Tag Archive for: Advice

Don Charlton Breeds a ‘Culture of Candor’

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Don Charlton is the CEO of Jazz, a recruiting software firm. Recently interviewed for Adam Bryant’s Corner Office segment, Charlton discusses the challenges of succeeding in business as a black man and how that has shaped the culture of his business. Ranging from asking very direct questions to acknowledging the dog-eat-dog nature of business, his management style is blunt and hands-on. Here are some other key points Charlton had during his interview:

  • Be Self-Aware: “So you want the candidate to recognize the aspects of themselves where they can be confident and the parts they’re going to need for them to be successful in a new company.”
  • Be Prepared for Self-Improvement: “If you failed at this job in your first 90 days, what things wouldn’t you be doing well? And what don’t you know, but know you need to know, in order to be successful at this job?”
  • Ask Others How They Got to Where They Are: “The more you know about those journeys, the more people you talk to — just asking a simple question like “How did you end up getting into this career?” — the more you’ll start to recognize when the ground under your feet is moving you in a particular direction.”
  • Be Direct: “One thing is the culture of candor. After we have a big meeting with all of our employees, I might say, ‘Hey, you know that conversation that you’re going to have over lunch or at the bar where you might say, ‘Why don’t we do such and such?’ Well, that’s the question you should ask right now.'”

This “culture of candor” conditions employees to be ready for the challenges that are brought on by the nature of business. Hammering out weaknesses before they become relevant is key to success, and we believe Charlton’s culture does just that.

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

7 Smart Questions to Ask At the End of Every Job Interview


At the end of every job interview, most people know that they should ask questions. It shows that you’re interested and gives you valuable information, but what do you ask? Here are 7 great questions to ask during your next interview:

  • What do you like most about working for this company? They’ll tell you what they value most and you can see if you value the same things.
  • How has this position evolved? Their response will tell you if the job is a dead end.
  • Can you give me examples of how I would collaborate with my manager? Their response will tell you how staff members are used and if you can showcase your skills.
  • What are the first priorities for this position? Helps you know what to focus on if you get the job and how to make a good first impression.
  • What are the challenges of this position? This helps  you know what you’re facing and if they don’t list any challenges, be very suspicious.
  • What have past employees done to succeed in this role? This gives you an idea of how the company measures success.
  • Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? This shows that you are secure enough to discuss your weaknesses.

Read the entire article here

The Upside of Being Replaceable


Kristin Muhlner is the chief executive of New Brand Analytics , a social-media-monitoring company used to improve brand loyalty and acquire new customers. Adam Bryant from the New York Times recently sat down with Muhlner and discussed what she learned from being a C.E.O, what to look for when hiring employees, and what culture means to her. Here are some great points from the article:

  • Developing personal connections with your employees can be emotionally draining: “You always want to be one of those leaders who care deeply about their staff and look after them, but at some point you have to make the shift and say you’re going to do the right thing for the business
  • Don’t always assume that people know everything“But people just have this incredible thirst to be connected, and they need multiple reinforcing points of communication. I have to remind myself over and over not to assume that everyone knows something.”
  • Seek out a meritocracy: “If you find a meritocracy and you’re highly ambitious and you want to drive your career forward, then nothing’s going to get in your way”
  • Don’t wear “busy” as a badge of honor: “We’ve become crazy about being crazy, and I’m stunned at how many people are absolutely exhausting themselves. It’s important to figure out how to be ruthlessly efficient and disciplined with your time, and do only those hings that matter”

To read the article in it’s entirely, click here.

A Good Excuse Doesn’t Fix a Problem


Brent Frei is the executive chairman and co-founder of Smartsheet.com, a provider of online project management. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Frei talks about early management, what to look for when hiring employees, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are some points from the interview:

  • Work together as a team to become a successful leader: “There are a lot of really successful ways to be a leader, but the only way I know how to do it is to be a part of the team. You get people on board, convince them about the right thing to do, get lots of input and ultimately drive to our goal.”
  • Hiring the right way will result in leadership: “If we hire right, there’s no managing; it’s just leading. And there’s a big difference between leading and managing. Leadership is: “We’ve got  problem everybody. We are all smart people. Lets figure out how we’re going to solve it. Let’s divvy up the pieces and lets go do them “.”
  • Intelligence and a quick understanding is valued: “I look for people who are bright and have a high “get-it” factor. That means they’re quick studies, so I’m talking about something really complex, they’ll say, “Got it”.
  • Don’t do it unless you really mean it: “If you’re not willing to eat rice and beans, and to get your wife and kids to eat rice and beans, don’t bother, because somewhere along the way, it’s going to be that hard. You have to have that mentality. Otherwise, it can be really difficult.”

