Making One-on-Ones Count with David Lynch

David LynchAfter graduating with an MSc in Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin, I worked for a while as a Software Engineer in the Finance Industry. I eventually ended up at Amazon Web Services working on productising the Cloudwatch monitoring and alarms system for external use. In 2012 I joined Soundwave, a music discovery start up as Principal Engineer. We built Google and Apple Top Developer Apps with built in music tracking, group instant messaging, location awareness, smart playlists and social discovery. Roughly three years later we were acquired by Spotify for our team, patents and expertise in pre-fetching data for a more engaging on-boarding experience. By that time I was VP Engineering and really starting to get interested in building up my team management and leadership skills. Intercom’s R&D arm is based in Dublin, Ireland and I’d been in touch with an old college pal and some AWS alumni that who assured me what was happening at Intercom was something to behold. I joined as an Engineer, very quickly becoming an Engineering Manager of a back-end data storage and API team and I can confirm that what is happening at Intercom is something to behold :-)

 

Social / Blogs
LinkedIn
Twitter
Intercom Blog Posts:
Medium / Soundwave Blog Posts;
A short talk on Strategy & Planning
A technical guest post I wrote for MongoDB

Any major mistakes? / What would you have done differently? 
We did a great job on keeping Soundwave stable and available for our customers. We invested a lot of thinking and energy in that, but I’m not sure on reflection that that should have been the highest priority for us while we were working really hard on product market fit. About a year and half into Soundwave we’d built a lot. We’d a rock solid group messaging platform, we’d a super fast map search feature that worked at scale, but we weren’t really focusing on what was next. Eventually we started some skunkworks projects that yielded us some patents and caught the attention of Spotify. The strongest of those was an extension to the Soundwave app that used Bluetooth to detect people that walked into a party. We’d then use a smart munge of everyones music history to create and smooth out a playlist that incorporated the musical tastes of everyone. When those people left the party, we’d automatically detect it and re-munge the list for the remaining party revellers. Kinda a like a DJ who knew everyone at the party and systematically catered for each, while making sure there were no jarring transitions. If I had a chance to help set our strategic technical direction, I would do more of this stuff, take more risks and do it much, much earlier. At Intercom R&D we regularly do skunkworks style weeks where people just work on their own ideas and demo them. We call this ‘wiggle week’ which is probably a bad name. I’m campaigning for those weeks to be more frequent for two reasons. Firstly, from what I’ve seen you get some great innovative results if you just let people work on what they want for a bit, as they dictate for a while. Secondly, it’s empowering and motivating. The atmosphere at Intercom R&D on a ‘wiggle week’ is electric. Everyone feels feel empowered and full of energy.

 

One thing that I’m really bad at is making the time to build relationships with those people around me. The longer I’ve been a manager the more I’ve come to understand that not making time to nurture relationships can lead to isolation. Chronic isolation in all forms is bad. All relationships require work, investment. It’s easy to feel like your’e not working while having lunch chats, 1:1’s or coffees with people, but you’re probably doing your most important work then. In my efforts to fix this I came up with some notes that eventually became a blog post on 1:1’s

 

Any Tips For Engineers Making The Transition To Manager? 
There’s an archetype of Engineer that I identify with that is introverted and prefers to work alone on deep technical challenges. I’d encourage those Engineers, whether their long term path is deeply technical OR towards management, to spend some time as an Engineering Manager and specifically focus on learning more about people and how to lead and manage them. I think you’ll at the very least end up a better Engineer for the experience. Here are some ideas that worked well for me.

 

Total Immersion
Don’t be split between Engineering and Management, go all-in. Commit less and less code, eventually none. Seek to guide people in a strategic direction, but let go of making tactical and technical decisions that require expertise in the front-line details. If you need detail, develop your skills in extracting that detail from people, rather than code. This will require developing trust in people and allowing for mistakes of other people that you may not have made in their place. That was an adjustment for me.
Get Comfortable With The Impact Of Your Mistakes
As a typical Engineer working in non life-critical product development, it’s very rare that any one person, or group of people would be adversely affected in a serious way by any of your mistakes, even the big ones. I’ve been involved in some really serious mistakes at AWS where the company was loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute for a period of time. That’s high pressure stuff, but you know what, nobody died and the company is stronger than ever.
Even if you make a hard decision that is clearly the right thing for the company, but may not be pleasant for some person, that person may carry the impact of that decision with them personally for quite a long time. There’s some chance you’ll find out later on that that decision that caused that person so much pain was a mistake, or was poorly judged. The sooner you get comfortable with making those kinds of mistakes and learning from them the better. If you shy away from these decisions you’re probably not working outside your comfort zone won’t grow as a manager. This collateral damage is inevitable while trying to master new things. Forgive yourself afterward and be humble beforehand. Get good at apologies.

 

Learn About People
I’m a poor observational learner when it comes to people and much prefer the structure of a book, some lectures or a classroom. Whatever way you work, take out a large chunk of your time to formally learn about people. I’ve spent a lot of time on this over the past couple of years and it’s been transformative for me personally.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is a psychology professor who runs a module out of the University of Toronto entitled ‘Personality and it’s Transformations’. The 2017 course is around 20 hours of contact video which is available on youtube and there’s also a bunch of reading. Working through this course has been transformative for my personal development, but for also understanding individuals, groups and culture. I can’t recommend that course enough.

