes successful teams and one of the things that talk about is psychological safety? I think building a culture where everyone feels psychologically safe is super, super important. How do you build on the few things, which I talk about a lot with my teams in general? Number one, I call it radical candor. I’m sure you’ve heard about this.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  28:14

Yeah, we’ve had Kim Scott on on this show as well. So definitely, yeah.

Raj Sarkar  28:19

So I’m a huge fan of radical candor. And it’s such with, you know, the leaders in the organization, like, you have to encourage radical candor within the organization, I think very important, especially nowadays, for organizations to be open and transparent, so that people can raise their flag, you know, hands and say, hey, there is some problem happening in this particular function, right, we need to fix it right, they should feel safe to do that. So that’s, I think, I would say the first foundation to building a team, which was psychologically safe. Number two is encouraging failures. Because if you’re not feeling that you’re not stretching your boundaries, enough, you’re paying into sales. I’d be like, you know, encouraging that to happen within an organization like even celebrating failures is I think, is important to create a culture of psychological safety within your team. So I would say that is basically what I call like the second pillar. And then third is nowadays it has become more and more important because of remote work. Your personal life and your work life are intertwined. There is nothing called work life balance, its work life harmony. So it’s important or leaders to keep in mind that the people who are working for them are humans, and then things happening in their life kind of seeps into their work. So keeping that in mind while working with your team is super, super important. So for example, practice, which we used to do a lot like spending the first five minutes not talking about work, talking about what’s going on in your life. So those are the three things I would say I believe are foundational to create high performing teams.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  29:59

that’s super helpful. And thanks for pointing it out in that way. On the third point that you mentioned, one of the practices that you would do is not spend the first five minutes talking about works, and then one on one with someone on your team. Are there any good ways that you found to start a conversation to really get to know someone more personally, or what’s going on in their life? Because what I have noticed is sometimes you default to the maybe super easy stuff, maybe the weather, or you know what you did that weekend, and you kind of like, check that box and then move on into their work topics. So yeah, I wonder, you know, is there anything that you do that you found helpful that others can learn from genuine caring about your people? Yeah, that definitely works.

Raj Sarkar  30:49

effect, right? Like, if I’m talking to my manager, directly, and then the manager basically doesn’t engage or doesn’t care what’s going on? And then, obviously, I will stop sharing that, you know, with my manager. So I think fundamentally, it basically boils down to do you actually really care or not, you know, you can’t fake it. I mean, it has to come from genuine care, and then automatically, it will happen, it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to take some time, especially if you go in a new role in a new organization, you can build it overnight. And then over time, like the team will start realizing, hey, take the ad in the right shoe to care about their team. So it will just automatically happen like you don’t even have.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  31:30

Yeah, I love that. That is actually the best way to answer that question, which is it’s not a question you can ask or a hack, you kind of have to start with the where the motivation is. And with the motivation, the rest will come. But you’re right, people can detect it. Even if I do a really good job ask you that really great question that gets you to tell me something, you’ll know if I really care or not. So yeah, that’s super helpful. Raj. One of the other things, again, just because you’ve had in your work experience, like a lot of managing creative teams, and coming up with new ideas, creating products, one of the things that I wonder if it does become more difficult, and I’m curious to get your thoughts on, is when you’re a small team, and I know you were part of, for example, a lot of products that were very nascent, like new products, and it’s very early on, and as time grows, have you found that it becomes harder to stay innovative or creative? And if not, and you found a way around that we’d love to know how you’ve kept that going?

Raj Sarkar  32:31

Yeah, you’re familiar with the term hackathons, right? Like ship it. And we Atlassian we used to call it TripIt. So and even Google’s goal is to call it like 20% project like for engineers, right? You can devote 20% of your time to work on something outside your basically, day to day job. And Atlassian used to do like shepherds for a week where you can not click for example, you’re part of the Bitbucket team, but you wanted to work something exciting on Confluence for a week, you can go and like hack build something at the end of the week, you basically share it with everyone, right? And then the top trigger prizes, right. So I started something similar in Atlassian. And he used to call this innovation week. And the idea here was that for a week, you’ll not do any meanings, you know, not do your regular day to day job. This is the week basically you can put your pencils down and start thinking about wild ideas, which you get a feeling and you basically come up with a wild idea. And you can pitch it to the marketing, marketing Oregon. I found that it worked like some of the great ideas. Basically, marketing ideas came from that innovation week. It’s almost like a similar like it happened on week or a week. But it’s basically with the with the marketing is labor because usually what usually happens is like get stuck in a rock, right? You’re always working on it, if you don’t get time to think of, oh, you know what interesting thing I can do, which we are not doing already. So I started doing that, like every quarter we’ll, I’ll just put like an innovation week and that we can basically think about all the interesting stuff we can do, which we’re not doing and then present it, pitch it to the team. And then the team will vote and we’ll take the top three areas and dirt.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  34:16