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.

Picking Up and Running With Your Dreams


Alastair Mitchell is the chief executive of Huddle, a cloud-based collaboration software company co-headquartered in London and San Francisco. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Mitchell spoke about his early management lessons, how to handle tough situations, and advice for college students. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Learn how to empower people and give positive feedback: “knowing when to let them take risks and when not to criticize them too hard if things go wrong. You have to back them up and then say, That didn’t work, so how are we going to improve it next time?”
  • When faced with difficult decisions, what would we regret not doing in life?: “What would happen if I were to walk out across from your building and cross the street, and a big red bus is coming the other way and I don’t see it. In that brief moment before it hits me, what would be the thing that I would regret not doing? Whenever I’m faced with difficult decisions, I always apply the big red bus test. Instinctively, people know the right answer, but it can be buried under so many layers of doubt and questions. Starting my own business came from one of those moments. ”
  • Motivate yourself and think outside of the box: “I look for people who think big, who are motivated and who have the entrepreneurial instinct. In my questioning, I’m looking for almost the rough edges — the things on their résumé that look different or reveal an inner drive.”
  • Trust who you are and listen to your gut: “Go big or go home. And just trust yourself. Whatever your gut instinct is, you’ll probably be right seven or eight times out of 10. So just go with your gut. What you’ll regret more is the fact that you haven’t gone with your gut. ”

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.

Adopting a “Subcontractor” Approach to Managing

Paula Long

Paula Long is the CEO of DataGravity, a data management firm based out of New Hampshire that emphasizes mutual accountability. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Long spoke about her unique management techniques, the importance of mutual accountability, and her interesting approach to interviewing. Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • After you become a manager, nobody really works for you. In fact, you really work for them.
  • It’s your job to help people be successful; it’s not your job to make them successful.
  • It’s important to assert what you’re good at and why it matters.
  • Work out when it’s OK to micromanage, and when it’s not.
  • Consider a “subcontractor” approach to managing. By creating individual, contract-like, relationships between staff and managers, each party approaches the contract agreeing to put in equal amounts of effort in good faith.
  • When it comes to interviewing, consider asking “stupid questions” to see how a candidate answers. Try making false statements to see if a candidate corrects you, or pick a fight to see how they react to conflict.
  • When advising college graduates, Long emphasizes that it’s OK not to know what you want to do. Don’t cut off the ability to explore. Remember, it’s harder to explore as you get older as you have different commitments.

Click here to view the interview in full.

“Is it the cards, or how you play them?”


Narinder Singh is the president of “Topcoder,” a company that administers computer-programming competitions. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Singh spoke about his early management experiences, leadership lessons, and hiring processes.

Here are some points we took away from the interview:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of stereotypes: Try to understand when you could use stereotypes and when it’s important to break and challenge them. “I started looking hard at the assumptions I was making about people, and what assumptions they were making about me.”
  • Ask “Was it the hand, or how you played it?”: If you stumble because of the cards you’re dealt, “you should get better cards… But if you played them badly, you need to think about how to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
  • Admire leaders that aren’t afraid to be challenged: People have to feel that the best idea wins. “If I have somebody working for me who’s really good, I should lose 80% of the arguments I have with them because they should know their area better than I do.”
  • Ask how a candidate travels: “Are you a get-there-early-for-the-flight person, or a barely-make-it-in-time person?” Then find out WHY! You want to understand how a candidate looks at the world.
  • Everyone has a unique perspective: “When you meet somebody, pull every piece of insight you can out of them.” You never know what you’ll learn!

Click here to view the full article in The New York Times.

The Best Financial Advice for Small Business Owners Now



When it comes to managing your small business, these 3 tips should be considered closely:

1) Access Capital Now;

2) Engage Rather Than Employ;

3) Have A Lean Start-Up.


Click here to view the whole article VIA Forbes.