 

Some people books I also recommend:
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson.
High Output Management by Andy Grove
The Happiness Purpose by Edward De Bono.
Blog Posts:
Tools:
Courses:
More on the technical side but equally important.
– Incerto by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 


(translation provided by Google Api)
Show Transcript:

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:03] Hello David welcome to the show.

David Lynch:
[0:05] Hey Kristin great to be here.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:07] My pleasure always a pleasure to have someone other engineering managers on the show such as yourself and today you’re calling in from where is actually calling in from today David.

David Lynch:
[0:17] Am I am still in Dublin Ireland so I work for in Tacoma Randy and we’re based in the end.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:23] Perfect so I always like to start off with our guests with.
Just going a little bit of background about themselves any highlights Career Education Etc I think it’s always good to give a little bit of color so I guess good and understanding or the listeners get an understanding of who the guests are in the show so let’s start with that.

David Lynch:
[0:41] Yes you’re am so I graduated with with an MS in computer science a while ago now that’s to say a while ago and,
I spent a bunch of time working in the finance industry in South Range near.
Eventually ended up an Amazon web services here again until been working on and where can I trade watch actually at the time in 2012,
so I joined this article sandwich,
Amiri like a music Discovery start up as it and I joined the prince engineer and we Bill time I’ve up to and to Google an apple top developer apps,
Delton music tracking weed instant messaging location awareness smart playlist xcetera and three years later we required by Spotify,
half of the team for the paintings for their expertise on prefetching data have been people and I bet their musical taste before they actually signed up,
and better and that time I was VP of engineering I’m just getting into my management at career I guess at the,
when the acquisition happened and I had a couple of friends and then I’ll College power who works here at Edgecomb or Indian.
I was really interested in eager to get involved because I was ensure that the,
kind of like to be Holland some interesting things are happening here so I joined as an engineer to start with and then eventually hundred any manager where I’ve been for the last well almost 18 18 months.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:08] Great and it full disclosure here I’m actually our company actually uses in her calm and it’s it’s a fantastic product right really love it and I Midas from everything from our product managers to designers to the engineer’s the marketing.
And customer support nut nut nut that make us a big plug about the product but I’m a big fan so just to let you know that.

David Lynch:
[2:30] Great it’s always great to hear good feedback or feedback of any kind from my customers that’s good to hear.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:35] Great couple questions about some of your background you know interesting you you’re in a smaller company and is he mentioned one of your first four isn’t a management was being the VP of engineering how did that happen.

David Lynch:
[2:50] So I guess about a year-and-a-half into the same way the same way process.
The CC already need it says to switch focus a little bit on and focus more on product strategy and Technical strategy I guess and I needed some time to be freed up and so I kind of stepped in,
add to take on more management responsibilities as well as having that the engineering responsibility there so it’s kind of out of head of me but also had an interest a little bit,
I always wanted to understand what Engineering Management was a bad as an engineer and I was always curious about what I just actually did when I wasn’t paying attention to them and what could be valuable to learn as it has and Jerry,
even even if I wanted to continue to be an engineer.

Christian Mccarrick:
[3:34] Sure and then kind of a switch going from the the VP of engineering back into an individual contributor and then back up to an engineering manager how did you handle that sort of transition.

David Lynch:
[3:47] Yeah I mean I guess the VP of engineering at San wave was equivalent of running a smallish I mean standard size engineering team you know so there wasn’t much more,
there wasn’t much higher level not I guess you weren’t there in 10 or 15 teams and so it wasn’t an,
it wasn’t a huge shock although I did realize that pretty soon on that I had a lot more to learn than at initially had realized and I did find harder than that then I expected to go from a straight-up engineering back to,
Barton management and I wasn’t an engineer for a long time we were going to comment was I think about 3 weeks,
Mediacom move so fast that a new team is a rise in new needs arise almost on a weekly basis sorry I was kind of asked to step in and I was interested so that’s up to that came about to pass I guess.

Christian Mccarrick:
[4:35] Great and I asked us to pretty much all the gas that I come on.
Any cuz I don’t think a single manager is ever said no I’m perfect I never made any mistakes right any ones that stand out to you from from the mistakes you’ve made along the career from going from Individual contributor.
Into injury manager.

David Lynch:
[4:55] Yeah I mean the biggest person was Fitness date that I made I already continued to make I guess gone from the engineer and I was definitely an introverted engineer Thai food.
Be interested in kind of working alone and somebody’s working on something technical problem at the biggest mistake I’m.
I think I’ve made before and at night I think I continue to have to work on his and his making the time to bills at personal relationships with the people that are around you and.
I guess that means that means you’re at your direct reports obviously but also the people who work at all in all parts of the company and I’m at,
I’m pretty much everyone around you that like that you interact with on a daily basis and making time to to to invest in those relationships,
sometimes doesn’t feel like work,
sometimes a coffee or lunch you know may feel like a surplus to requirements when you’re super busy you’re super into some problem but at,
and but I think paying it attention and needing some some time aside for every week as it is reading important so I think I’ve gotten better at that still need to work on it but I’ve definitely made a few mistakes around nothing good enough attack accounts,
I could have been a lot better.

