The startup bridge

Super Bosses Playbook

Any company got super bosses, but do we know who they are?
How can we find them?

Think on SNL and their amazing process to share talent and collaborate while each team member needs to push her parts so they will be aired.

I enjoyed this book by Sydney Finkelstein (Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dart­mouth College). In this book, he analyzes the qualities that are shared by rockstar leaders who’ve transformed entire industries. They share a common approach to finding, nurturing, leading, and even letting go of great people. He used few interesting examples from different fields like football coach Bill Walsh, restaurateur Alice Waters, technol­ogy CEO Larry Ellison and fashion guru Ralph Lauren.

What super bosses are doing?

  • Looks after talent all the time – They are always ‘hiring’. Everywhere. They see their role as identifying promising newcomers, inspiring them to do their best and launching them into successful careers.
  • Hiring without a job description – They are evaluating on several levels: both IQ and EQ, creativity, flexibility and competitiveness.
  • Focus on cohort effect – They strongly encourage collegiality even as they simultaneously drive internal competition. How to you combine collaboration and competition?
    Well one example is Lorne Michaels.
    She set up Saturday Night Live so that writers and performers are judged by how much of their material actually gets on the air, but they can’t get anything on the air without the support of their coworkers.
  • Got great talent – how do you motivate? They inspire their teams by making people feel spacial.
  • Love a good fight – A good arguments is valuable and encourage. They creating an environment where people feel that can say what they really think.
  • Creativity – They do it daily. It’s a process that in order to get  better at it, you must practice more and more.
  • A master apprentice relationships – They customize their coaching to what each protégé really needs, and also are constant founts of practical wisdom.
  • Say goodbye on good terms – Similar idea to The Alliance of Reid Hoffman. Nobody likes it when great employees quit, but super­ bosses don’t respond with anger or resentment. They know that former direct reports can become highly valuable members of their network, especially as they rise to major new roles elsewhere. 

Get more insights from the talk below that he gave recently at Google:


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