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Do You Feel Pressure Or Do You Apply Pressure? by Ben Horowitz

Stashed in: @bhorowitz, Leadership, Management, Work Hacks

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The key to breaking the cycle is to stop feeling pressure and to start applying it. The most basic way to do this is to assign the problems to your team. This transfers the pressure from you to the organization and has the added benefit of empowering the team.

At this point, those of you who have read my book are thinking: “Ben, that’s not the hard thing about this. The hard thing isn’t delegating, the hard thing is when the executive disagrees that there’s a problem or there is no logical owner or the problem is cross-functional or the executive tries to give it back to you.” Let’s take these in order.

This is good:

Founding CEOs often find it difficult to evaluate executives. How do I know if my head of marketing is world-class? I’ve never run marketing. Applying lots of pressure is a great way to sharpen your instincts when evaluating executives.

If you consistently apply pressure to an executive and get no results, then you very likely need to upgrade that position. The whole point of paying an executive all that money and giving her that fat stock option package is to take the pressure off of you and give you some leverage. If she can’t do that, then she must go. She may be a fine executive for another CEO, but not for you.

On the other hand, when you have a problem that you have no idea how to solve and you delegate it to an executive and she solves it, then she’s extremely valuable.

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