Eric Krueger

How To Get Things Done at Your Company

This will vary a bit from company-to-company, but it's advice I've generally found useful when trying to accomplish things at medium-to-large size organizations.

1. Understand what the ethos of your company is. Frame things in that context.

For a lot of organizations (at least the one's I've worked at), this is something like...your heart is pure.

2. Be the person you'll want others to be to you (learn more here).

Respond quickly when others ask you for things, share what you know, be helpful (even, and especially if, you don't have a quick-pro-quo in mind). This is important for three reasons:

3. Get to know the people who are connectors (and can direct you to other specific people who know things) or have robust knowledge in a subject/product area.

4. Make it your business to know what other people/teams' goals are.

Align and position your asks to their goals.

A relevant quote from Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

To be trusted in a position of leadership, it helps to advance other people’s goals as well as one’s own.

5. Make it pleasant and fun for others to do things for you.

6. Focus on the goal, not the credit.

Let others share in any impacts/positive outcomes of your projects.

7. Stay above board. Don't do things behind people's backs.

This will sometimes work in some company cultures, but for most you'll get some short term gain but ultimately suffer.

8. It helps to have a helpful manager.

9. Stay in folks' radar.

Reply to their org announcement emails saying something nice. Like peoples posts/pages on company message boards. Check in and ask how things are going (even, and especially, if you don't need anything from them). Share things you come across that are relevant to them.

10. When you're ready and need something.

11. Write good documentation.

And organize it/make it discoverable so that others can find prior work you did and think you're sharp (and be receptive to future asks).

12. Minimize, bound, and be strategic about who you complain to.

Gossip travels. Generally, you shouldn't be upset/frustrated/bothered with someone unless you've talked to them about it first.

13. Try to always take a meeting that an individual person asked for.

14. Get access to every group, etc.

So that when you find a new internal tool or resource, you can use it/see it instantly without needing to go through a permissions process. You will have varying levels of success with this depending on how strict your organization is with access to internal tools.

The above will help you from getting blocked in the first place.  When you do get blocked (as you inevitably will at times), here’s Unblocking 101.


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