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High-Output Management for Remote Teams and Companies Part I – ReadWrite



High-Output Management for Remote Teams and Companies Part I - ReadWrite

In the last post in my series about running remote-first companies, I wrote about onboarding remote engineers and setting them up for success. It is paramount that new talent gets off to the right start if you want your organization to scale effectively.

After you onboard someone and get them integrated into your team, your ability to manage for high-performance becomes the next make-or-break challenge. Whether your company has one remote team or multiple teams focused on various initiatives, effective remote team management in your business is essential to achieving long term success. In the next two posts, I’ll explain to manage remote teams and how you can take my tactics and apply them to your company.

But first, what are the characteristics of a high-performance remote team?

“In simple terms, high-performance teams know what their goals are, and they consistently meet or exceed them.”

The statement may sound incredibly simple — and it is. But managers that consistently deliver day over day, year over year, especially when your company may have many teams working on an array of objectives, isn’t an accident. In my experience, the highest performing teams have managers that tend to take a very structured approach towards working with their people.

My approach – communicate goals, create a quarterly roadmap, and develop trackable monthly OKRs

At Turing, for example, we make sure that we communicate our goals clearly to the teams. Everyone aligns on what’s important. The strategy for achieving those goals is also communicated and understood by everybody. Progress is tracked with periodic check-ins and course corrections when we determine something is off-track.

We have a quarterly product roadmap. The product roadmap forms the basis for planning what we want to ship for every quarter, the major technical features, major product releases that we want to do in, say, vetting, matching, and post-match. Then we build this product roadmap by quarter. That’s an excellent forcing function for our quarterly boundaryless product events, where we show off the major tentpole features and product improvements that we shipped that quarter. Upon completion, we move on to the next quarter. Holding the events gives us a nice operational cadence.

The workflow for the process looks like this:

– Determine Quarterly Goals – We derive this from the company’s annual operating plan

– Create a quarterly roadmap with 1-3 key priorities for that quarter

– Develop monthly OKRs

– Communicate all the above company-wide

– Schedule Check-points

– Course correct in weekly OKR reviews, if check-points reveal something is off-track

– Ship continuously and announce publicly in quarterly product event

– Repeat

A word about OKRs

After we have a roadmap for what we want to accomplish in a quarter, we break that down into monthly OKRs, so every month, we have clear goals on what we want to achieve with each product. An OKR is a structured, time-bound, specific goal. Every OKR has a clear definition of done, so it’s obvious if we hit the goal or not.

Let’s say the objective is to grow our customer base. The key results might be, “Get 70 leads from the startup segment and get 30 leads from the enterprise segment.” We’re looking for measurable and specific that tracks whether we’re making progress towards that goal.

We set monthly OKRs. Our executive team then takes those OKRs and communicates them within their part of the organization. Then, every week I work with our executive team to track how we are doing relative to those goals in every function at Turing.

For us, tracking means evaluating performance against OKRs in sourcing, vetting, matching, post-match, sales, customer success, etc. So we can track week on week how we’re doing relative to our objectives. And suppose we detect that some goal is at risk of not being met. In that case, this lets us quickly figure out solutions to get back on track. To get back on track we either deploy more resources to solve that problem, or try a different strategy, or, in sporadic cases — we redefine the goals. Maybe we were off, and we incorrectly estimated what was achievable in that month and redoing that.

One element of being able to complete the goal is coming up with a clear goal in the first place — for the company, and a strategy to achieve it. Then, there’s another element that breaks down the pursuit of that goal into monthly or quarterly milestones, so you’re continually calibrating in terms of where you are relative to those objectives. You will want weekly check-ins with your team to troubleshoot anything that might be blocking the successful attainment of that goal.

If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist

At Turing, one thing that helps is making sure that everything is written down. Certainly, this sounds obvious — but all of this must be written down so it can be unambiguously interpreted and shared company-wide. Often, writing forces clarity of thought and simplicity of communication since you can go back and refine what you wrote. We share the product roadmap deck that company-wide.

Our OKRs are on a spreadsheet we share across the entire company. We make sure all the primary metrics in the company are visible to everyone.

Every month, we create a PNP deck (Progress, Next scaling bottleneck, and Priorities) that I and the executive team share company-wide.

Everybody knows what progress the company makes, the company’s big priorities, and our next scaling bottleneck. What bottleneck do we have to solve to get to the next level? The PNP is so clearly written down that it has the nice effect of focusing everyone’s energy in the right direction.

Too often, in startups where there’s no clear communication, there’s a lack of focus and dissipation of energy. There are many smart people, but but without clear direction and focus –they’ll all pull in different directions.