Christian Mccarrick:
[6:09] I think it’s a good point you put out that as you become a manager it’s not always about you know managing your team but also you take on that added importance and responsibility of managing sideways and managing up as well.

David Lynch:
[6:22] Yeah yeah totally totally and managing yourself as well and a different way.
As a manager I found the motive working to be almost like almost completely different than the motor working that I was used but I was used to attend.
Impala green Casa do well in the in the makers of manager at blog post if you guys see that and,
it’s a different working style and fraud for the longest time I was I was exhausted by us because it was brand new and the different problem every minute I guess.

[6:56] Hat.

Christian Mccarrick:
[6:58] Especially I think 4 and I think you mentioned it and a lot of Engineers tend to be more in that introverted side and going into management really forces you to come out of your comfort zone a bit to be a bit more extroverted in dealing with those people.
You know day in and day out.

David Lynch:
[7:15] Absolutely anything I think that can be hard because the best definition of.

[7:22] Are the best comparison I’ve come across between introversion and extraversion is where you from where you divide your energy you know so and so being an introvert.
I could energize when I sit down and kind of think through problems and then get to work things out on paper and that’s where I can drive my energy the opposite,
is
Need a ride your energy from talking to people from being conversation with people and I find out how I work I find it hard work and it takes it takes a lot more energy for me to do that dun dun dun too kind of sit there and things,
that can be a bit of a shock to people and that like it’s pretty much your job all day to do this,
yeah the combi days where you’ll do nothing but talk to people in person after another after another and by 5 or 6 or 7 p.m. at you’re definitely feeling it on the energy so I didn’t.

Christian Mccarrick:
[8:15] Yeah absolutely and I think a good point to take out of it as well as and I find myself having to do this is making sure that you have that time.
To recharge right because you know that the talking to people and whatnot is depleting you and you don’t do any good you know if your yourself don’t have any energy left at the end of the day or you know starting the next day off.

David Lynch:
[8:35] Absolutely I think I came across this think I was reading might have been Joker but he was talking about managing your energy as well as your time and.
And being delivered about and about that and you know maybe back to back half a meeting for a full day’s not a good idea you know at least to start with and maybe you want to take off a break every now and again or maybe you just want to take a full day.
Focus SE for example which I find quite useful just to be and it was to work on things yourself and recharge.

Christian Mccarrick:
[9:08] Absolutely and it’ll going along not only seven of Stacy made but now that you’ve you’ve you’ve had multiple roles as a manager and.

[9:15] Tips that you have and it was nice to ask my guess this is well any the top two tips you have for.
New managers making that transition or you know existing managers that are looking for you know some help to improve how they how they handle things.

David Lynch:
[9:28] Yeah I mean a couple and I’m just saying.
Certificate for an engineer who’s looking to transition to manager at the first thing that I would say is an even if you want to be.
Especially if you want to be a better engineer in the long-term spend some time as an engineering manager.
Spend some time understanding what an engineering manager does on the challenges that a Nigerian manager has to over overcome it’s definitely going to be time well spent and for your engineering career I might even,
have find out you’re at you’re interested in going to be my ticket forward so and,
but that’s the first thing I would say and I just had somebody who was and.
Pretty okay at all of the engineering side of things at the computer science background the thing that I found most important to work on those people.
And what’s the Spanish much time as possible at thinking about understanding working with,
working with people I’m not. That’s what look forward to most work for me and I’m sure for people they are identified with that I think the first thing to do here is to do and the transition may be too.
Had to go all in and so I have tried it before where I was split between engineering and management,
what I ended up doing was always having some important excuse not to do the management work which a net which inevitably was the harder work because I need to tell it to take the kind of learned learn how to do that so that means not coating.

[10:59] And that means maybe not doing piores that means,
trying to get technical details via people rather than by the code on 9 forcing yourself to do that as an interesting learning experience,
incredibly frustrating at the start I found an.
To stop yourself from driving into the code to stop yourself from taking a shortcut by saying hey I’ll just get it done myself and be quicker or whatever you know so and I definitely think going all-in and I’m dropping your engineer responsibilities completely is that is a good strategy for this is hard,
and the next thing that I would say is an.
It’s something that I kind of learned over time but also send the check to you hard and getting commercial with the impact of your mistakes as a manager is difficult and important.

[11:49] Most Engineers are not working on Lucky Life critical and systems are just in product development and,
was a very rarely do anything or make a mistake that’s kind of impact somebody or some group of people and some serious kind of way and like I’ve been involved in a couple of serious mistakes that I’m is on web services that cost like $900,000 a minute on.
Hi fresher stuff when you’re in it but now nobody really ends up personally injured in any way or person Whose Line Is It Anyway,
said that the tricky thing in management and when you’re not dealing with systems and is that if you have to make.
Some hard decisions some hard trade-offs have froze ample if you’re making a decision up to the right thing for your company but may not necessarily be pleasant or the person may not agree that it’s the right thing for them as well.
The person might carry the impact that decision with them for a while they might take it personally they might carry it with them and it might knock them either their confidence or and or are just knocked them in some way and,
and this is some chance of this is definitely helping to me. Later on you’re going to figure it out. Hey you didn’t really know what you were doing you my. Calling you,
more data are you looking more experience as a manager and you realize that you made a mistake that you made the wrong call and that person was,
in some way I forced to suffer the pain of your mistake and that’ll happen over and over again and assuming you got comfortable with making those kind of mistakes and learning from them at the better and it was a hard transition for me if you don’t.

