December 2021 – Year three in review

The first issue of the newsletter went out in February 2019. So this is the end of year three. I played around with the format again this year (longer write-ups, shorter ones, none at all), but I pretty much kept the content to about ten entries every time.

The most opened emails this year were the months of


And the most popular entries of the year were the following:


There is a perfect number of hours to work every day.


Performance evaluation does not tell the whole story. Nor does personality. Managers operate in four domains. Each domain has its own set of demands. They should be revisited periodically.


Management can at times seem like staring down a large block of marble. And most management advice tends to focus on tackling the biggest chunks — but sculpting a magnificent piece of art also relies on the finer chiseling work that tend to be overlooked. First Round asked its community for “the small things a great manager has done that have stood out to you across your career”. They retained 25 tactics and organized them around 8 topics.


Some companies are better suited to Agile than others. Those who aren’t a good fit and yet shoehorn themselves into the model risk burning money as well as upending organizational culture with little to show for their effort. Some questions to ponder.


It works in negotiations. And it works in conversations: the silent pause.


A back-to-school parody of going back to the office:


Something you can do at the office when you get back. Let’s call it the Curiosity Activity. It’s simple: just create a sign like the one you’re seeing below and place it in the most conspicuous in the office. The other tools required for this activity to work will become apparent once you watch it. And, yes, you will have to “lead by example” 😉


What makes a great manager isn’t the problems they solve, but the questions they ask.

Wade foster, CEO of Zapier, recommends we start with these 16 questions.

My faves (and the first ones to ask):

  • What’s at stake here?
  • What would happen if you didn’t do anything at all?


You’re struggling to develop one of your team members? Consider this: you might first have to help them become more coachable.


Mental health professionals recommend that the return be slow.


And then there was the Joy Generator. Go ahead and try it. Come on, no one is watching… and I won’t tell.

Thanks for reading! And thank you for your comments and suggestions as well as the conversations that have ensued. As long as the newsletter serves its original purpose and leads to enlightening conversations, I will continue to publish it… in 2022 and beyond!

My best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!


p.s. And until we together overcome this virus and its variants, please get your shots (I meant your vaccines) and be like the girl with a pearl earring…