Seeing the Larger Context

I heard a great story from Venkatesh Tadinada at last Friday’s Bootstrapper Breakfast in Palo Alto.

His startup had grown to where he was now managing a team of managers. Each manager was clear on the needs for his direct group and on what Venkatesh should do to help him solve the problems in his own area of responsibility, but Venkatesh needed them to appreciate the bigger picture of what would be required to help the business thrive. At a meeting with his managers he handed out six Rubik’s Cubes and asked each manager to get one face of the cube to a single color, giving each of them a different color to complete.

A few minutes passed and everyone was able to show their cube with one face of the correct color. He took out a seventh cube and asked them “how can I combine use these solutions to create a full solution to my cube?”

There was a moment of silence and he continued, “You see, this is what you are doing today, you are bringing me a solution that works for your team without regard to what the entire company needs to be able to go forward. Please consider this larger context when you make requests or suggest changes or propose solutions.”

What have you done to as your startup grows to maintain an appreciation for the different perspectives needed for continued success?

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