Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

March 2013

Leadership and Teams14 Mar 2013 10:19 pm


What a team!

Through tough times and celebrations, we’ve built our team. Each person hand selected to grow our ranks, and each bringing a special gift and a lot of old fashioned hard work to make the whole better. The team we built together is a thing of Quality in the truest sense of the word.

A few Friday’s ago we said our farewells. I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the send off – from the motorcycle cake, to the fun contests, to all the heartfelt words. I’m so glad to have been a part of building something so special for the last 5+ years, a team that continually reinvented itself. The best thing about the send of was that it felt like a new beginning rather than an ending.

It was an honor to serve as your leader; the experiences and success we shared together will always shape our future. As we look ahead, I wish all the best for each of you. Your mission is to continue to grow as leaders and forever shape the tech landscape of Austin. Know that the Quality of what we built will not be forgotten, nor will the champagne shower!

Leadership and Teams13 Mar 2013 08:17 pm

Its that time of year again – time for performance appraisals. Sometime used for great good but mostly dreaded as a necessary evil. It should be a great opportunity for a review of how we did towards the goals set during the year. But, it often turns into something else.

Ever been forced ranked or had to have your performance reviews fit into a bell curve distribution so that most people are “Meets Expectations”? Since when is it ok to meet expectations? Is that the culture we as leaders should promoted and foster? When we hire people, do we expect them to surprise us with innovation, creative solutions, outside the box thinking, or to meet our expectations? If we hire the former, then why would we believe that the majority of performance evaluations should be “meets expectations”?

To me, this is encouraging a culture of mediocrity and mediocrity is the harbinger of failure for a technology company. I expect every review for every person on my team to have a conversation about how they took ownership, initiative, and delivered results beyond expectations. But, you say, your expectations then are necessarily too low. Perhaps that is one perspective. Or perhaps, we should always be hiring people smarter, more innovative, more skilled, and more creative than ourselves. Average is not acceptable and meeting expectations is not acceptable. Exceeding expectations in innovation, perspiration, teamwork, communication and ownership is the order of the day.