Newsletter – September 30, 2010

Want to receive tips like this emailed to you each month? Sign up here.

Shaping your culture, hiring tips, tyrannical leaders, and more

Hello friends,

With summer behind us and fall underway, your thoughts are no doubt turning to … management!

Well, maybe not, but I hope you’ll enjoy the resources in this email.

Here are six resources to check out —

1. Setting Expectations for New Hires

One group we work with,, sends this memo to prospective senior hires to capture how things work in the organization so candidates know what they’re committing to. The details for your organization will differ from what’s described here, but we love how explicit this is about expectations. Take a look and see if something like this would help you capture, and shape, your culture — whether for new hires or even your current staff.

2. Cultural Food for Thought from Netflix

For another example of explicit culture-setting, see this provocative guide that Netflix uses to introduce new and prospective employees to its culture. It covers the “keeper test” Netflix managers use, “brilliant jerks,” their five-word expense policy (“act in Netflix’s best interests”), and much more. Even if your culture doesn’t line up with Netflix’s, there’s a lot in here to stimulate thinking.

3. What’s More Important – Good Leadership or Good Management? 

If you’re like us and think the two concepts aren’t so easily distinguished, you’ll love this piece, “True Leaders Are Also Managers,” at the Harvard Business Review blog. (The punchline: “A leader needs to understand what it takes to do things right, and to make sure they actually get done.”)

4. Reference Check Questions That Produce the Information You Really Want

If you’re like many managers, you struggle to make reference checks produce truly useful information. Our list of reference questions can help you dig beneath the surface to get answers that go beyond general platitudes. For instance, provide options where there’s no “bad” choice and ask the reference to select the choice that sounds most like the candidate, e.g., “Some people thrive in fast-paced environments but might err on the side of losing precision, whereas others are incredibly precise but do better when there’s more time to focus on their work — which sounds more like Susan?”

5. Writing Job Postings that Don’t Suck

We often see managers who have incredible opportunities on their teams, but who write job announcements filled with “bureaucratese” that take the life out of the role.  Our friend Alison Green blogs about how to convey a little enthusiasm in your job descriptions here.

6. My Soapbox:  A New Kind of Progressive Organization

…in which I rail against the extremes of both tyrant-led organizations and touchy-feely ones, and describe the heartening rise of leaders and organizations capable of getting and sustaining results by marrying rigor and accountability with openness and empowerment.

If you have a great tool you use or have seen a particularly useful article, we’d love to see it. If we feature it in an upcoming email, you’ll get not just glory but also a great gift!

I hope you find these items useful … and that you’ll check out our new online resource library for more helpful stuff.



Jerry Hauser


The Management Center

return to newsletter archives