Google is sharing its management tools with the world

Google is sharing its management tools with the world

Speaking at his alma mater in January, Sundar Pichai, Google’s low-profile CEO, revealed his key to effective management: “Let others succeed.”

Enacting Pichai’s advice is easier said than done. But Google is sharing some tools that might help. Its Re:Work blog is offering a series of instructive documents used by managers at Google. They cover everything from feedback and career development to setting agendas for one-on-ones, and codify the insights Google gleaned from spending years analyzing reviews and other observable data at the company to determine essential leadership traits.

Here’s an overview of what’s available. Each section header below has the link to the corresponding documentation from Google.

Manager feedback survey

Googlers evaluate their managers on a semi-annual basis with a 13-question survey. The first 11 measure whether employees agree or disagree with statements like “My manager shows consideration for me as a person.” The final two questions (“What would you recommend your manager keep doing?” and “What would you have your manager change?”) are open-ended.

At Google, these survey responses are reported confidentially, and managers receive a report of anonymized, aggregated feedback, plus verbatim answers to the two open-ended questions. “The feedback a manager gets through this survey is purely developmental,” Google says. “It isn’t directly considered in performance or compensation reviews, in the hope that Googlers will be honest and constructive with their feedback.”

Career conversations worksheet

Google’s management analysis reveals that above all, employees value knowing that their manager is invested in their personal success and career development. To help managers effectively discuss development with their direct reports, Google uses the GROW model—which organizes the conversation into four recommended sections:

  • Goal: What do you want? Establish what the team member really wants to achieve with their career.
  • Reality: What’s happening now? Establish the team member’s understanding of their current role and skills.
  • Options: What could you do? Generate multiple options for closing the gap from goal to reality.
  • Will: What will you do? Identify achievable steps to move from reality to goal.

“One Simple Thing” worksheet

To encourage personal well-being and work-life balance, Google uses the popular goal-setting practice “One Simple Thing.” The goal should be specific enough to measure its impact on one’s well-being. “Managers can encourage team members to explain how pursuing this one thing won’t negatively affect their work,” Google explains. “That goal then becomes part of a team member’s set of goals that managers should hold them accountable for, along with whatever work-related goals they already have.”

Some examples of “One Simple Thing” goals include “I will take a one hour break three times a week to work out,” and “I will not read emails on the weekends.”

1:1 Meeting agenda template

At Google, the highest-rated managers hold frequent one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. However, as most leaders know, individual check-ins can often feel rushed and disorganized. To squeeze the most out of each one-on-one (which Google managers are advised to hold every week or two) Googlers set up a shared meeting agenda ahead of time—which both the manager and the report should contribute to.

Some agenda items Google suggests include:

  • Check-in and catch-up questions: “What can I help you with?” and “What have you been up to?”
  • Roadblocks or issues
  • Goal updates
  • Administrative topics (e.g., upcoming vacations, expense reports)
  • Next steps to confirm actions and agreements
  • Career development and coaching

New manager training course materials

As Google explains, “These course materials were originally designed for Google managers to help them transition from individual contributor roles to manager roles.” As anyone who has done this can attest, conducting the transition gracefully requires a bit of perspective shifting, and more than a little awareness building.

The course materials include a facilitator guide (to help whoever is training the new managers), a new manager student workbook (including interactive exercises), and the presentation slides that Google trainers use internally.

Read the full version from the author’s website.

9 Signs Your Workplace Is Emotionally Unintelligent (and What to Do About It)

9 Signs Your Workplace Is Emotionally Unintelligent (and What to Do About It)

CREDIT: Getty Images Photo by: Getty Images

Here’s a troubling trend. Other than fidget spinners, I mean.

Research among people recently leaving corporate life indicates a surprising thread. Guess what strength is most common among the newly departed?

High EQ (emotional intelligence).

Now, compare that to the increasing commonality of a low-EQ workplace and you have a “no duh” explanation for the exodus.

Are you operating in a low-EQ workplace that gives high EQers fits, and the sense that they don’t belong?

Here’s how to tell. Look for these nine signs of “emotional unintelligence” and wise the workplace up by employing the advice that follows.

