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User Manual: Joel Trammell


Cofounder & Chief Strategy Officer, Manager360

1. I assume you know what you are doing unless proven otherwise. I won’t hound you about details or constantly check on your progress. I think you are better at the job than I would be. I expect you, as an executive, to be autonomous and perform at a high level.

2. I don’t hand out praise profusely (I am sure it has something to do with my childhood). If you don’t feel you know how you are doing, you may want to ask. I will tell you. If I say you are doing great, I mean you are doing great, no BS.

This doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to your performance. I will judge your performance in three fundamental ways:

  • your performance as a member of the executive team—we are going to run the company, not just me
  • your ability to attract and retain great talent in your organization
  • the performance of your department based on the metrics and goals that we agree are important for your success

3. I am highly competitive and expect to win in everything we do.
Just because I don’t run around yelling and screaming doesn’t mean I am not passionate about the cause. I believe the race is a marathon, not a sprint, but I DO believe it is a race. I expect to see you compete and win.

4. I expect that you, as an executive, will be able to balance the concerns of shareholders, employees, and customers and not just represent the view of your department.

5. If you never disagree with me, you are not adding value. When you disagree, I need to hear your opinion.

6. I am busy, but that is not a reason for you not to engage me. Your performance is my number-ONE responsibility, so engage me whenever appropriate.

7. Don’t complain to subordinates about other groups and how they do their job. It reflects poorly on you as an executive. Executives solve problems. If you have a complaint about another group, bring it to me immediately. If you think something can be done better, let me know now.

8. I don’t need to be engaged if you are making a decision within your area of responsibility that won’t sink the ship. If you want my opinion, I will give it, but don’t feel the need to get approval within your scope.

9. I expect you to work for me if it is in your best interests to do so. It is my job to always make it in your best interests. If you find it is not in your best interests, please let me know. You don’t owe me your loyalty. I will be happy to provide my honest opinion of what is best for your career.

10. If I leave during the middle of a discussion with you or your team, it is not because I don’t care or am upset. It is because I don’t believe I have anything to add, and I have confidence in you to solve the problem.

11. I am very direct in my conversation. Some people overreact to this style and try to read between the lines; there is no space between the lines. “I don’t like the report” means “I don’t like the report,” not “I am about to fire you.”

12. I prefer face-to-face communications. My second choice is email. My least favorite is phone. I like being able to confirm visually that I am understanding what you are saying.

13. Be simple and clear in communications. If you need me to make a decision, call it out. Don’t make me read a novel to figure out the punchline. Give me the punchline, and then include the novel if you like.

14. I favor action over strategy; do something even if it is wrong. Fail fast and then correct course.