[13:24] Get comfortable with this kind of stuff I think you’ll find yourself if you’re shying away from these kind of hard decisions and you get younger I guess management Dash is when Maya’s heard it mentioned and,
but you’re at your awesome possum not working outside your comfort zone.
It in any kind of learning experience and you got some kind of mistake collateral damage is going to be inevitable and so I guess forgive yourself afterward for this,
but also be humble and be mindful going in beforehand as well I guess decoded apologies as well as his advice that I have.

Christian Mccarrick:
[13:55] Absolutely and also making decisions I think most of the great companies out there and nothing ever gets done by not making a decision.
Right it’s it’s really taped I get in a confidence and overcoming your fear of making mistake cuz you’re going to make them but you’re going to make a lot of good decisions as well.

David Lynch:
[14:11] Yeah absolutely and hopefully the overtime you make more of that mortgage decisions than you do by the ones but I guess it never never changes if you’re if you’re in your if you’re out of your comfort zone that you’re going to make some some learning mistakes.

Christian Mccarrick:
[14:23] Correct correct.

David Lynch:
[14:26] And the last thing that I would mention is like in terms of like formula learning about people I found it very useful to go to some books and some lectures.
About thought of I’m very bad at a.
Observational learning and watching people and understanding how they work and I found and one person in protector I think it’s.
The University of Toronto Jordan B Peterson has a.
Psychology and module called personality has Transformations he’s videotaped his lectures and they’re on YouTube,
any fascinating 20 hours of of psychology and understanding how people work at groups work what culture is what tribalism is and what people want and what people.
And at what concerns everybody yet it’s really fast 97 Transformers for me to watch an engaging in in those actors and,
couple of other books as well like I said are interesting at The crucial conversations book I guess is one is one gold one and you probably heard high output management and Andy Grove book mentioned a few times but.
Those are the tips that I have for anyone looking to transition I guess.

Christian Mccarrick:
[15:36] Great And for those listening I’ll I’ll put all these links and everything on the show notes,
that personality is Transformations I actually haven’t heard of that that that one looks like something I might actually check up myself always looking to learn more about about people and relationships and in Psychology and everything else about that so.
The other thing the other thing is crucial conversations book that I highly recommend for all.
New managers to read and it’s actually out to book this not just about.

[16:08] Management it’s us about any type of relationship and having those hard conversations whether it’s with management with your peers or even with your family right think that’s it.
That’s a book I recommended actually give doll my new managers cuz those conversations in those hard ones at.
How do you handle that getting out of your comfort zone or are so important right so I’ll put all these book links on to the show notes as well and you know thank you for for all those interesting and in very informative things David appreciate that.
So as a move on what are the things that you know I want to get into and this is how I found you was the blog post you wrote on one on ones and I think one and ones are.
You know a very hot topic there’s something that a lot of new managers talk about some of them do some of them don’t.
But I want to spend a little bit of the show really focusing on you know your thoughts on one in ones and you know going through the blog post that you’ve written about that.
So what are the things is for you at yourself and your philosophy on them wire one ones important a little bit of time why do you think one ones are so valuable.

David Lynch:
[17:13] But some of it is the end of relationship stuff that I talked about earlier on but once when discussions are like a place where where managers have their impact or have the opportunity to have impact,
you know I was a manager could not on the front line all of the time and but if you and if you if you look at.
The typical engineering team a manager can spend like 35% of their time in one-to-one meetings,
and I’m those meetings can amplify the the capacity of the team for you know for the rest of the week that’s a m i x 52 and,
you can start to see how much infants you can actually have over your team and once one meeting so and that’s one of the reasons I think they’re essential and,
in terms of one-to-one meetings versus no group conversations or group planning Fashions exaggerated saturated awesome torch on things and that,
you know when in private conversations that are much more impactful that are either more uncomfortable or inappropriate to touch on in the in group conversations and as well so I think that’s a,
that’s another reason.

Christian Mccarrick:
[18:17] And what advice do you have for managers maybe that haven’t started one ones or the doing them inconsistently.
Yeah what are you do you have to sell that to the team right as a new manager you going to start implementing these is a formal process now you know how do you go about that.

David Lynch:
[18:34] That service for managers of hasn’t already does not ready have this in place.

[18:41] Yeah,
and I think the first thing to do will be set at some objectives for 4121 meetings set at the reasons why you yourself think you want to do once more meetings and I’m on get your team bought into that as well,
flossing you want to do is introduce a you know half an hour 45 minutes loud into your engineer’s calendar that they’re going to die,
the test are they’re going to try and avoid if Wyoming so I think start off by figuring out what it is that you want to achieve.
And let the team know and let me know once it one and I’m kind of got buying that way and first start.
Things that you can talk about typically is how you might develop your your engineer’s career and discovering growth opportunities offering guidance and help being a sounding board and these are the kind of things that are going to be attractive to engineer’s and things that are not attractive to engineer’s I think our,
you know secondary status meetings.
M or M stuff that you could just take a ride by jumping on 2g or whatever it is that used to manage your projects or ever get of issues or stuff that I am,
and that’s that’s already been said and planning I think that’s tough 1070 North possible and just a general,
back on the focus as well can work sometimes but as it as a real sorry has an exception rather than the rule and I think if one to one kind of hat are not focused that they’re not use for leather.