1. Business goals are uninspiring at best.

Do you genuinely care if your business unit hits a 25 percent market share? Unless you’ve got a major equity position, I’m guessing no.

What people do care about are goals that translate to something that serves a higher purpose, a goal with personal meaning. Something they can relate to. Who is that 25 percent and how are you serving them and making their lives better?

That’s your goal.

Yes, numbers matter. Until they’re numbing.

2. The people affected by decisions are rarely enrolled.

Being cc’d rather than enrolled on a decision is disempowering and deflating. Frankly, leaders who do this show low IQ and EQ.

Is it so difficult to understand that people must weigh in before they can buy in? Has the art and science of showing people they’re valued and valuable actually become rocket science? Is it completely missed that decision-making processes can unchain instead of drain energy?

Enroll early and often.

3. Leaders conduct inquisitions, not inquiries.

Some of the most emotionally bereft behavior leaders can engage in happens at leadership team meetings. Employees come in for a checkpoint on projects and instead of helpful questioning and curiosity, they’re met with a “you must get past us” mentality. Leaders might even lash out more than they listen.

No, no, no.

Role model interactions with teams that leave them looking forward to leadership meetings rather than licking their wounds thereafter.

4. It’s all head, no heart.

Environments rich in analysis, planning, and preparation still need one other critical element.

A pulse.

High EQers need to know that a passion for people, in addition to rote progress, is a priority.

Put empathy, compassion, and the needs of employees on the agenda along with that topic on inventory levels.

5. Micro-management is used like a security blanket.

Raise your hand if you like to be micro-managed.

Micro-management is a sign of many things, the most troubling of which is insecurity. It demonstrates zero trust, indicates selfishness, and smacks of low self-confidence.

Show your leadership peers what astonishing empowerment looks like. Macro-managing exhilarates.

6. Problem employees go unaddressed.

One word for you: fester. That’s what unaddressed problem children will do. Such a situation saps the energy of great employees, shows a stunning lack of concern, and is a knife in the heart of an organization. A lack of courage in addressing the negative ions is the ultimate in callousness.

Fix. It…

Read the full version from the author’s website.

Only one thing matters. That you f#@^ing finish what you START.

Only one thing matters. That you f#@^ing finish what you START.

Only one thing matters. That you f#@^ing finish what you START.

This is the single most important medium post you will ever read.

I believe that I am about to change your life.

Because I want to tell you one thing.

Your work is not perfect.

Your product, your business, your blog — they are incredibly imperfect.

I could look at your work for 5 minutes and come up with so many flaws you would pay me to point them out.

But you know what?

It. Does. Not. Matter.

There is only one thing that matters in this world, and it is simple, and I want you to understand it.

The only thing that f#@^ing matters is that you finish what you’re working on.

83% of the people who will email me and say they want to do what I do WILL NEVER FINISH ANYTHING.

They will have the best excuses in the whole world. They were busy. They were tired. Life was hard. Their dogs ate their homework.

Can I tell you something? Those excuses might make them feel better but they won’t help them get to where they need to be. There is only one thing that will help with that — finishing their work.

You do not have to be faster than the tiger.

Have you ever heard that parable? A man and his friend were camping in the jungle. One night a tiger attacked their camp site. They started running. One friend said to the other, “we’re not fast enough, we’ll never outrun the tiger!”

His buddy turned to him and shouted one thing.

“I don’t have to outrun the tiger, I just have to outrun you….”

The tiger is our own will to NOT ACHIEVE. The tiger is the voice that says to give up.

The tiger is the voice of failure.

You just have to outrun everyone who doesn’t have the guts to finish their work.

I don’t care if you disagree. I don’t give a fuck.

Because at the end of the day, I finish my work. I’m a finisher. If you cannot be that and do that, you don’t stand a chance out here.

The world is waiting for you, the opportunities are out there, for the people with the raw guts to finish, to publish, to release, to launch. If you’re one of those people, you’re a goddamn legend and I respect you.

If you’re not?

Well, then I got no time for you.


Finish your work.

