1/ Over the last 2 days, 3,000+ people pumped up a thread I wrote about ATL's success; but like all success, underneath lies a😤grind. Over the last 18 mo's I’ve learned a lot running an org w/ 100+ FTEs. Here’s 50 lessons I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.

Thread 👇
2/ Create an identity for your company

It’s so easy to get enamored by shiny objects. Identify the value in your industry and decide strategically where you want to go. There’s a lot of ways to drive impact, but you can’t do all of them at the same time. Focus is key.
3/ When in doubt, just ask “Why?”

Whenever I want to push deeply, I’ve found the easiest tactic is to ask “Why?” Asking why either gets us to ground truth or it highlights a gap in our thinking. If we can’t come up with a good answer, then I know we haven’t yet cracked the nut.
4/ Allow things to sort themselves out

I’ve noticed one of three outcomes: (a) the situation sorts itself out, (b) someone else on the team comes in with a perspective, (c) if I need to provide perspective, I’ve had time to reflect and respond with something more meaningful.
5/ Be true to yourself

You will be faced with imperfect information way more often than you like. You have to adopt your own style and have the confidence and courage to pursue it. This is the only way to develop instincts and not be paralyzed by decision making.
6/ Listen to yourself

If you get advice from enough people, the advice will cancel out; you can find 2 smart people to take opposite sides of the argument on virtually every topic. Trust your intuition and instincts.
7/ You don’t have to rely on yourself to develop instincts

The only way to close this gap is to adopt a continuous learning mindset. If there is a good idea from another company, I try to learn it and see if it fits my company’s context. If so, I copy it — it’s outsourced R&D :)
8/ You don’t have to rely on the business world to develop instincts.

The more senior leaders I talk to, the more I hear about the importance of learning about non-business topics. Horizontal learning builds depth into your mental models.
9/ Always have a perspective

Having a perspective always pushes the ball forward. No matter the situation, you should always know enough to ask the right questions.
10/ It’s okay not to know the answer. It’s not okay not to have a path forward

More often than not you will not have the right answer. What’s important in that instance is to supply a framework and a hypothesis. If you don’t, you paralyze your team.
11/ Sweat the details

If you let the details go, you slowly chip away at the core of your company. Doing 2% less each time has an outsized negative impact on your business. Imagine trying to put together a huge puzzle with a lot of slightly chipped pieces. Disaster.
12/ Letting go is important for everyone’s sanity

Details matter, but learning to let go is just as important. Everyone does things in their own way. It’s your job to provide a guideposts and structure, but one that is malleable and large enough to give flexibility to operate.
13/ Use a decision matrix and say ‘no’ often

Before engaging on a topic, I consider whether or not I should be involved. If I’m personally involved in too many things, I turn into a bottleneck for the organization and turn into a crutch for my colleagues' judgement.
14/ Follow the ‘mission to metrics’ framework

SpaceX is known for this. Everybody knows the North Star and it boils down to individual metrics that contribute to the North Star. It’s really powerful when you know how your specific goals contribute to company success.
15/ Simplicity is beautiful

But don’t overcomplicate the ‘mission to metrics’ exercise. This can get unwieldy quickly. Lists of three and broken down goals that roll up and aggregate is the best way to orient the team.
16/ Be extremely transparent and clear with others on how you like to work

I’ve encouraged everybody on my team to write their own Working Guides (shoutout @chughesjohnson for the inspiration) — you can only work well together if you know each other well.
17/ Encourage anti-perfection

If everything is perfect, it means you aren’t taking enough risk. I don’t think failure should be celebrated, but it’s critical to have an environment in which failure is acceptable.
18/ Only encourage anti-perfection after you have defined standards

Risk taking and standards should not be conflated —always have a gauge for taking risk and a separate threshold for performance. Everyone should know what this bar is and strive to keep the company above it.
19/ Curiosity is the best predictor of performance

I have noticed a direct correlation between the highly curious and high performers. Curiosity pushes you to continually evaluate how you are performing and what the mechanics that can be leveraged for improvement are.
20/ Work ethic can’t be taught