Christian Mccarrick:
[20:09] Sure and you know how would you convince a unit moving to the manager of manager roles write how do you convince a reluctant manager the importance of having a one-on-one with their direct reports.

David Lynch:
[20:23] That’s a good question and that’s a good question so.

Christian Mccarrick:
[20:32] Because I think you know it’s the one of the general objections we hear a lot is you know I just have any time alright I’m at my schedule is already full I have a lot of meetings I have seven direct going to report.
I don’t have time for all and you know what would you do what we get what we’re kind of the things you use to try to convince that manager so you know.

[20:53] You might not have the time but you need to make the time in these are the reasons why.

David Lynch:
[20:58] Yeah I mean I jump back to him to the.
The definition of the role of an engineer manager on a team I got I mean I wasn’t answering your manager is here like primary responsibility,
is accountable for the impact of your team for amplifying that impact as well right so that’s your your your your primary concern your first and foremost concern.
The way manager has impacted is always by influence to at shrewsbury’s engineer’s undone at 19th and if if you say that you’re too busy to do that.
Then what I find hard to understand what you’re.
At what you’re doing and its place if that’s your primary concern as you’re leaving the empty impact of the team.
Add to Drifter or in any way against other priorities I think I think he may be making a prioritisation mistake.
Sometimes it’s hard to convince people that that is useful because it can often take time.
Add to add to yield results and build relationships with every team member,
you got to understand somebody style you know it takes a bunch of times understand what people want in their goals excetera excetera so,
so people can make excuses that you know I’m not going to see results this for 3 months and then their heads and I do something that’s going to get them a result in a week and I feel better about that so I can be another reason why like why people don’t do a bunch,
yeah I would question what else amount of jurors doing if they don’t have time to do one to ones with our people.

Christian Mccarrick:
[22:26] Yeah I know that’s that’s definitely good point and in your Glock puss you point out referencing something you just,
said that in the beginning you didn’t feel there was effective as they could be and you weren’t getting the Roy of them right away.
About how long did it take for you to get into stride with with your specific team and those one ones to really feel the effects kick in.

David Lynch:
[22:48] That’s a good question at the very start and just the very start and being brand-new to intercom for example.
It was the Diwali of the one-to-one was everybody else teaching me stuff that I didn’t really understand about the company right so that was that was the first hurdle to get over and I took a while.
I may be a few weeks.
And then after that it’s like okay I think I’m position some way to be able to start helping um and then as a process is understanding way and.
What people want in their careers and what are enjoying about working attention, to rejoin my working and what time not enjoying what could be better to take some time to get that and to get that trust and play Saturday.
Tell divulge the most important things I’m even sometimes you’ll find that people haven’t really talk,
Liberty about certain things that are important then I’ll take time for them to work that out so you know what type of things a bunch more time you know that’s just a couple more months to the very least it’s gone well to try and figure it out and then at that point you’re kind of into his stride and.
I didn’t come with you at quarterly performance reviews and and you know.
My aim was was to have some significant impact on the team that I started with at after about six months which is kind of 2 performance review cycles and I guess that’s the kind of time that I can take with a brand-new team but they’re brand new company.

Christian Mccarrick:
[24:10] And you do mention the concept of trust a little bit you know having that building that trust up and in your blog article you talk about the concept of safety and how important it is to create that safe environment tell me a little bit about that.

David Lynch:
[24:23] Yeah I mean it’s absolutely yeah Chris is the absolute key and if I trust is one of those things it’s hard to build and it’s really easy to lose and but if and,
if you really want your team to be effective when you want to affect SFS actively at influence at somebody and.
The building building trust is essential,
add help my pops. Is is blown into a couple of a couple of things and if you left.
Let the person let the people talk and just be themselves it whatever way that they want to whatever monitor or not real tone that they thought they used and dumped be like.
Tractor fenders or in any way.
Trying correct them when they’re trying to express themselves and just let them nothing talk it through and I could make them feel hurt that’s that’s in my stool rude into into starting to build a bit of trust.
But a trust and if.
If you touch on something that looks like you know might be contentious or somebody’s got an agitated or nervous it’s it’s definitely interested that is definitely worthwhile backing off and trying to control.

[25:33] Trying to control a little bit at the conversations that person at.

[25:40] Feels comfortable and expressing themselves if somebody’s feeling unsafe or somebody doesn’t trust trustee than that the tournament went to on his is probably going to be a waste of time because the really interesting stuff where you get really good,
is when you have this really really condas environment to trust.

[25:57] In place on a person feels like they can open up to you and then doing so will help them and we’ll have to team and.
And the last thing I guess it’s kinda one of those things that goes that saying is that I think that the shed and wants it one should remain and once it once unless explicitly.
Expressed otherwise you know and it seems like one of those easy things to have to say but it’s it’s so important you know one thing that that escapes could could could break your trust in some way.