Put it in the hands of people who give a shit. Be a radical completer. That’s what matters and that’s what counts and anything else is bullshit.

You want to tell me all about how wrong I am? How I offended you by someone swearing and telling you the truth? Email me. jo*@jo***********.com

…and I’ll explain why it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong or if I’m right.

Only one thing counts; that you’re a finisher.

So, are you?

By Jon Westenberg – Chief Empathy Officer, Creatomic

Read the full version from the author’s website.

How to Tell If You’re a Great Manager

How to Tell If You’re a Great Manager

I’ve been reading Fred Kofman’s book, Conscious Business. Written in 2006, the book summarizes Kofman’s experiences as a management consultant to some of the great leaders in technology and other industries. In the book, Kofman lists 12 questions Gallup used to identify great managers in one of the largest management surveys conducted.

As I read this list of 12 questions, I started answering them for each of the different roles I’ve had. When I worked for great managers and answered the questions, I found I answered yes to almost all of them. The converse is also true.

This list incorporates questions about communication clarity, mission, shared values, respect, community and teamwork.

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing high-quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Read the full version from the author’s website.

Motivating Employees Is Not About Carrots or Sticks

Motivating Employees Is Not About Carrots or Sticks

By Lisa Lai

Motivating employees seems like it should be easy. And it is — in theory. But while the concept of motivation may be straightforward, motivating employees in real-life situations is far more challenging.

Motivating employees seems like it should be easy. And it is — in theory. But while the concept of motivation may be straightforward, motivating employees in real-life situations is far more challenging. As leaders, we’re asked to understand what motivates each individual on our team and manage them accordingly. What a challenging ask of leaders, particularly those with large or dispersed teams and those who are already overwhelmed by their own workloads.

Leaders are also encouraged to rely on the carrot versus stick approach for motivation, where the carrot is a reward for compliance and the stick is a consequence for noncompliance. But when our sole task as leaders becomes compliance, trying to compel others to do something, chances are we’re the only ones who will be motivated.

Why not consider another way to motivate employees? I’d like to suggest a new dialogue that embraces the key concept that motivation is less about employees doing great work and more about employees feeling great about their work. The better employees feel about their work, the more motivated they remain over time. When we step away from the traditional carrot or stick to motivate employees, we can engage in a new and meaningful dialogue about the work instead. Here’s how:

Share context and provide relevance. There is no stronger motivation for employees than an understanding that their work matters and is relevant to someone or something other than a financial statement. To motivate your employees, start by sharing context about the work you’re asking them to do. What are we doing as an organization and as a team? Why are we doing it? Who benefits from our work and how? What does success look like for our team and for each employee? What role does each employee play in delivering on that promise? Employees are motivated when their work has relevance.

Anticipate roadblocks to enable progress. When you ask anything significant of team members, they will undoubtedly encounter roadblocks and challenges along the path to success. Recognize that challenges can materially impact motivation. Be proactive in identifying and addressing them. What might make an employee’s work difficult or cumbersome? What can you do to ease the burden? What roadblocks might surface? How can you knock them down? How can you remain engaged just enough to see trouble coming and pave the way for success? Employees are motivated when they can make progress without unnecessary interruption and undue burdens.

Recognize contributions and show appreciation. As tempting as it is to try to influence employee satisfaction with the use of carrots and sticks, it isn’t necessary for sustained motivation. Far more powerful is your commitment to recognizing and acknowledging contributions so that employees feel appreciated and valued. Leaders consistently underestimate the power of acknowledgment to bring forth employees’ best efforts. What milestones have been achieved? What unexpected or exceptional results have been realized? Who has gone beyond the call of duty to help a colleague or meet a deadline? Who has provided great service or support to a customer in crisis? Who “walked the talk” on your values in a way that sets an example for others and warrants recognition? Employees are motivated when they feel appreciated and recognized for their contributions.

Read the full version from the author’s website.