It’s not your job to teach work ethic. It’s your job to find people that have work ethic and create an environment where they want to contribute it.
21/ The best team has Rogers and Tigers

Tiger Woods was golfing as a 10 month old. Roger Federer's mom actively discouraged him from picking up a racket until his teens. Specialists + generalists by definition have different muscles. Together the best of them make magic.
22/ Use non-obvious metrics as heuristics for culture

Define your own gauge to judge your company’s culture. This is a highly personal exercise. I judge our culture by continuously asking myself, “How much pride would X feel if asked, “how’s work?” at a social event?”
23/ Celebrate the small wins

It’s too easy to keep pushing the baseline up. Small wins are critical to get you to where you want to go.
24/ Keep small wins in perspective

Celebrating small wins is critical; confusing and conflating the larger company goals with small wins is dangerous. Be transparent about overall challenges and show how the wins, while critical, are one step to larger goals.
25/ Don’t get too high or too low.

Stay on an even keel: Running a business is a roller coaster. Things are never as great as they seem and they surely aren’t as bad as they seem.
26/ Always lead with a strong face

This is something I have had to learn. Body posture, verbal cues and excitement start with me. It’s mandatory to bring high energy every day for your team.
27/ Do what makes sense for your scale:

This goes back to #1 on the list of defining your identity. Implement practices that make sense for you; there is a balance in being agile versus being process oriented. At every stage it’s a different formula.
28/ Start with imagination, end with logic

Painting a vision of the world you believe in is critical. Rooting that vision in tactical plans is how you differentiate between being a dreamer and a builder.
29/ Push your team to think exponentially

It is really counter-intuitive to think exponentially. But it’s so possible to be a company that drives exponential returns. Exponential thinking starts with you; if you don’t do it, nobody on the team will.
30/ Push your team to put things on paper

Brainstorming is awesome. It’s also incredibly susceptible to glossing over specifics. Push your team to get in the habit of putting the conversation down on paper and ironing out the kinks. This builds execution muscle.
31/ Business is a mind game

You have to believe you’re great to have a shot at being great: Draymond Green said it best.
32/ Underweight position and overweight momentum:

Position is a static point in time and is highly visible from the outside in. Momentum is literally impossible to diagnose from the outside in.
33/ The days are long, but the months are short

You never see impact in one day. If you get discouraged by lack of movement on a day-to-day basis you will lose. You have to consistently drive the right work to see impact over protracted periods of time.
34/ Inputs drive output 98% of the time

It’s really important to separate inputs (process) from output (outcomes). Every so often you will have a great outcome that seemingly comes out of nowhere — this is luck. Do not get seduced by it, because it is not repeatable.
35/ Think of process as a function of misalignment

It prevents you from driving the wrong level of process for your organization. It’s your job to use process as an accelerator, not detractor.
36/ Everyone hears you differently

Being a steward of alternative communication styles is not only powerful, it’s necessary. Effective communications causes you to take pause and look at the problem differently.
37/ Say the same thing at least 10 times if you want it to stick

If something is important, you need to say it at least 10 times. Once you realize that everyone has 20+ things they are consumed by daily, you understand how important it is to consistently repeat your message.
38/ Distinguish ‘the snack’ from ‘the full meal’

Information digestion is a function of form and forum. This goes back to #13 and the beauty of simplicity. Know when to give the highlights and when to go deep. There are appropriate times for both.
39/ Quickly learn what you are good at and double down on it

Amplifying strengths aligns with outsized impact. Double down on what you are good at, make room to be the leader of those things and hire people that have that same spike in areas you are not as good at.
40/ Self-awareness is an underrated mentality

Encourage everyone on your team to consistently take inventory of their strengths and weaknesses.
41/ Writing is an underrated skill

Narrative and text based communication is an extremely high leverage activity. If there was one superpower I could instill overnight into everyone in our company it would be 10x’ing writing ability.
42/ Pulse checks are an underrated company practice

Think of your company like a balance sheet, not an income statement. Consistently push for pulse checks to get a feel of how things are going; don’t wait until the end of the quarter to ask.
43/ Manage your personal energy

