132: The Making of a Manager with Julie Zhuo

In her book, The Making of a Manager: What To Do When Everyone Looks To You, author Julie Zhuo takes us back to the childhood lemonade stand in a way that flipped a major “aha” lightbulb switch for me.

As the founder of a budding business, you might be the best at making lemonade, or at least think you are, even as you hire helpers to (wo)man the stand. But if you only ever make lemonade you’ll only be serving an additive role in your business. Instead, if you hire a small team and teach them how to make the lemonade, even if they’re not quite as skilled as you at first, you’ll be serving a multiplicative role.

You serving as a multiplier in your business means exponential returns are possible (including exponentially reducing your time). But most of us aren’t handed a manual on how to become an effective manager of other people—we learn by fumbling through the job. In this conversation, Julie and I dig into the three P’s of people management: people, process, and purpose—and it’s a good idea to create a user guide to . . . you!

Download a copy of Julie’s sample user guide below (or if you’re viewing this in a podcast player view full show notes at http://pivotmethod.com/132).

More About Julie Zhuo

Julie Zhuo loves learning about people. As one of Silicon Valley's top product design executives, currently leading Facebook’s product design team, she guides the teams behind some of the most popular web and mobile services used by billions of people around the world. Julie writes about technology, great user experiences, and leadership on her popular blog "The Year of the Looking Glass" as well as publications like the New York Times and Fast Company. She is the author of a new book, The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You.

Topics Covered

  • [02:49] Julie was promoted to manager when Facebook was still a start-up. She was used to wearing a lot of hats, but leading her peers was a new challenge.

  • [06:03] The job of managers is to ensure that a team of people can get to the best outcome possible. Major management levers are people, process, and purpose. 

  • [10:49] The lemonade stand analogy and the short-term versus long-term. Teams need to be scalable and get to the point of growth. The lemonade stand owner may be able to sell more in the short-term, but making lemonade stand employees more effective will get better long-term results. 

  • [14:38] Manager versus individual contributor path: do you care more about reaching an outcome or do you care more about your contribution? 

  • [18:01] As businesses grow and change it can feel like a different job. The process is constantly evolving. Being able to manage through growth and change requires flexibility. It comes down to asking what you want to achieve and then having the right processes to get there. 

  • [25:20] Treat your manager like a coach, not someone who is judging you. This can help develop skills that will have the greatest impact.

  • [31:52] Why it’s helpful to create a User Guide to Your Management Style (enter your info above to get a copy of Julie’s example).  

  • [40:51] Managers: reflect on where you want their team to be in six months, one year, and three years. What kind of people do you want on your team? What are their values? What do you want to be known for?

The Making of a Manager with Julie Zhuo

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