This is The World’s Most Underrated Secret to Extraordinary Success

This Email From Elon Musk to Tesla Employees Is a Master Class in Emotional Intelligence

Elon Musk. CREDIT: Getty Images


Tesla, the electric-automobile manufacturer led by famed CEO Elon Musk, has struggled mightily with safety over the past few years. California nonprofit Worksafe, a worker safety advocacy group, recently made headlines when it reported that the injury rate at Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant was more than 30 percent higher than the industry average in 2014 and 2015.

Musk insists, however, that safety is the number one priority at Tesla. He claims that recent actions, like the company’s hiring thousands of employees to create a third shift and reduce excess overtime, have made a major impact in lowering the injury rate.

A recent email Musk sent to employees indicates just how seriously he’s taking the issue. Here’s part of the email, as reported by news site Electrek:

No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.

Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.

This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.

If Musk proves true to his word, it will be a remarkable example of a company leader who’s willing to do what it takes to affect change–and show that he isn’t afraid to get down in the trenches.

Read the full version from the author’s website.

This is The World’s Most Underrated Secret to Extraordinary Success

Time is The Most Valuable Asset at Your Disposal

At one of my first internships at internet company called, I was having a chat with the CFO. We were talking about building wealth.

He asked me why I wanted to have money and what I thought money would give me? As a starry-eyed and naive 20-year-old, I rattled off a whole list of material possessions, most of which I really don’t care about at the age of 38. And he said something to me that has stayed with me to this day:

“What money gives you is time. And time is really the most valuable asset at your disposal.”

As I’ve said before if you want to manage your time effectively, put a really high dollar value on it.

Just think about all the things that we waste our time on each day:

  • Commuting to work
  • Screwing around on the internet
  • Running stupid errands on the weekend (i.e. grocery shopping, Bed Bath n Beyond, and Home Depot Runs)

Now imagine if you didn’t have to do any of those things because you could afford to hire somebody to do all of them.

When I moved into a new apartment and I bought two bookshelves, a nightstand, and a bed, I thought about assembling them myself. From past experience, I knew that it would be a half day ordeal at best, and take an entire day at worst. Not only that, anytime I build stuff from Ikea parts are left over and shit starts falling apart weeks later.

I looked at what I had been paid for a few previous speaking engagements and looked at what it would cost to have somebody on Task Rabbit come over and build this stuff. The cost of hiring these people was a small fraction of my speaking fee. They did in 3 hours what would have taken me an entire day, and I was able to use that time to work on my upcoming book.

A couple of months ago I made the mistake of going to an outlet mall to buy a sports coat. I went from shop to shop, couldn’t tell if anything truly fit, and after about 3 hours I left in complete frustration without a sports coat. Someone on Facebook recommended that I utilize a personal stylist at Nordstrom. What most people don’t seem to know is that this is completely free. You submit your needs and a stylist will have a dressing room ready for you with clothes to try on. If you’ve never been before, they’ll even measure you to make sure your clothes fit perfectly. It saves you a ton of time and you end up with better clothes.

Another “time hack” I stumbled upon was TSA precheck. As a speaker, I travel quite a bit. After a 30 minute wait in security at the Portland Airport, I finally decided I’d had enough. The cost for this is 85 dollars for 5 years. By walking through security in 5 minutes, I get straight to the gate or to a restaurant where I can sit down and do my work. To top it off you avoid the chaos and frenzy that results from waiting in line. Since your state of mind is one of your most priceless assets, this is an easy way to preserve it.

Opportunity Cost

In economics, there’s a concept known as opportunity cost. For example, the opportunity to cost of assembling all the furniture myself would be the time that could have been spent writing my book. The value of working on my books or anything related to The Unmistakable Creative was far higher than the $200.00 that I spent on Task Rabbit.

Let’s do some math to reinforce this idea. Say that your time is worth 200 dollars an hour, which comes out to 1600 dollars a day. Say you decided to do a task that could bet outsourced (i.e. building a web site, admin work, Ikea furniture). It takes the whole day to do that task. Assume it would cost $200 to have someone do whatever you needed them to do. You decide to do it yourself and save 200 dollars. The opportunity cost is $1400.00

Sometimes we think we’re saving money by doing things like this ourselves. But we don’t take into the account the opportunity cost of doing things we’re not competent at.

Read the full version from the author’s website.