Summaries

Scaling people | (Stripe) Claire Hughes Johnson & (20VC) Harry Stebbings | Slush 2023

Published
December 8, 2023
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4
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Updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
Scaling people | (Stripe) Claire Hughes Johnson & (20VC) Harry Stebbings | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a conversation between Claire Hughes Johnson (Chief Corporate Advisor at Stripe) and Harry Stebbings (Founder of 20VC).

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>

Claire Hughes Johnson shares her management style and philosophy, emphasizing the importance of empowering team members and giving credit where it is due. She also discusses the qualities that make a good manager and the challenges of transitioning from an individual contributor role. Action items include implementing a structured hiring process, providing timely feedback, monitoring employee progress, building relationships, and making difficult decisions about personnel issues when necessary.

<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>

Management Style and Philosophy

  • Claire Hughes Johnson reflects on her management style and philosophy.
  • She shares how her perspective on power and leadership has evolved over time.
  • Claire emphasizes the importance of empowering team members and giving credit where it is due.

The Transition from Individual Contributor to Manager

  • Claire discusses the qualities that make a good manager and the challenges of transitioning from an individual contributor role.
  • She explains that the best managers are often those who are tapped on the shoulder rather than those actively seeking managerial positions.
  • Claire suggests that individuals in IC roles can become good managers with the right learning and development opportunities.

Delegating Responsibilities and the Importance of Speed of Execution

  • Claire highlights the importance of clear communication and setting expectations when delegating responsibilities.
  • She discusses the need for structure and processes to maintain speed and agility as a company scales.
  • Claire acknowledges that while Stripe's product cadence may seem unparalleled, there is always room for improvement.

Talent Acquisition and Hiring Process

  • Claire shares her approach to talent acquisition and the importance of having a structured and data-driven hiring process.
  • She emphasizes the need to ask consistent questions and evaluate candidates based on predefined criteria.
  • Claire suggests that hiring decisions should not be based solely on titles or compensation but on the candidate's fit for the role and alignment with the company's mission.

Giving Feedback and Managing Performance

  • Claire provides insights into giving effective feedback and managing performance.
  • She recommends starting feedback conversations with open-ended questions and creating a safe space for open dialogue.
  • Claire emphasizes the importance of addressing performance issues early on and giving employees a chance to improve.

Letting Go of Underperforming Employees

  • Claire discusses the process of letting go of underperforming employees and the importance of clear communication throughout the performance improvement plan.
  • She advises setting clear expectations and giving employees a reasonable timeframe to improve.
  • Claire acknowledges that some employees may choose to leave voluntarily, while others may need to be let go if they are unable to meet expectations.

Personal Reflections and Lessons Learned

  • Claire shares personal reflections on her career and the lessons she has learned along the way.
  • She emphasizes the importance of curiosity, adaptability, and self-awareness in leadership roles.
  • Claire also discusses the challenges of balancing parenthood and a successful career and encourages individuals to define their own version of success.

<p class="h1-rich">✅ Action Items</p>

  • Implement a structured and standardized interview process for hiring to ensure consistency and gather data for comparison. This should include clear job expectations, specific interview questions, and criteria for evaluating good answers.
  • Provide timely and constructive feedback to employees, focusing on specific behaviors or performance issues. Use a collaborative approach, asking open-ended questions to encourage self-reflection and ownership of improvement.
  • Monitor employee progress and hold regular check-ins to address any performance concerns. Set clear goals and expectations, and provide support and resources as needed to help employees meet deadlines and deliver results.
  • Recognize the importance of building relationships with employees and creating a safe and open environment for communication. Notice and address any defensive reactions during feedback conversations, offering an opportunity for reflection and follow-up discussion.
  • When necessary, make difficult decisions about personnel issues, including potential termination. Ensure that the decision is based on a fair and objective evaluation of performance, and communicate the reasons clearly and compassionately.
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Scaling people | (Stripe) Claire Hughes Johnson & (20VC) Harry Stebbings | Slush 2023
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Scaling people | (Stripe) Claire Hughes Johnson & (20VC) Harry Stebbings | Slush 2023
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Scaling people | (Stripe) Claire Hughes Johnson & (20VC) Harry Stebbings | Slush 2023
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