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The best advice I ever got from a venture capitalist.

Coach Tony
Coach Tony
#1. Very good advice for a new manager.
A long time ago I was interviewing to manage the engineering team at a startup. This team included Jack Dorsey, who built the first version of Twitter on that team. But I was woefully lacking in experience and so I was just very direct during my interview about being ready to grow. 
So I asked one of the board members, a very successful venture capitalist, “How would you hope that I’ll grow in this job?”
He gave a great answer. “The emotion will go out of saying no. Young managers know what decision to make, but they get hung up out of fear of letting someone down. They burn a lot of time and cycles fretting. Don’t do that. Make the decision you think is best and move on.”
That’s the first time I heard a variant of Brené Brown’s “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind.”
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#2. In order to say no respectfully, you first need respect. 
If you only set boundaries and push your ideas on people, then you will lose them. First, you need to listen and care. You can’t do that silently — you have to do it in a way that’s visible and felt by the people you manage. 
I liked this framing from Argue Like a Buddha: The 4 Skillful Responses to Conflict by Joe Hunt. Being direct to be kind is to be a “destroyer.”
Before being a destroyer, it’s first necessary to have the patience and wisdom to pacify, enrich, and magnetize. Through this, you establish a level of trust and a solid foundation for being firm and forceful — when and if necessary.
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#3. We won because “All the parts fit.” 
I’m from San Francisco and live in Brooklyn, so I get to follow two very talented but very different teams. The Brooklyn Nets started the season with three superstars, but obviously no chemistry. They didn’t make the playoffs.
The San Francisco Warriors started the team with a lot of talent that’s getting old and coming off injuries. But the coach and the captains have bought into role clarity. Everyone knows and embraces their role, and everyone cheers each other for filling those roles. 
I watched the Warriors win last night to advance to the Championship. Their leader, Steph Curry, explained why, “All the parts fit.”
It’s an example of overlooking chemistry to focus on talent. 
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(I didn't get around to closing down early bird pricing for Habit Coach Certification. So you have until Saturday morning to sign up at the reduced rate. Afterward, the price goes up to $500. More details here.)

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Coach Tony
Coach Tony @tonystubblebine

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