Christian Mccarrick:
[26:27] Absolutely episode is keeping their confidence to know that what you tell them is really going to be kept in confidence a Nasser told to the other managers are minerals in the team II your meeting is over.

David Lynch:
[26:37] Yeah exactly I’m not going to be explicit about it you know if if you do on Earth,
tell some of the managers somebody that you want to ask that somebody just got something to somebody just say I’m going to ask like this I’m going to talk to explains about this and that and I never conversation about it but otherwise otherwise is trying keep.
Things that are sad in in the one to a meeting.

Christian Mccarrick:
[26:57] Absolutely and you know that being said there are a couple of circumstances especially depending upon the country or city or state you live in I think if if there’s any mention of you no harm to oneself or anyone else I think there’s some responsibility to try to act on that in the most appropriate way possible,
I hope we never come to that.

David Lynch:
[27:16] Yeah definitely I’m in the bottom of that section the blocked I was to say left it there are certain things that you would realize you’re beyond your,
at your capabilities of helping and identifying those of front I think what you’re talking about comes into that class identifying those in front and identifying the right person to help immediately is is is important as well.

Christian Mccarrick:
[27:36] Absolutely important aspects of a one-and-one so little bit of the structure of that what do you feel is the critical aspects of of of talking about in discussion in a one-on-one situation.

David Lynch:
[27:49] The actual situation itself so I mean,
just talking about scheduling a little bit and I think it’s really important to have some kind of predictable schedule.
For your one to ones with with with engineer’s and if somebody knows that they’re going to talk to you on Thursday and I’d something that’s like,
unpredictable Potter and they’ll start to keep stuff melts at the same stuff I think of and stuff and be prepared but better and so I am so I think Shillings important and but also flexibility in scheduling is also really important so that nothing behold into your schedule a little bit,
one interesting thing that you may find you know it’s a 30-minute once a one that you might go somewhere in minute 27.
Possibly never get back to and sometimes the worst thing you can do is say hey I got three minutes left or got two minutes left I got to go to another meeting I got to go somewhere else and,
and I can come back to the trust thing as well but if you feel like you’re some are really productive and really useful stick with it,
how long does it need internet for a little while longer and be flexible in the in the Shad running again.

Christian Mccarrick:
[28:54] The schedule cuz I also think that signals to the person that’s on your team that wow you are important this moment is important and I’m going to I’m going to give you the time that I think is warranted for were talking about right now.

David Lynch:
[29:09] Absolutely when I started it you know if it’s a really interesting things go child says this person is taking some kind of personal risk or wants to share something important you know sending a signal.
you’re all yours and you have the time is definitely a powerful message.

Christian Mccarrick:
[29:26] Absolutely absolutely and you know you’re brought up a little bit before about being prepared do you believe in an agenda who sets that agenda how does that work for you.

David Lynch:
[29:35] And yeah I think I think preparation is key I’m at mean.
One is one of the reasons I signed my meetings at unproductive to start with was and was lack of preparation on my part in particular and a fly from the manager,
mine just perspective I found it useful to drop down to the notes over the course of the week and I could we do the pieces of feedback and that will be interesting to.
Tattoo the scores in the one-to-one meeting in terms of agendas and I think it’s definitely it’s definitely.
At are the agenda belongs to the person that you are to get that you’re having to 1 to 1 meeting,
I think you should give them the first dibs on the agenda and ask him to let them discuss what they want to discuss first and and then and then and then move into your own agenda I guess afterwards and I think that’s pretty important and I’ve been in one sawant meetings like where I get on my my manager,
at the time. Like dominated the conversation with his own agenda and maybe I wasn’t ready to listen because some of the stuff at my own agenda was you know was was was making me not here whatever was going on so I think it’s definitely important to set and took two to the agenda to the person that you’re at you having to go into a woman.

Christian Mccarrick:
[30:48] Absolutely that you bring up a good point there the you know you’re not as a manager you’re not going to get the effectiveness of it as you just said if you’re not listening to the things he’s saying and then he’s out of so you not listening to the things you want to say and that’s it probably.
Not effective use of anybody’s time.

David Lynch:
[31:05] Exactly exactly yeah I may not know that’s the manager it’s an I think it’s your responsibility to put some Nation first to know.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:13] The concept brings up to when you mention your post about note-taking did you take the notes to do you have your employee take two notes what are your feelings on ognuno documenting these one-on-one.

David Lynch:
[31:26] I like to take the notes myself because the,
the way I come inside things and learn learn about things like it’s the write down stuff as the other Saturday as I figure things I have him so I’m happy to hold on to the note to myself personally and I’m,
that’s sometimes how do I go back and forth with it but this depending on the person emailed email those not directly to the person that make sure that we’re on the same page and have interpret everything correctly and that works for me am I right like to know it’s all the time and it’s really useful set of material to have,
and when you doing free sample performance reviews on the quarterly basis and so so,
my personal preference is to own the note taking myself and but you know if I got an email from somebody or if I got some kind of follow-up or somebody wants to write something down I’ll add those to my own person that’s at the end as well.

Christian Mccarrick:
[32:16] I know the concept that I have to and I struggled a little bit too is there’s two things and you bring it up so one of them is active listening and then the other is how do you take notes I found that some people feel put off a little bit if you got a laptop,
and you know you’re just like head down taking notes from the whole conversation and they don’t feel like you’re listening versus.
Do you take notes on a computer to take them on a pen and paper and then how do you balance that active listening you know concert.

