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Focus on Your First 10 Systems, Not Just Your First 10 Hires - This Chief of Staff Shares His Playbook

First Round Review
First Round Review
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Systems create an environment where people can do their best work. While early hires set the implicit norms, early systems set the explicit norms. What are examples of good systems?

Operating Cadence

  • Aka. Goal setting or OKRs.
  • Has 3 "speeds" (annual, quarterly, and weekly) built on 2 components (sources of truth and rituals).
  • Annual planning:
    • Sources of truth: company scorecards.
    • Ritual: annual planning summits.
  • Quarterly planning:
    • Sources of truth: scorecards+WAR Tables
    • Ritual: quarterly business reviews
  • Weekly planning:
    • Source of truth: corporate reporting pack
    • Ritual: Exec. team weekly meeting
  • Focusing too much "sources of truth" and not "rituals" leads to a confusion of company priorities.

Writing and Decision Documentation

  • A way to document decisions and get buy-in before moving into implementation.
  • 2 core documents are the product requirement document (PRD) and the request for comment (RFC)
  • PRD - defining the problem
    1. Provide context.
    2. Simplify the user research into clear problem statements.
    3. Make a list of requirements that the engineering RFC should satisfy.
  • RFC - scoping the solution
    1. Provide background so readers can get the full context of why a change is necessary.
    2. Write a proposal for different aspects of implementation.
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