Relationship-building counts as work

“Relationship-building counts as work.”  That’s a great quote from in the latest article from First Round Capital Review: 23 Tools to Make Feedback Meaningful.  As Phin Barnes writes:

A lot of people skimp on the time they spend in one-on-ones or feedback sessions. They might dash off a few notes if they’re solicited, or think deeply about it once a year or once a quarter around performance reviews. But, generally speaking, we ignore people in our culture of hustle and growth. Building a real human connection doesn’t seem to count as productivity …

Not everything requires a concrete action to move the ball forward. When you learn you can be honest with your manager, or as a manager you learn that you can be open and candid with a teammate, work is being accomplished. In fact, doing this will make everything that you achieve going forward that much easier, faster and more effective. You’ll get what you put into it over time — you just won’t know when.

There some other great advice in the article for managers and individual contributors:

Assume the best intentions from your teammates and start with the belief that everyone wants the company to do great work. Envision yourself as part of this broader effort.

Don’t worry if your idea doesn’t win as long as the best idea wins. You will have more ideas.

Don’t try to make something perfect before offering it up for feedback. Adopt a napkin sketch mindset and check in with your manager along the way to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. The final result will turn out better, faster.

I’ve noticed that there’s a real battle going on between the VCs these days to put out the best engineering and product management content.  First Round Capital, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures are all putting out awesome content.  I can only assume they’ve realized that it’s a great way to get mind-share and to speak to leaders in startups.


About brendansterne

Sr Director, Product Incubator
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