David Lynch:
[32:43] Yeah it’s it’s it’s a hard problem you know.
You’re writing and trying to capture the demeaning what also listening I find I find difficult and definitely an art and I don’t use a computer to take notes I find that super distracting when.
When people are like when the when the situation is reversed and I tend to have a bunch of stickies and a marker around an advantage of having a bunch of stick it into my Koran is not like the other person can see that you’re lucky the jit Amanda taking notes about,
you know what they’re talking about and you plan to follow up with that it and when your screen is is there at this is nothing to say that you’re not sure,
like young fancy random flash and the noise itself because of you typing can also be super distracting stuff that’s my personal preference and I.
I’m not I don’t have a good enough memory to not write stuff down at some point and sometimes I’ll stop and say you know,
you said something really important there I think I understand that this way is it is that rice and then tell a great and I’ll just say like I’m just going to write that down because I think it’s important that we got there and I’m not going.
That can help cuz I’m going to break the the the our seasons of set the tone for hey I’m taking notes for you know for sure for good reason.

Christian Mccarrick:
[33:57] But I think that’s that’s an important Concept in psychologically to to make sure that you pause and sometimes even whether or not you’re running it down to say.
Did I get that right also just to make sure that I heard you correctly I’m saying it back to you there’s no no confusion here and I think that helps both part inside to the party as well.

David Lynch:
[34:17] Yeah I think I think that’s part and parcel of active listening I’m one of the things that I said I called Erin the blog post is and,
like my original preference was to to write lots of stuff down and send and send an email later on and that was my mechanism on my primary mechanism forgetting forgetting absolutely aligned with the person that I was doing it,
add a couple of flaws and not you know some people don’t read their email and I love photography the remote,
and it’s also not in the moments and sometimes people forget about what they meant when you like stuff down and I always think I meant that or that I mean this and I’m better active listening or something that I call Dad,
add that I wanted to work on my feet while you’ve just pointed at their and you know stopping car falling the point making sure you got a straight is all part and parcel of this active listening process.

Christian Mccarrick:
[35:05] Great you know there’s a two of we’ve been using internally here cold 15.5 it started weekly kind of update for managers to help with their with their engineers.
I’m also just came out with the recent feature in there that helps you with with one and ones if that’s up an Experian experimenting with recently.

[35:25] Where are you cancer. Notes take things from there their weekly 15-5 report call it out and inserted into conversations you would like to talk about during their weekly one-on-one.

[35:36] And then also being able to have notes about it an email out to the employee so if anyone’s interested in that it’s a tool cold 15-5 I know we use it to to some degree of success they do have a new.
Should have no taking in 101 feature which which may or may not be interesting on Unser trialing that with a couple of my managers right now and then so far it’s working out pretty well.

David Lynch:
[35:55] That’s interesting I mentioned in the in the in the blood post again.
it takes sometimes 10 minutes and then 5 minutes later sized Colette your notes you know if it’s any kind of Taylor than paper to help without them that that that might help you scale up to you know 7 Engineers engineer’s you know.
Apartments by by 15 minutes or 5 minutes you know I can be a better time to say.

Christian Mccarrick:
[36:19] It’s and it’s good I think one of the things that you point out to an end if anyone does calendar blocking and time boxing on the calendar that you know I usually spend my my one ones are and I put 45 minutes down necessarily that where I’m going to have an active one on one.

[36:35] But I stood I still put that our down for a couple reasons one like you said maybe you’re in the middle of something in the time goes over.
Or in another case right you do need that time she should have collect your notes and your thoughts because you’re going to do back-to-back Awana ones or going to go from a 1 and 1/2 you know Sprint planning meeting.
Sometimes you go back and you and you can forget someone’s important point that were made in a during the meeting.

[37:00] I think that everything you talked about from scheduling is the concept of doing back-to-back one and ones or spreading them on over multiple days I think my team to have.
Started with both I think the introverts tend to.
I think explode a little bit or implode if they have them back to back because they just are so drained the panda day there.
Another looking to go to the pub and and down a few pints because it’s been such a so draining than in a mentally and physically exhausting right how do you tend to box your ear when I went together.

David Lynch:
[37:35] Dad at 4th and.
For me personally and if I have.
Like ideally I would like to get one to ones done on a Monday set the tone for the week with everybody and the pants of him any reports that you have at one point I had like 9 1/2 ones in a single day on a Monday which is tricky and particular.

[38:00] Yeah for the 8th or 9th person that’s not really fair either because like you said like you say am I undo levels of Southpoint are quite low and you know my life so don’t know focus is on getting out of the meeting room I’m not necessary this thing so what I what I ended up settling on with finding a time in a day and,
thought I could spread them across and so afternoons usually like you know,
baby after lunch and before and four wrap up time and spread them across that way and,
Academy opportunity to have like you know what good luck of work done before I started before I started into the one-to-one this before lunch and then a bit more energy I guess at lunch by having lessons by the cross that’s kind of where I set alarm,
for now anyway.