Yeah, that is really awesome. And background for the audience. I think typically, in a lot of organizations that try the hackathon thing. The versions I’ve heard of it are again, very developer centric, because developers can go build something. So this is really cool to hear you say that you were doing this for the marketing team. And what’s also interesting is, a lot of times I’ve heard of this concept, but people have done it for 24 to 48 hours. But it’s very interesting, like you actually clear a whole week and you did it as much as once a quarter. So this is a true commitment. And so tactically speaking, I think a lot of marketing teams maybe have regular things deliverable also that they have. So say like you run a weekly podcast, or you have different sort of weekly tasks. So this requires coordination. So you can like really free up that week.

Raj Sarkar  35:11

Yeah, yeah, it’s not easy to do. Because it’s almost like taking a vacation, right? There is never a good time to take a vacation. But this is like the entire organization is not working, which is a hard thing to do. So you have to pick the time wisely. Like I say, a week, sometime, you were forced to do it within two or three days. Because to your point, like you cannot stop working for me the regular stuff to take care of. But I think the most important thing is finding some time in your regular, like schedule to do this. I think it’s important. And you have to be pencils down. While that is happening. You do the same thing with hackathons as well, when you do ShipIt Aromasin. Like, you’re allowed not to do work for like 48 hours or something.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  35:55

Yeah, I’m curious. So in this particular model, since it was a marketing initiative, was your team also collaborating with other parts of the company? Or was it like they really tried to keep it within themselves.

Raj Sarkar  36:07

I like what we did this one, password one. So one password is easy, because it was in ours. But Atlassian, there was other teams like because my team was responsible for a certain group of products. So it was not like the all the teams were participating. But there is one thing I did remember this within this innovation, we got it Innovation Day. And what we did is we had speakers come from outside, we picked it function like once we go for brand once we played remember the Google gone Google campaign, basically, someone came and talked about on Google campaign. So people come from outside that particular day, everyone participated within the marketing, because I opened it up like, hey, anyone can come and join. But the other stuff, it’s just my team, not, not everyone was doing it.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  36:59

Yeah, it’s very interesting, because like, if you don’t purposefully, like you mentioned, like insert this, there’s no perfect time to take a vacation. There’s a lot of things that but once it’s on the calendar, then it’s a thing that people can do. And what I find is that once it’s on the calendar, and it’s pre scheduled, and you know that it’s coming, people are going to have creative ideas throughout the quarter. And this is a thing that they can maybe start creating lists for and say, Oh, the next time innovation week happens, this is something I can work on. And I can get a whole week to work on it. And yeah, I think that is super helpful idea. One other thing that I wanted to chat with you about is and again, around just getting performance and getting teams to really work well together. And we kind of touched on this a little bit when we were talking about different teams. And when you have similar OKRs to get them to report to the same function is just this concept of ownership. This is one of the things that when organizations or teams get right makes a big difference. We’d love to hear your thoughts around, you know, how do you get your team’s your people to exhibit more ownership across the board?

Raj Sarkar  38:04

Yeah, this is a hard nut to crack on iOS, keep saying that everyone needs to hear the founders hat. And again, it starts on the leaders, the leaders have to show that they care about the company, I not only care about the marketing function, but I also care about what’s going on in product and engineering. You know, if there is something broken, I go and fix, it doesn’t matter what my role is within the organization. So you have to set an example for everyone within within your team. I mean, that’s the only way you can develop what the what do we call it the ownership I called the founders mindset. There’s a book called founders mindset, by the way, which is awesome. And if you haven’t read it,

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  38:42

no, I haven’t read it. I’ll check it out.

Raj Sarkar  38:45

But it’s basically you teach by example. That’s all I can see. I don’t think there is any like stick or occurred there, which is like, at least from my experience, I can’t give you any specific examples. I will just say that buying for me it was more like I’ll tell my team like everyone needs to understand and then show example.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  39:06

This has been a great conversation. We’ve talked about so many different things. We’ve talked about learning how to say no listening to feedback, the rule of three, your three rules for creating a high performing team and a masterclass on how to create an innovation week. So all around super insightful conversation. The last question we like to ask and we asked this from all the guests on the show, which is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft of managing teams. Are there any final tips, tricks or words of wisdom that you would leave them with?

Raj Sarkar  39:43

I already touched on it, give us feedback. That’s the most important thing you can do for your feedback is a gift. Don’t forget that.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  39:51

That’s great advice and a great place to end it. Raj thanks so much for doing this.

Raj Sarkar  39:55

Awesome. Thank you so much.

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