If  your team is pulling in differing direction you don’t apply sufficient critical mass to the most significant challenges. There’s a ton of advantage that comes from focusing energy on those key leverage points.

Instill a “challenge-accepted” culture

It’s important to instill a culture in your teams of not running away from challenges. Too often, companies can get into the spiral of wanting to look good for their investors, so they only talk about what’s working well, and what things they can brag about. At Turing, we do the opposite. We figure out the biggest blocker for speed for each month -we identify what that is, put it front and center, share it company-wide internally and attack it.

Our practice makes sure that the problem is receiving the right amount of mental energy and intellectual cycles from everyone on the team. We hold ourselves accountable for solving that problem because we have to.

Then, in our monthly post-mortem, we share how we did against that next scaling bottleneck. We also share this information with our investors and we share the information internally.

We have seen that completing the post-mortem has the advantage that the entire company moves, almost like one organism, in pursuit of the goals — and they are ready to the next hill to climb.

In the end, it comes down to having a clear plan, communicating that plan, and then having the right checkpoints in place to track whether you are making progress towards your objectives.

How company strategy leads to high performing teams

One thing I’m working on right now is creating a strategy document for the company. I plan to share that document with the entire company. Way too often, companies don’t articulate something like a strategy document. When you’re small, strategy documentation matters less — but as your company gets bigger, these things matter to get everyone aligned.

Strategy vs. Goals

A strategy is very different from a goal. Your strategy cannot be “get to 200 active FTEs,” for example. That’s not a strategy; that’s a goal.

Your strategy is the insight you have about the problem that shapes your approach to achieving the goal. Goals refer to “where do we need to go?” Strategy shapes the question, “How are we going to get there?” It’s helpful to understand the difference between goals and strategy in more detail.

To give you an analogy, let’s say you are building a sports car. The goal might be to make the car go zero to 60 in under three seconds. Now, that’s a goal, but the strategy to get there needs to have steps applied. 1. Make the engine more powerful — my doing this and this and this. 2. Make the car lighter by using (these) different materials. 3. Make the car more aerodynamic by doing — this and this.”

Eliminate some strategies that you find are not feasible. Maybe making the engine faster is not feasible under the cost or weight constraints you have, so you’ll take that part out. And we tell everybody, “hey, we’re going to go from zero to 60 in under three seconds. The way we are going to make this car go that fast is by using lighter materials and improving the aerodynamic profile.”

Strategy is…

So, your strategy is about aiming people’s energy in the right direction to get to the goal. For my company, similarly, I’m writing the strategy document to help us align on what we need to do to win and reach our goal. What is it going to take, and what do we focus on? And what are some ways in which — if we perform these tasks — we will achieve compounding benefits over time? It’s going to get harder and harder for competitors to catch us if we invest in these strategic areas.

To run a high-performance organization and a high-performance team, it’s important to communicate the goal, the strategy to get to the goal, and the meaningful checkpoints to track how you’re performing relative to your goals. Remember that you need to be continually revisiting whether this is the right strategy. Sometimes market conditions will change, or you learn something new about the market that you didn’t know before — and you have to quickly pivot and adapt.

For a deeper dive into this area, particularly related to understanding what you should measure to know if you’re on track, I highly recommend High Output Management by Andrew Grove, the former CEO and Chairman of Intel.

Wrap Up Part I

In this installment you have learned about high-performance teams’ characteristics, why it’s crucial to establish and communicate goals, and how to use check-points to confirm that you’re on track quarter-over-quarter.

You have learned how creating a culture of running towards challenges is critical to developing high-performance teams. Finally, you have learned the key distinction between goals and strategy.

In the second installment, we’ll look at the two types of decisions and who should make them. We’ll dig into my thoughts about having and maintaining a culture of feedback. Finally, I’ll give you my blueprint for building a high-performance organization with high-performance teams. Please stay tuned.

Image Credit: waldemar-brandt; unsplash

Jonathan Siddharth

Jonathan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage remote developers. Turing uses data science to automatically source, vet, match, and manage remote developers from all over the world.
Turing has 160K developers on the platform from almost every country in the world. Turing’s mission is to help every remote-first tech company build boundaryless teams.
Turing is backed by Foundation Capital, Adam D’Angelo who was Facebook’s first CTO & CEO of Quora, Gokul Rajaram, Cyan Banister, Jeff Morris, and executives from Google and Facebook. The Information, Entrepreneur, and other major publications have profiled Turing.
Before starting Turing, Jonathan was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Foundation Capital. Following the successful sale of his first AI company, Rover, that he co-founded while still at Stanford. In his spare time, Jonathan likes helping early-stage entrepreneurs build and scale companies.
You can find him Jonathan @jonsidd on Twitter and His LinkedIn is


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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