Christian Mccarrick:
[38:46] Sure and having you’ve been doing this now especially intercom for the last 18 months or so what do you see in the in the future with wizard of your one-on-one do you have any plans for any tweaks or suggestions for how you want to try to even approve them further moving for.

David Lynch:
[39:01] Yeah I’m still interested in in in learning a bit more.
Around helping people too and to develop their own careers or encourage them to the doctor on careers and set their own goals and set their own and their own agendas and their own way of doing things and I’ve definitely am.
I definitely like to improve my ability to coach people.
Through the things that they want to do but one of the things that I find hard as right now is helping people to identify the goals that they legitimately want to do and where they want to be,
yeah when in ketosis easily side five years timer and some some point in the future and I think it depends on the person but often and.
Atlanta sweeping generalization here but I find that you know some of the graduates and or even be two or three years or two at a college at you know find it difficult to think 5 years in the future.
Are you know six years in the future are career trajectory and I think that’s totally fine that’s the expected but,
To None the last be able to help those people that identify like no potential parts that they might want to explore and I definitely love to get better at.
Level of coaching for sure.

Christian Mccarrick:
[40:19] Absolutely and have you found any resources that help you with that aspect of coaching employees for their career growth personal and professional anything out there that that you recommend or found.

David Lynch:
[40:32] And I’m trying to remember the name of the course that account remember I think it was actually I think it was called situational leadership.
And it was actually really useful I think it’s the Ken Blanchard is the guy’s name who runs the course or is written the course,
the course around here in to come earlier in the year on at one of the really useful tools and that I found specifically in trying to match.
And specific tasks to whether or not you should be coaching someone or what are you should be teaching someone excetera and send it to be useful and.

[41:10] Tip the promises it is this you’ve got probably,
like four stages that I can for my brothers and correctly of of a person on your team you got possibly the absolute,
the absolute newbie the absolute beginner is just starting with your company I just got his going to need like a greedy hands on explicit instruction and then you got the second and the second person which may needs a bit next Hands-On instruction but still a lot of support,
how many move into.
And you know that the person and the person who is really really confident but you do not want to 40 Deli guy just yet you still want to supervise a little bit and then you got the,
and that the person is absolutely nailing the specific task and you’re happy to completely delegate and.
Tattoo at and classifying things like that I’m craving management styles and coaching styles to adapt to each of those things that has been has been reading reviews for him for me.

Christian Mccarrick:
[42:05] Right now that’s great to know and I’ll try to find the information to and put it in the show notes for for the listeners as well.
One last thing I want to discuss it actually doesn’t specifically relate to one at 1.
Is you written a really well-written blog post more than one and not only yourself but on the engineering side and outside imaginary intercom.
I think it’s been you know phenomenal the amount of of writings and that have come out of of multiple toys inside of intercom is that it’s not something that’s part of the culture is that supported from the top down and how does that work.

David Lynch:
[42:40] Yeah it’s absolutely part of the culture and I’m really well supported from the top 10 and we have a really good and really good content team hear one by and.
By John Collins whose xar’s times and you know we spent a lot of time,
a terrible loss support in in in in shaping her ideas in forming on her ideas,
courage to share everything that we thought we learned that extends over into the the intercom World Series tours and the events that we do as well you’ll see a bunch of those at around the place on our website as well so and we’re always interested in creating,
adding content and sharing your learnings and things that we discover and you know.
Mistakes that we may continue any time things that we can do better on at on our blog post on dinner or talks and events as well.

Christian Mccarrick:
[43:30] It’s definitely working so I wanted to give congratulation out to that because when I mentioned I was I was going to ring you today to one of my other directors of us or like intercom you’re not illegal of the tool but,
mentioning about some other blog post he read recently from from someone else on the norcom team so it’s definitely working and then the message and is getting out.

David Lynch:
[43:49] That’s that’s great feedback always appreciate what she pack and most recently traded a book on startups actually I don’t know if I.
I don’t know if anyone picked up yet but we call it a lot of our posts into this and it’s really interesting book with some extra insides from our leadership team as well have which is actually great read and everything get for free on our website.

Christian Mccarrick:
[44:12] Perfect I’ll try to link to that as well so David any last thoughts are notes are commented that you can elect to give out to the listeners.

David Lynch:
[44:19] And no I think it was it was a great discussion there until into Engineering Management and,
the last thing I would like to drop in this kind of where I started would be to encourage you know engineer’s of all kinds even if their career path looks like it’s going to be purely tactical that I want to be straight Costco,
give injury management to spend give it a try you know give it you know a good you know good,
good solid year I have totally Martian and your career as an engineer or your your new career as a manager will that will definitely and that will definitely make that work worthwhile.

Christian Mccarrick:
[44:56] A perfect David and what’s the best I put these in the show notes but what are the best ways for people to reach out to you for on Twitter or or you know reading your blog.

David Lynch:
[45:08] Yeah I’m I’m there on Twitter and you can you can mail me directly into, that’s my full name with a dog in the middle how did you found that I’ll always happy to hear any kind of feedback or any kind of suggestions that I’m done.

Christian Mccarrick:
[45:21] Absolute well we’ve been listening to David Lynch from intercom I want to thank you very much for being on the show today I think it’s very informative lesson and tips for lots of our listeners and thank you very much for your time.

David Lynch:
[45:33] Thanks Kristen great fear.

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