Leading a company is a marathon, not a sprint. If you treat it like a sprint, you will burn out.
44/ Take a step back and consistently reflect

You need to slow down to speed up. Extremely easy to say intellectually; incredibly difficult to appreciate in practice.
45/ Adopt an “it’s my fault” attitude

The more quickly you do this, the more quickly you orient your mind around problem solving, as opposed to being resentful. Encourage everyone on your team to always think this way.
46/ Everything is quite literally not your (or your team’s) fault

Be sure to distinguish these occurrences and make this clear to your team.
47/ Giving (deserved) praise is a LOT of fun and you can never do too much of it

Taking pride in company accomplishment is great; recognizing everyone who contributed to the accomplishment is 100x more gratifying. I’ve been most energized by recognizing and praising great work.
48/ Humans all want the same fundamental thing

At the end of the day, everyone wants the same thing: to feel fulfilled, have a sense of pride and enjoy what they're doing. Apply this principle to every interaction you have and you can get through the toughest of conversations.
49/ Genuine relationships move mountains

You will inevitably go through highs and lows as a team. Even if you have kept your personal perspective in check, there’s nothing quite like genuine relationships in the face of adversity.
50/ Create a support ecosystem for yourself

I’m lucky to have a great family as my supporters. It always helps to have someone provide an outside-in perspective when the day has been tough; it’s equally enjoyable to have someone to share news with when the day has been great.
51/ Don’t make lists of 50 because you’ll always fall one short :)

Jokes aside, don't forget to laugh at yourself and enjoy the journey. The destination will be forgotten; the journey will forever live on.

52/ So grateful to all the friends that have supported me and taught me along the way. CC: @fendien, @jerseejess, @schlaf, @BrentBeshore, @KatColeATL, @mrsrobinson_a, @rubenharris, @ShaanVP, @shaanh, @davidtisch, @bradleytusk, @cohnhead, @seanobrienATL, @arjunsethi and many more!
53/ CC’ing more friends - thank you for teaching/supporting me 😀

@mallun, @HarryStebbings, @jaltma, @JChillin, @saahilbigfoot, @MikeSlagh, @Keith_Wasserman, @lpolovets, @paul_arnold, @julien, @briannekimmel, @justindross, @AndrewYang

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More from @RomeenSheth

19 Nov
1/ Last night I tweeted that Atlanta is on absolute fire. 2,300+ liked the tweet. There’s a special energy building here. So what is going on in this “overnight success hub”? Hint - it’s been 15 years in the making. Time for a 🔥 thread 👇👇👇
2/ Atlanta has historically been a Fortune 500 town. Today Atlanta is home to 26 F1000 companies (16 F500) - household names like @UPS, @Delta, @CocaCola. All have been instrumental to “increasing the size of the pie” - these companies cumulatively do $500B+ in revenue annually.
3/ ATL has had tech success, but it's been few and far between. Meanwhile, something deeper has been happening. Specialized expertise has been sewed into the city’s fabric - logistics, aerospace, retail, payments. Atlanta goes toe to toe with any other city on vertical expertise.
Read 17 tweets
20 Apr 19
@sarthakgh @GLG @GoCatalant This is one of the best pieces I've seen (even though a bit dated) on explaining why consulting will get disrupted. @claychristensen is too good: hbr.org/2013/10/consul…. I saw this first hand at Mckinsey; the Firm was rapidly moving into adjacent markets to prevent disruption
@sarthakgh @GLG @GoCatalant @claychristensen And this @CBinsights report is money: cbinsights.com/research/disru…

I haven't really found good institutional reading on either company, but happy to give you a perspective on why the businesses work well (can trade over DM in more depth).
@sarthakgh @GLG @GoCatalant @claychristensen @CBinsights In short, there is massive inefficiency in the market. If I go to Company X, they charge $1,000 an hour and out of that work, 90+% is done by Employee Y (who makes $100 an hour), I can cut Company X, pay Employee Y $300 an hour and everybody is happy.
Read 17 tweets

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