THE PIONEERING LEADER HANDBOOK
YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE OF PROVEN FRAMEWORKS AND TECHNIQUES DESIGNED FOR INNOVATIVE COMPANIES
PRE-SEED TO SERIES A
SERIES B OR LATER STAGE
HOW TO CREATE SELF-MANAGING TEAMS THAT DELIVER RESULTS, SO THAT YOU CAN FOCUS ON LEADING YOUR COMPANY TO SUCCESS
Welcome, pioneering company leader! I’m happy that you stopped by and here’s why: when I first sought to be the best leader and to guide others towards achieving the greatest impact, meaning, riches and fame... well, IT WASN'T SMOOTH AT ALL...
What you’re about to read is a concise summary of all of my learnings across 5 years at Google and 7 years leading 3 startups to successful Exits. It was glorious, but it wasn’t all pretty. The mistakes -and thankfully the learnings- were numerous and were tough...
I won’t promise you that I’ll make everything easy. But I will spare you my mistakes. I will save you years of learning by trial and error, of wasted opportunities, of lost time, of stressful catastrophes. And I will teach you what 3 very different pioneering companies had in common: the best practices that led to their eventual Exits and their success!
Below you’ll find links to all the chapters. This isn’t just a bunch of theories, it’s all rooted in authoritative research and personal experience. It’s the real deal. Feel free to start from wherever - Leadership, Management, Fundraising, Sales, Hiring: each article is self-contained and will be useful and pragmatic - perhaps even transformative for you!
I put this together because no matter how many books I’ve read, none really gave me everything I needed to know as a startup leader. Some were too generic and better suited for established corporates (e.g. The McKinsey Way). Others were delightfully startup-focused but too product-centric (The Lean Startup, anyone?) or too strategy-centric (Zero to One comes to mind). Don’t get me wrong, those were all AMAZING books that shaped me as an innovator and a leader. But what about a pragmatic how-to guide for running a startup successfully across strategy, profits, and people? You’re looking at it.
Great Leadership isn’t a nice to have for innovative companies: it’s necessary for survival. It’s the only thing that will allow you to hire right, ship product, win clients, avoid bankruptcy and fulfill your mission!
And yet, Great Leadership for pioneering companies is so misunderstood that it took me 7 years of research and experimentation to discover what really works and what doesn’t. So I’ve now decided to compile the best techniques and frameworks I’ve found into a concise, practical guide.
Apply the behaviours in this guide, and you’ll be in the top 1% of leaders out there! You’re welcome :)
WTF is PMF: why most startups fail before figuring out product market fit (coming in March)
Leading In The VUCA World - Through Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, And Ambiguity (coming in June)
Making Better Decisions - Applying First Principles At Speed (coming in July)
Who’s the best manager? A manager who can trust their team to deliver results on time and on budget, with minimal supervision.
Here’s my guide to building self-managing teams who embody accountability and apply creative problem solving. What do they want in exchange? Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery according to Daniel Pink’s best selling book, Drive. From my clients’ experience and my own, I’ll add that they also want appreciation and mentoring to progress their career in the direction that would give them the most satisfaction.
If that all sounds good, this chapter is for you:
Translating Company Direction to Department Objectives (coming in February)
Cascading Department Objectives to Individual KPIs (coming in March)
Managing Smart People: Inspire Purpose and Give Autonomy, without Losing Visibility and Control (coming in March)
Don’t Teach, Coach: a How To Guide (coming in March)
Escalations: The Art of Preventing Things from Going Off The Rails (coming in April)
The Most Common Management Mistake: the Lack of Explicit “Contracting” (coming in April)
How To Get Your Team To Read Your Mind (i.e. Manage You) (coming in April)
EQ - Crash Course in Emotional Intelligence (coming in June)
Helping Your Team with Their Career Growth (coming in February)
FUNDRAISING & SALES: PITCHING A DREAM
All Entrepreneurship comes down to the ability to sell. To sell one’s vision to Investors in order to raise funds. To sell one’s product or service to customers to make a profit. To sell one’s life work to an acquirer (or to the stock market) to have an Exit and pop the champagne (finally!).
“Build it and they will come,” the erroneous mantra of the early Internet age has been spectacularly debunked by the 2000’s dot-com crash. And yet, according to Peter Thiel too many pioneering companies are super strong on the product side (which is great) and not so much on the sales side (which isn’t great at all).
Thankfully, sales is my craft. I’ve learned it from the greatest mentors and trainers, practiced it for 20,000 hours, and ultimately distilled the greatest techniques for pioneering companies. Here’s the name of the game: to sell something unproven or unbuilt, and to get the maximum out of the deal even when you have no leverage. If that’s what you’re after (and it should be), I’ve got you covered:
Presentation Building To Secure VC Funding, Round After Round (After Round… You Get It) (coming in March)
Presentation Building To Win Clients - Especially Those Elusive First Ones! (coming in June)
Negotiating And Winning… With No Leverage (coming in June)
Presentation Delivery - How To Approach It Like a Professional Athlete (coming in July)
Building a Sensible Go To Market and Commercialisation Plan: A How-To Guide (coming in July)
Having the right team makes or breaks a business. And yet, most Leaders lament that they have people with the wrong DNA, culture fit, soft skills, sometimes even hard skills.
Why so many underinvest in educating themselves on “how to hire right”, I don’t know. I know that the angst of getting the right team in place used to consume me. Because I experienced the devastating effects of having the wrong people onboard.
So in order to spare you that kind of pain, the final section of my guide will focus on recruitment, and the method you can follow to always hire the best people you can find. Sit back and enjoy the ride:
Culture: What Is It And Much Can You Shape It? (coming in May)
How To Hire Well For Culture, Soft Skills, And Hard Skills You Don’t Possess (coming in May)
The Best Hiring Process: Design The Stages, Pick Your Committee, Always Encourage & Always Find A Weakness (coming in May)
There you have it. I’m super excited to share all of this with you and I'll tell you why. They say that instructional books mainly help their authors. And that’s partly true: I'm having a ridiculous amount of fun putting this together. Because I’m sorting things out through my brain, it’s therapeutic and as I retrace my sources (which span very diverse thought leaders from Aristotle to Steve Jobs to my former CEOs to the Dalai Lama), it’s been a delightful trip down memory lane. But this is not just reminiscence: it’s the joy of helping others quickly reach my level of knowledge, skill, and awareness… and to see them exceed it. And that feeling is even better!
If you’ve read even a single one of the articles linked above, you know that I’m committed to quality and substance. It takes me days to write a single article, and it took me years to accrue the knowledge needed to put pen to paper. If you see the value in that and you don’t want to miss the new stuff I put out weekly, you can subscribe now by tapping here below: