Episode 16

Designing Organizational Structures

Krista Skalde, Operating Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Inovia Capital. Krista is responsible for designing and implementing talent management, organizational effectiveness solutions, and market-aligned HR practices.

In Episode 16, Krista lays out the framework for designing talent strategies. Krista expands on what to look for when designing your organizational structure. She shares some tips about when and how you should decide to design or re-design. Stick to the end of the episode to hear Krista’s key trends HR professionals must consider when in the process of designing an organizational structure. 

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Everyone is looking at cuts and layoffs, and the reason we look at these is because labour is usually 66% of the costs of most startups, if not more. So a lot of people are talking about talent strategies. What do I do with talent? What do I do with our labour force? How do we make the most of our team? How do we protect them from the downturns, all of those different pieces? And Krista, you have some phenomenal experience with talent strategies, and you have some phenomenal experience with venture capital funds. Maybe I'll toss that question off to you. We'll start off with that big question. 2023 talent strategies, what should our startup leaders be thinking about?

In this episode

Today’s guest is Krista Skalde, Operating Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Inovia Capital, who joins me to discuss creating a talent strategy as a start-up.

Krista shares key questions to consider when reviewing your organizational structure and building a talent strategy to ensure an easy flow of decisions through your organization. 

Time Stamps

1:02 Episode Introduction

4:42 Manager Skillsets and How They Have Evolved

07:48 Talent Strategy in a Current Economy

10:00 Organizational Systems for High Performing Teams

23:58 Microsoft System and Design Project

26:13 Systems Thinking | Krista's Story

30:29 Thinking of an Organization as a System

33:36 Organizational Health Checks

34:31 How to Create an Organizational Structure

37:37 Impacts of Design Structure

39:10 Design Decision Examples

43:18 Questions to Ask When Designing Structures

Krista Skalde

Operating Partner and Chief Talent Office at Inovia Capital

Guest Bio

As a seasoned strategic talent advisor passionate about driving and delivering change, Krista Skalde joined Inovia Capital in April 2015, responsible for the design and implementation of talent management, organizational effectiveness solutions, and market-aligned HR practices to drive business performance, both internally within Inovia and with Inovia’s Portfolio Companies. Prior to Inovia, Krista was with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, leading human capital due diligence in portfolio company acquisitions, and value creation deliverables. She has held different roles in organizational and leadership development, as well as working as an independent consultant, in different geographies around the world. Her consulting work has spanned industries such as Investment Management, Corporate Hospitality, Insurance, Banking/Finance, Technology, Transport, Automotive/Aeronautical, and Pharmaceutical. 


Krista (00:00:00):

Notably in, in kind of the design and structure, have I designed the structure that's going to allow my existing talent to perform at their best? You could argue that it's a little bit of a luxury to spend time on that, but I think oftentimes we forget that the organization itself, the how we structure it, is an asset. It's an asset that needs to be managed like any other asset. In the firm, there's a quote, and I'm going to date myself as it goes back many, many years, but Gary Rumer, on great organizations, you put a good performer in a bad system, and the system wins every time, right? And that's as true as it was many, many years ago. True today, as it was many, many years ago.

Fahd (00:01:02):

Hello and welcome to the Unicorn Leadership Podcast. My name is Fahd. I'm your host, and this is where we interview leaders on their journey of building high performing teams on their journey of becoming an effective manager and leader. And, and our goal is to bring you the insights, the tools, so that you get to learn from them, and you don't make the same mistakes that we've all made. Or perhaps you simply make those mistakes, learn to reframe them and overcome them. This podcast is brought to you by Unicorn Labs, where we transform managers into leaders that create high-performing teams that scale. You can feel free to check us out at Unicorn Labs Dosier. And today's guest is Krista Slade. She's the operating partner and chief talent Officer at Innova Capital, and she joins me to discuss creating a talent strategy for startups. Krista shares key questions to consider when reviewing your organizational structure and building a talent strategy to ensure an easy flow of decisions through your organization.


You know, we have a really great conversation about talent strategies and hiring, and all the things that the difficult decisions of startups seem to make, especially in the context of an economy that we're in today with a downturn economy, with a, a challenging tech market, with VC money not flowing the same way that it always has. How do we make some of the decisions regarding our talent strategies? One of the frameworks that Krista shares is how organizational design looks at team structures, processes, and decision making. And how often, most of us, and as founders, we're not really looking at organizational design in the same way. We're not spending time really building out what does that ideal team structure looks like, probably and often, because when we talk about organizational design, people think of governance charts, but it's not about the governance chart. It's not about the hierarchy, but it's about how the organization flows.


What are the teams and what are the team of teams that it makes up. Organizational health checks are important, so allows us to have a little pulse on what's happening within our organization, and the structure in which we, uh, have our teams is equally important in allowing us to have those health checks. So understanding our team health and the cross team, and how we've designed those structures in your business is going to be the key insights that Krista shares with us. What do you consider when you are designing your organization? And, and I'd, I'd love for each and every one of us to actually do this exercise. Often when coaching our executive teams, we get them to do this exercise, which is go and build your ideal team chart. If you had all the money and you had all, if you know where you're going in a year from now, two years from now, what sort of team do you need?


What does the team structure looks like? Go and build out the kind of ideal non-restrictive, non-resource restrictive, or roles here. And then start placing names in those roles. See who's already filling those roles, people who are probably wearing more than one hat. And start to get a picture of where you wanna head, where does the talent strategy you want to go? And then where are you right now? And look at those comparisons. See Krista dives deep into two reasons of why you should consider these sort of team structure exercises. First, you have to think about growth and whether your growth is significant enough to match the team structure that you've now outlined. Is the growth significant enough to consider continued talent acquisition? Should we continue hiring? And secondly, we reach a point where you realize the evolution of your organization and the complexity of its products.


And so, and solutions. Does the existing team structure help me get to the next evolution, the next stage of where I need to go? Or do I need a little bit of a reorg? So, we're gonna wrap up the episode with Krista by sharing thoughts about two trends that must be considered the skillset for managers and how they look today versus how they looked at five years ago, 10 years ago. What is different today for the skills of managers? And when we promote people into roles, the manager roles is the one that they're often least prepared for. So if we're, we're looking for in skill sets of managers today, what are we training for? What are we getting them to? What skills are we willing as an organization to help them build? Today's managers need to balance collaboration with an asynchronous remote environment, and their use of technology is only gonna help them do that. And how they actually have those, uh, their, their ability to actually utilize those technological tools. So if you find this episode helpful, let us know. Send a, a, a a, a little Twitter note. My handle is fad al tab, or send us a a message on LinkedIn. Let us know what you're liking. Let's go to another clip here with Krista to hear more about what she had to say.

Krista (00:05:58):

The third element I was gonna add was understanding the impacts of organizational decisions on people themselves. And that does have a cultural element. A classic example, and I think this applies for startups. Your first VP people hire. Does that person report into the CEO report into someone else? Because it will have an impact on, on the message it sends downstream, right? What value, what value do we place on people?

Fahd (00:06:29):

The value we place on people is ultimately what our talent strategy is going to get us to, how we design our organization, how we design our processes, and then what value do we place on people and the importance of team and collaboration. That is how we mesh the two. So we're gonna dive into Krista's episode. We're gonna have a lot of fun, and we're gonna learn from Krista, who is the Chief Talent Officer at Innova Capital about all the different strategies she helps startups, startups implement to drive business performance and drive growth at the portfolio companies. Without further ado, this is episode 16 of the Unicorn Leaders Podcast. Well, hello Krista, and welcome to our Unicorn and Unicorn Leaders podcast. Uh, you're the first episode. We're recording in 2023. Now, by the time the episodes go out, this, you know, might be there, the second or third episode that goes out in 2023, but we're excited to have you. Happy New Year. You know, do you have a good time in the holidays? You spent a little time in Jamaica?

Krista (00:07:40):

I did. I spent time in warmth and sunshine needed for the body and the soul. It was amazing.

Fahd (00:07:48):

So, that's awesome. That's fantastic. That's great. Oh, Krista, I'm really excited for episode today because our episode is all about talent strategies and talent strategies, in the reality of the economy that we're facing here in 2023, especially with a lot of our tech companies, right? We've seen major layoffs, uh, over 2022. We've seen, layoffs announced at the end of 2022 into 2023. you know, whether it's the big fan companies or whether it's, you know, startups taking a time to realize that they're probably gonna raise a down round in the coming years if they are planning on raising it, might not get the same evaluations. And so everyone's looking at cuts and layoffs. And the reason we look at cuts and layoffs is because labor is usually 66% of costs of most, most startups, right? Like, if, if not more. It's the biggest, it's the biggest piece. So a lot of people are talking talent strategies. What do I do with talent? What do I do with our labor force? How do we make the most of our team, uh, how do we protect them from the downturns? All of those different pieces. And Krista, you have some phenomenal experience with talent strategies. You have some phenomenal experience with venture capital funds. Maybe I'll toss that question off to you. We'll start off with that big question. 2023 talent strategies. What should our startup leaders be thinking about?

Krista (00:09:09):

Hmm. It's a great question, bud. And it's a, it's a great question to start the year, although, you know, in some ways it could have been a great episode at the end of 2022 as well, at any time though, right? I think, yeah. Yeah. At any time it's an important topic. Cuz I don't think the idea of talent strategies, we probably don't spend enough time at any point in time, right? Discussing them. Mm-hmm. And I think that's why, or defining them, not just discussing them, but defining what they are. And I think that's why going into,  situations that we are in 2023 across many companies, right? You identified the FANG earlier, whether it be tech startups, but I think we're seeing it across the board, is using this as an opportunity to really reflect on what is it in my organization's system, right?


Thinking of that as the system that we might want to, improve on, right? It's a good moment to take stock, to reflect and look at what those improvement areas are. Notably in, in kind of the design and structure, right? have, am I designing a system? Have I designed the structure that's gonna allow my existing talent to perform at their best, right? you could argue that it's a little bit of a luxury to spend time on that, but I think oftentimes we forget that the organization itself, the how we structure it, is an asset. It's an asset that needs to be managed like any other asset. in the firm. There's a, there's a quote, and I'm going to date myself cuz it goes back many, many years, but Gary Rumer, on great organizations, you put a good performer in a bad system and the system wins every time, right?


Yeah. and that's as true as it was many, many years ago. True today as it was many, many years ago. So really thinking about that organization as a system, I think it then prepares where we're seeing this downturn. We know that that's gonna change and we'll start hiring and, maybe not at the frenzy pace that we were hiring in 2022. but again, it, it allows for that. When that upturn happens, when we're kind of on that track, again, you've given some thought to what your system looks like to bring the right talent into place. Hmm. And then I think the other parts of that, right? So it starts, that to me is almost the foundation of it. And then you start looking at, okay, what are the other components, whether it be process and decision making, your skills and competencies, right?


All of those other pieces that come into play that define that total system. My sense is we tend to do two things. We, we place a lot of emphasis on talent acquisition professionals in terms of bringing the right talent in. Yeah. Right? We talk a lot about bringing that right talent into the right culture. So we'll do culture initiatives. Yeah. And then there's this big piece in between, that to make the jump from the good talent and kind of the culture piece of an organization, we forget about all of the other pieces that make up. I could bring in, you know, high performing talent and put all the cultural initiatives in place, but if my org structure is hindering people from performing, if my decision making processes are cumbersome and long, if I don't have the tools in place, I'm not gonna get to that cultural outcome with my good talent. Right? Yeah,

Fahd (00:12:51):

Yeah, yeah. That's, uh, that's so true. That's so true. So we're looking at organizational systems. We're looking at how we, how, how, how we've designed the team structures and whether those team structures truly empower high performers, right? What are those processes? What are the most decision making? What are the skill competencies that we actually need, right? And so that's all the space in between what you're saying. All those pieces is in between the, you know, hire better than you, you know, hire people better than you, which is, you know, the, the, the, the idiom that we all use, right? Talent acquisition, hire really good people and give them a good culture. but we're talking about the systems in between that, that's gonna really allow for that. And, and, and perhaps that can also shed light and some of the, you know, as much as we, we can talk about some of the talent systems that we need for 2023, we can also perhaps look at some of the talent mistakes that we've made over the last number of years as, you know, some of that, that hyper hiring and h hiring frenzy that kind of happened in competition for talent, uh, that maybe we're seeing the fallout, uh, from, you know, in, in kind of, uh, this piece.


So that's, that's really interesting. Yeah. So that's really sets us up, Krista, for this episode. Those are kind of some of the pieces that we're gonna be going on. I think it's a little good agenda, little table of contents for our listeners, who are going through this, uh, interested in how they create the right, uh, organizational systems for their teams and their startups to succeed. But Krista, tell us a little bit about you. Where are you right now in your career? And we're gonna, we're gonna go back, but where are you right now? Tell me a little bit about the, the fund that you work for and the role that you play day-to-day.

Krista (00:14:27):

Yeah, so I am an operating partner in Chief Talent officer at Innovia Capital. innoVi is a Canadian, Montreal headquartered venture capital firm. That last year celebrated, we celebrated our 15 year anniversary. So been around for awesome 15 years. started with venture early stage venture in 2018, added a growth component, a growth team to that. And then over the past couple of years have been building out a platform services team. so it started with one individual in m and a Corp Dev. he's recently expanded his team, so now they're a team of two brought in talent. So that's when I joined in 2021. My colleague Steve Woods joined to head up our technology practice. And then we have our head of marketing and communications working with our portfolio companies on their marketing and communication needs. So it's really looking at nothing exceptional in venture capital. I would argue that the, our tech practice and, cork dev is the m and a practice are probably more unique in venture capital today. You know, whether in Canada and especially in the US you've got a lot of venture capital firms that have their heads of talent, heads of marketing and communications kind of working with portfolio companies on dish, different initiatives. Yeah. the other uniqueness potentially about my role is I also have remit over innova's internal,  HR practice.

Fahd (00:15:59):

Cool. Cool. That's awesome. That's really cool. So you've got this, this real depth of experience. Now, Krista, you, you know, you, you, you get to play this fun role now with these portfolio companies working on talent strategies, right? Really, being a, a part of what, you know, really up and coming Canadian startups, right? And, and, and being able to be at the forefront of that. But you weren't always here and you weren't always, you know, you weren't always in, take me back a little bit. Some of the lessons that you're gonna share with us likely came from some of your own personal experiences as you kind of started, but let's go back, you know, a little further. Where'd you grow up? Where's home where, you know, where, where was university? Where, where was a little bit of, where was the first job? I don't know. You know, I just

Krista (00:16:46):

Wow. So the home is Niagara Falls. I was born and raised in Niagara Falls. My parents are there, aunts, uncles, cousins, still have a couple of friends who stayed, left Niagara Falls to go to Ottawa for a year at Carlton. did a year in Ottawa and realized there's too much snow in Ottawa

Fahd (00:17:06):

that I can agree with.

Krista (00:17:10):

There was a program that was advertised across Canadian universities at the time. it was an academic program run by Lareen University in the south of France. so just outside of n in a little town called. and the academic program was probably one of the most innovative things I've ever seen. You could come from any university across Canada, and you did all of your electives at this campus in the south of France. all of, yeah. So all of your electives were done and they had professors from around the world,  really, you know, just kind of the, the content and the way they taught English writers of the Mediterranean was taught in the cafes that Hemingway wrote in. Yeah. So all of a sudden, you know, the relevance of these things became mm-hmm. So I think that was my first taste of living, well, it was my first taste of living abroad, but really kind of that, Ooh, I'm liking this living abroad thing. Right. this

Fahd (00:18:12):

Is cool. I mean, it's cool, it's cool to me that you use the word innovative and academic in the same sentence. Right. often, often, you know, institutions are criticized for not being, are, are, especially our academic institutions, education for being kind of behind or a bit slow in catching up with what is happening. So that is really cool that that program existed. Cool. Yeah. Keep, keep

Krista (00:18:34):

Going. It was a great, great opportunity. So that did my second year there, and then I was asked to stay on as a student liaison coordinator. so I did, cuz you don't say no to an opportunity like that, despite my parents saying, well, wait a minute, does this mean you're not finishing your degree yet? so I did take a little break. I took a break to play this role for a couple of years and then realized by the end of it that okay, it was time to go home. It was time to finish that degree, and decided to do it. I was so impressed by Lorenson University in this academic program that they ran, that I bit the bullet and moved to Sudbury to finish my degree. Oh, wow. So that in and of itself was a, a different experience. Mm-hmm.


I had never seen myself moving to Sudbury, Ontario, but it was, uh, a year and a half to finish my degree and I just made the most of it. Cuz it is, it's a, it's a unique part of the world. It's, you know, has its own kind of, there's some cultural elements to it that were a great learning experience, but I wasn't done with the travel yet. I knew that. so I headed to Japan, because I had met someone along the way and,  so the stint in Japan was working for a cultural institute. And this was probably my first, I, I had no idea that I wanted a career in, I studied political science. I thought I wanted to be prime minister of Canada but this was probably the foray into HR and talent. So it was a cultural institute, that trained professionals who were moving to North America.


And often sometimes, like at the, at that time, the Japanese would send folks over to corporates and they'd have like a year or two time spend. Right. So this was my first foray into talent development training, et cetera, right? And I, I, I liked it. I enjoyed it. It was fascinating apart from the experience of living in Japan. So did that for a year while I was in Japan. I met a Frenchman, who that many years now later is my husband. so we moved to Paris and I continued with that same kind of, found another, training institute that did similar work, found myself more and more working with HR professionals and thought, okay, this is, I'm now gonna bite that bullet. Yeah. and joined a competency development firm, that was opening an office in Toronto. It was time to move back to Canada.


It had been out of the country for maybe four or five years at that point. So moved to Toronto and did competency development work. And I'll never forget this cuz it was with one of the big banks and the competency model that was used, involved getting groups of people together. And it was the Lominger competency model. So you had these card decks and people would select kind of where they thought skills were. And I remember at one point thinking there's a lot of emphasis on the individual, the performer, right? in this large bank in Canada. And we're putting a lot of emphasis on the individual, you know, and left that in my head as kind of a Hmm. And then I ended up joining a startup, met a couple of folks here in Toronto, um, who worked for a Silicon Valley based startup called Saba Software that did learning management.


So today, oh, cool. S Salba ended up going public while I was with them. And then when I moved to the Middle East many years later, they showed up on a private equity,  investment committee as a take private. so today, Saba's owned by Cornerstone on Demand. But, that was a unique opportunity to start looking at process, right. In that,  I was hired to work with existing customers or future customers on redesigning some of those talent processes. Right. And all of a sudden I started thinking, okay, this is where we take it from. It's not just, we're not putting the individual at the heart of this. Right. Where improvement only happens there. It is, there's a bit more of a system element to it. Mm-hmm. through that work at Saba, I had the opportunity to,  Saba had acquired a small consulting firm called Exemplary Performance that looked at job design.


Right? So this was another building block to it where I thought, okay, the way we des design not just the processes, but the way we design jobs, the way we think about them, how explicit we are in accountabilities and,  in those job descriptions. Not just because we need them to hire the good people. Right. They, they have meaning in their execution. so I was with Salba, stayed with them, through to I p O and about a year and a half after, and then just decided it was my time to move on. Wasn't sure what I was going to do. And, the individual who owned the firm that Saba had acquired called Exemplary Performance, he had left as well. And he called me and he said, listen, I have, a project that I'm starting with, Microsoft would love to have you come join me.


And I was like, oh, how do you do that? You know, I didn't ha I wasn't a company. I, he wasn't looking to hire me full-time. Yeah. So I called a friend of my dad's who's accountant and an accountant, and I said, how do I do this so I did it and it, it ended up being seven years of the project with Microsoft lasted five years. and it was fascinating thought as we think about this system issue. So Microsoft, it was at that point where, you know, there, there was that Microsoft could afford to have a consultant on staff full-time. Yeah. Not just one. Yeah. not just me, not just one, but, I had a desk out in Seattle, was out there every couple of weeks, flew around the world for them, went to Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, all over Europe. So all over the us. So it was fascinating from that perspective, but what continues to strike me, it was a, at the time that Microsoft was thinking about,  getting rid of their performance management process, right? so doing away with performance reviews, did

Fahd (00:25:05):

They, did they have the, the, the, the rank, the rank and poll system, like where you ranked them and they pulled the bottom 10? Yeah. They had

Krista (00:25:13):

Classics. They did. They did.

Fahd (00:25:14):

They did the bell curve. Yeah,

Krista (00:25:15):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. At the same time they had promoted, I think it was close to 4,000, promoted or hired 4,000 managers, without any kind of training whatsoever. So what was interesting about this, it was a, it was a truly a design project, right? Yeah. Like really thinking of, we're not gonna say 4,000 people, managers figure it out. We're gonna design something that makes sense. We're not gonna rip out performance management and say, Hey, managers, figure out how you're gonna do that. Yeah. Let's think about that from a process. So, really put in place kind of these manager of excellence and manager of manager, if you were a, at that next level, programs that helped them with defining kind of what are the behaviors, what are the, the outputs? Not even, it wasn't even about behaviors or skills and competencies. It was really what are the tangible outputs mm-hmm.


As it related to people management, right? So all of this remains in the realm of, of talent and people management. That then turned into another project that started into more of the organization, the system, the system thinking at the time, they were, there was a project that they had embarked on called one Microsoft, because they were finding that for most of their clients, because they were product organized, they would end up three different teams showing up at a client site and causing havoc for the client. And knowing why are all these Microsoft people here from different, organizations. So that was kind of my first taste into, okay, designing systems, making organizational decisions has an impact on how well your performers can perform. Yeah. Right? And I think we forget that we put, for organizational design, I think is often equated if, yeah, I've got my org chart, I put my org chart somewhere. Yeah. I put some boxes, I put some boxes on a PowerPoint, or I use lucid charts or something and I'm good. Right? But I think we forget that as an asset that enables people, that design is important, right? It really is kind of a, so all of this led to these, these building blocks that, for me, that was a big aha moment. Also, the time that, my husband and I, the French guy from Japan.

Fahd (00:27:43):

The French guy from Japan, there's <laugh>,

Krista (00:27:46):

We ended up, dec we decided to move back to, to France. so I continued doing some work with Microsoft's, uh, European team, that I had gotten to know quite well. and then I thought, you know what? I think this is it. Not sure I was ready for it, but I think this is it. It's time to go the root of the big consulting firm. So,  leveraged my network and got an intro to Oliver Wyman and joined Oliver Wyman in their organization and leadership practice. Cuz I knew that's, it was one of the places where all of those different pieces were gonna come together. right?

Fahd (00:28:25):

Uhhuh yeah. Yeah,

Krista (00:28:27):

Definitely. I'm gonna pause cuz that's a lot. No,

Fahd (00:28:29):

The no there. That's a lot of fun. Fascinating experience and, and really cool for it to, to kind of see how it all comes together, right? Like, uh, both your journey, your career journey, I think is phenomenal for people to hear and, uh, and learn from. But even just the different insights and, uh, the different mistakes that we see at large organizations make Right? Let, let alone our startups that are 20, 30, 50 people, a hundred people, right? Like, um, you know, sometimes, you know, you might, you might not have, you know, might not make the same mistake as Microsoft sending several teams to a, a, a client because you don't have 5,000 employees. And maybe that's not your, your current problem, but in the micro of, of, of, of your, you know, a hundred person team where those same organizational flaws and mistakes happening where multiple people are maybe trying to surface the same problem without talking to each other, and so on so forth.

Krista (00:29:22):

Absolutely. I always like to say like, don't become owning this. Now you don't become the consultant's dream project. Right.


Cause basically the consultant's dream project is you undo things. Yeah. Right?

Fahd (00:29:40):

Don't the consultants dream project. Uh, that's hilarious. You know? Um, I think, uh, I think even, you know, Shopify, beloved Shopify, Toby, I think at one point, Shopify had had written a tweet to, which was like, um, you know, he talked about the the amount of  management consultant, uh, a startup will need, could be an equasion to a lack of success. Because if you, you need that much management consultant that early on, like, what's going on? You know, like it was, it was a little shot at consultants for sure, but it was also a shot at, at, you know, should you be tangling up that many, you know, different, different pieces. Yep. Um,

Krista (00:30:29):



I'm convinced that like after that, after kind of the, this is, it really is about that, um, thinking of the organization as a system, right? Where you're really from the people and your people processes, your structure, the cultural element, your leadership practices, um, and, and almost doing that and to give the, the big consulting firms credit where they, where credit is due. It was McKinsey that started it with kind of these organizational health checks. Yes. It doesn't have to be a big complicated, um, but it's almost, we do it with our financials. We do it with our IT equipment. Yeah. Right? Sometimes, sometimes, not always well,

Fahd (00:31:13):

but we wait for it to break. Yeah

Krista (00:31:16):

But we kind of have an inventory and you can do a bit of a check on. Yeah. We rarely do it with our organizational system. Yeah. And that system could be as small as the 30 person company, right. Or as big as the 30,000 person company.

Fahd (00:31:31):

Yeah. Yeah. No, I hear you. And, and it's, and it, you know, it's the first thing, I think it's the first thing we do, and we start working with clients and, and less from a, a full, you know, organizational management perspective, but we do a team dynamics assessment, and that's exactly what it is, which is a health check on the relationships of the team members and their effectiveness and their ability to work together. And so we've got a, a, a 36 point system that we use in a survey that we've, you know, gone through several research methods around. But it's exactly that. It's to kind of get a diagnosis of how's your team health, how are the relationships with the leaders and the relationship with individuals, and then how's cross team health, right? And, uh, it's, it's, it's perhaps less about the organizational design that you're talking about, but it's a piece of it, which is the team dynamics and the philosophy and the values and those pieces, which are pillars of larger organizational design, right? So, yep,

Krista (00:32:22):

Absolutely. And sometimes those diagnostics can reveal, right? There might be some root causes in other parts of the system that are impacting. right? That team dynamic.

Fahd (00:32:35):

Yeah. Yeah. It's, uh, it's very, very, uh, very accurate. True. And, and, uh, reflecting on some of my own clients and, and, and, and teams that I've worked on, right? Where organizational structure and the process was the problem. And no matter who we plugged into it, you know, what sort of team we plugged into it, it was just breaking year after year. And it, and it had to do with the actual structure. So, so help us, let, let's dive into that for a second, because I think most of us, and probably listening here and, and, and, and me a few years ago for sure, would've said, well, organizational structure is a governance chart. Krista, what are you talking about?  what do you, what organize, what are you talking, what is organizational structure? If it's not the governance chart and it's the authority flows, uh, and it's, you know, the who's manager and who are the teams. Like, that's my understanding of an organizational structure. So if you're saying, I need to check in on this, and, and let's say, you know, I'm a hundred percent team, we're not a 5,000 person team, but what am I looking at at a hundred percent team, you know, a 75% team when we're talking about organizational structure?

Krista (00:33:36):

Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes Pat, I think it is the, there's the check-in on it, but it's where most of your process broken processes, right? That's hindering performance. so making sure that flow of decisions, whatever those decisions are, right, that they flow through your organization chart in such a way that it's not, oh my God, because I've structured this way, this team is now blocking, right? Yeah. I think that's one, a lot of his reflection, if there's a checklist of questions, there are many, you know, I can send you one on afterwards, but just kind of that checklist of questions that you just wanna be mindful of, right? The second one is where I've put some of my teams, right? Because there's no such thing as a perfect organizational design, right? there's nowhere, where in the world is there one single organizational design that's perfect.


That org chart, org structure will depend on where the business is at,  what you're trying to do, right? What type of organization, what you're trying to achieve, what the strategy and outcomes are. What it shouldn't be is people driven. And I know that sounds like almost counterintuitive, but it shouldn't be. I'm creating my organization structure because I need Sally,  in this position, right? My organization structure should be created in such a way cuz it helps me achieve what I'm looking to achieve, right? Mm-hmm. And we, we often, we all, you know, I'll hold my hand up, I've done it, make mistakes on designing organizations around people,  rather than kind of what the business needs or what the outcomes are that I'm trying to derive.

Fahd (00:35:20):

I really, I really like that. If I can just hold onto that because I think, so often in business we use sports analogies. And in sports you can build a team around individuals, right? You're kinda like, okay, we've got one or two superstars, so we're gonna build a team around them. And so sometimes people think that, or I've got these two, two great salespeople, these two great engineers, I'm gonna build a team around them. But I guess I'm hearing you say is that organizational structure, if we do that, we r we, there's a huge risk. There's risk of them. There is, there's risk of them leaving, and then your entire, your structure doesn't work, your system doesn't work without them. And there needs to be a counterbalance there. Yep. Right? There needs to be a, a, the system still needs to work no matter who really you place in those roles, you know, given a, a, a, a certain talent level, right? Like there's a, there's always, there's always that

Krista (00:36:08):

And that, I mean, it's not to say that we won't make those decisions sometimes, you know, world Cup soccer, if you looked at Argentina, right? If you make a certain decision and structure around a person Yeah. But you're, you need to be clear on that what your rationale for doing it is the timeframe, right. That it isn't a sustainable structure. Right? And you're already thinking about what are my options post that departure, what, you know, what's my succession plan option and how I might need to restructure accordingly. Yeah. right. So it's more about not thinking that once it's done, it's a check, right. That it is a, it's a living document. It's something that evolves over time and should be checked in. Um, the third element I was gonna add was understanding the impacts of organizational decisions on people themselves. And that does have a cultural element. A classic example, and I think this applies for startups. Your first VP people hire. Hmm. Does that person report into the CEO report into someone else? Cuz it will have an impact on, on the message it sends downstream, right? Okay,

Fahd (00:37:22):

Let's walk

Krista (00:37:22):

Value. What value do we place on people?

Fahd (00:37:26):


Krista (00:37:27):

If are people a cost reporting in the cfo,

Fahd (00:37:31):

Right? Because that's often what we see, right? VP talent, fortune to cfo. Yeah.

Krista (00:37:37):

And I'm that it's not in any way to say that that's a wrong design decision. There's no right, wrong, right? but it does have impacts in being aware of what those are, right? Mm-hmm. the perception that it could, it could bring to others in that way. So then you wanna look for other levers to say, okay, this was a design decision because a spans and layers question with the CEO because of what we need the CEO to focus on in the business. So we were limited the nu limiting the number of direct reports. Those are all great design considerations. That's why we're doing this. Let's now think of what, what do we, we might need to do if I use the VP of people as an example to make sure that those perceptions that it could cause the impact that it could have are mitigated, right? Yeah. So to me it's all about the trade offs that you're making, um, in some of those design decisions. Yeah.

Fahd (00:38:35):

I think those are some, some, some really good pieces. So let's let, let's go through a few more design decision examples for organizational structures mm-hmm. and kind of at that high level, some questions that I often get, which is, when is the right time to bring in a VP of talent, right? Um, what size, how much, you know, what, what, uh, c after my series A, is it when I'm trying to hire a lot, you know, or do I just need extra recruiters? Like what, when, when is the VP of talent the right time? And obviously again, there's no right answer, but let's, let's give some ranges and, and some, yeah. Some per parameters or indicators and events that kind of trigger the need.

Krista (00:39:10):

Yeah. And I w but I, I don't, I don't wanna put it at a series stage. Okay. You know, I think we'll see if you looked at, and if you did it on Google or maybe even chat, G P T can give you an answer.

Fahd (00:39:27):

Yeah. Chat, chat. G p t.

Krista (00:39:31):

Frightening. But that's a whole other podcast. Um, you know, if you're looking at series stage, okay, series A, I'm not sure it's about the number of people today, because it's more about if I'm 50 people today and I'm gonna stay 50 people for all of 2023 and maybe into early 2024, no now's not. So it depends on what my hiring plan is, right? Okay.

Fahd (00:39:58):


Krista (00:39:59):

So if I am looking to grow significantly, and if that growth is significant enough that I want, um, I need to bring in someone from a talent acquisition perspective, I would carve that out as a specialty, right? it's not necessarily your VP of people bringing in to do just talent acquisition. Yeah. Um, right. So I'd wanna make sure that, that, um, I, I'd also look at the, the evolution of my organizational str, if it's the same rough organization structure with more people in it, because I need more people to produce the work. If all of a sudden I'm getting more complex in terms of different solutions, products, that type, then I might wanna consider, okay, now we've got someone, we've got enough complexity in the system that having someone to help complexity in, in a positive way, right? Like in a mm-hmm. our system is growing in depth. Um, now's the time to bring in someone who, who can be that the, the, the partner with the CEO on, okay, what are some of those process my organizational design decisions, right? continuing to kind of give that type of reflection around.

Fahd (00:41:16):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Good. Good. Uh, good, uh, good answer, it makes, I mean, makes sense, makes sense, makes sense to me and, and, uh, really is about that growth and, and, uh, about that reflection of what the next step is for organizational design. Is this a, is this the, the right time, uh, based on where we're going and what the CEO kind of needs and help, uh, the help for? Um, so, so that's a big part of organizational design and, and you took us through a few different pieces of organizational design in the beginning of my, my first question, Krista, and maybe, we'll, maybe it's time for us to kind of get back and dig a little deeper into some of those pieces. So part of organizational design is, you know, as you've mentioned here, looking at, um, uh, design infrastructure.


So team structures, um, uh, looking at processes and looking at decision making. I think decision making is the interesting piece I'm gonna pick on it. And the reason I think it's the interesting piece is I think ultimately all organizations try and scale by effectively and efficiently, uh, um, decentralizing decision making, right? So we've gotta do, so I, the idea of growing a team is so that you can pass down decision making to those who are closest to the problem and information in order to create an organization that scales. Otherwise, you still have one person at the top. And often the more bureaucratic an organization, the more decision making flows upwards where information flows upwards to those who make the decisions versus the more nimble startups. And why we can sometimes see startups really, you know, the David and Goliath story, David, you know, is able to beat Goliath. Our startups are able to beat the big corporates, is because they are more nimble and able to make decisions faster, more effectively and closer to the information. So let's look at the relationship between, I'm a, I'm a startup, c e o I'm thinking about decision making and empowering my employees, and how does talent strategy play into that? How does organizational system planed out? What questions should I be asking myself? What, what things should I be thinking about?

Krista (00:43:18):

Hmm. So back to, to me it's the point thought of if, you know, knowing what those decisions are being made, not, not, not controlling them, not having to have a say in them, not making sure that flows up to committees and governance, decision making bodies in any way, shape or form, right? This is more about understanding, um, what, what kind of decisions, what those decisions are, and are there any roadblocks if my product team, if the product team needs to make decisions, um, but there isn't that right structure or flow to the engineering team, um, that will definitely, it'll either, it'll either stagnate completely. or will end up being an escalation flow, or will end up being separate decision, make decisions that happen. And then you end up with the, with the challenges, right? So yeah, you, you know, to me that's the reflection, that's the monitoring in, in the worst, not the worst possible word I could use, but think, you know what I mean?


Just, it's a, yeah. Like you monitor your health, you kind of, you know, you got a sense of what's going on, um, to make sure that none of those roadblocks that could happen in an organization are happening. I think we, we sometimes leave it to chance in some ways, um, rather than spend an, an, you know, the time I'm, I won't put a number or an amount or hours to that time, but there is a discussion. It's done through surveys, it's done through discussions with senior team, but making it a point of discussion Yeah. Um, is really the right, what are we, what are we sensing? What are we experiencing in terms of roadblocks, right? Where might they be coming from? Yeah. And that could result in, it could result, I mean, one of the outcomes could be that, you know, a committee of some sort, a meeting, a regular standing of something, but where you're facilitating that decision making, it doesn't have to mean a full-blown organizational redesign, right? Because there might be issues with, um, decision making at between two teams, right?

Fahd (00:45:42):


Krista (00:45:43):

Okay. So it's having that checklist of questions, the things that you wanna make sure, um, you're checking in on with each of your leaders or managers. First, understanding what those decisions are, where they sit, what, what are they being asked to decide on? And then having regular check-ins, right? Yeah.

Fahd (00:46:03):

Yeah. Getting a sense of what those decisions are, I think is key. And getting a sense of what the themes of decisions are across the organization. They're often is probably, you know, constant, you know, there's the constant battle of, uh, sales, uh, you know, promising. The next thing where product hasn't built it yet and customer service is dealing with a, you know, customer services dealing with the client who's been sold something that isn't here yet. Cuz sales strike to push it through to get to the, the next, you know, in, in your, you're dealing with that the roadmap, product roadmap is usually one of the, they're the biggest around decision making, right? And the biggest, uh, biggest problem and where you get se several teams there. So, so zooming back out a little bit again, again, talent strategy. What are some of the most common problems you're seeing with your portfolio companies and the companies that you're working with, um, in regards to their talent strategies? What are the tr typical kind of maybe pitfalls traps that a lot of our startups, maybe our new entrepreneurs or young entrepreneurs are, are falling into and some of the common mistakes when it comes to some of the talent strategy for us to watch out for?

Krista (00:47:07):

Yep. A great question. You know, as it relates specifically to the topics that we're, we've been discussing here, I think part, part of that on the decision, especially in those first hires, right? Where it might be, whether it VP people, whether it be your VP marketing is that missed step. So we spend time on the job, right? but really thinking about from an org design, if you're, where does this function sit within my organization? Um, and having a couple of options, right? Thinking, thinking through not having options because you can't make the decision on which one, but exploring different options and what their impacts could be, um, I think makes for a better candidate experience. I think it helps with talent attraction. right? If I can come into an interview process and know that the leader in front of me has given thought to, you know, here's a design option that here's, and we explored this. Yeah. Um, here's are the pros and cons for where we're at today. It doesn't mean it won't evolve over time, right? Um, so just being really thoughtful, mindful, reflective on what those options are when you're designing that, especially your first senior roles, um, the senior, you know, even as, as growth happens when all of a sudden there's that split between organizational functions, right? Another area is,

Fahd (00:48:43):

Let's, let's, uh, let's, uh, we'll go back to the other areas. So in terms of, uh, first hires and kind of first C-suite hires, you know, this is always, this is always interesting, right? If you've got a number of managers there before, and now you're bringing on a C-suite in a little bit of power dynamics a little bit, team dynamic changes happen there, you know, you're really thinking about the design. So I think those are some things to think about, right? So if you're not promoting from within, you're bringing in external compensation for that person typically looks much different than compensation for the rest of the team. It really starts to open up a can of worms for some. some founders who don't really know how to, how to deal with, and I've worked with some founders where they try to avoid dealing with some of the fallout, the team dynamics pieces as you start to bring in leadership and, and what are, you know, I guess what are some of the common mistakes there?


So I, I mean, I'll start off by naming one often, you know, I will, I will talk to leaders about, if you're gonna bring in a senior person, make sure they know how to start fires, not just put out fires. And, and what I mean by that is that if you're coming from a little bit more corporate or consulting, you know, you're used to maybe putting out fires, you know, management by making sure that everything is running. But at a startup, we need people who can start fires, who can start the engine and get it going. So it's a little more proactive than maybe reactive. And it's a simplified way of thinking for sure. There's a lot of nuances to it. But it's to say like, you're looking for that kind of leadership. And so that's one that I've seen as a common mistake. But what are some of those common mistakes you see when bringing on some of the, the, the kind of the C-suite individuals?

Krista (00:50:24):

Hmm. You, you, you've probably identified the biggest one. Those who don't wanna deal with it, right? You have to deal with it, right? Yeah. You, you can't bring in that senior role and say, maybe no one will notice, right? yeah. I'll just have that person do their job and maybe no one will notice that I slipped that one in. Right? Um, so being ex explicit about it, right? Being able to answer the questions about the person who holds up their hands says, why wasn't it me? Right? Yeah. Been with you since day one, why wasn't it me?

Fahd (00:50:59):

And sometimes it's friends, sometimes it's people who are close, right? Like, you know, there's a, I think there's a, there's a famous example. Amazon Bezos had to do it. He, he put in a, a chief technology officer in front of, you know, one of his, his close people who helped save the company in early days. And that was a big fallout, is we sometimes are uncomfortable with those, right? Yeah,

Krista (00:51:22):

Absolutely. Yeah. And I, I think that is a muscle, it's a muscle that, you know, you need to exercise to realize you have exercise, it flex it sometimes mm-hmm. Um, but ignoring it is never an option. I've seen some great practices, um, that help facilitate that, right? And I think that that is, that does include when people who do come into those roles are ready themselves to address it, right? So where you kind of get the, your immediate direct reports together and have that ask me the questions, right? Submit them anonymously in advance, but address them right from the start. Um, yeah. I, I think those, um,

Fahd (00:52:11):

Any thoughts on, uh, um, when's a good time to bring in a coo sometimes, like a second in command sort of role? That's always an interesting one too, right? There's a I'm throwing a lot of questions at you, so I just, you know, just, I

Krista (00:52:27):

Think it's great because that when I, I there is a design decision around that. Absolutely. there's a size decision, there's a design decision. I'd also argue that there's a little bit of a complementarity to skillset in the CEO o Right? where it could be at an,

Fahd (00:52:48):

In that case, you are designing around a person a bit, but you

Krista (00:52:51):

Are Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, and that again, to go back to the very first point, we shouldn't design around people. We do, and it will happen, right? Yeah. So it's just being conscious of the why it's happening, right? Yeah. Um, mindful of that, is it sustainable? How is there, is there a light shelf life to this, right? either to the c o o role or to other roles that we bring in. But, um, I, I had lost my train of thought on something. I was gonna say fun.

Fahd (00:53:26):

No, no worries. I'm, I'm the one jumping around quite a bit here, <laugh>. No,

Krista (00:53:29):

No, no. It's a, it's a really, the, you know, kind of, I had two experiences that aren't, aren't necessarily startup experience, although one, you could consider it a little bit of a, a startup within big corporate, because it was an electrical ve vehicle project between Pojo and bmw when I was living in, in France, and they were starting a company together, an electric, an ev Yeah. Um, vehicle company. And it was one of the most horrific organizational design projects. Um, not only because of the cultural element, because we haven't talked about culture, right? we're, I think we're, we're thinking of this more from a, you know, different cultures in Canada, but not necessarily country cultures Yeah. Working together. So that was a, a there were cultural challenges there, just differences in, in people and how, um, work gets done and Yeah. Right. So that was, that had an added element to it.


But they, they refused, they refused to kind of think about how the organization would be structured. There were gonna be two CEOs, co CEOs, one French, one German, um, and basically as this project evolved, their organizational design ended up being two companies, right? Yeah. Because co CEO German didn't wanna lose his x, y, Z person. And co c e o Bojo French guy didn't wanna lose his x, y, Z person. So you had two parallel organizations, right. And that had to sit, right. So it was just one of those. Um, and, but for them it was going to work. The people were gonna make it work. don't worry, don't worry. The people will make it work.

Fahd (00:55:30):

Yeah. Yeah.

Krista (00:55:31):

Yeah. I was with a consulting firm at the time, so the, the deliverable was the PowerPoint presentation.

Fahd (00:55:35):

So I want

Krista (00:55:37):

The PowerPoint presentation.

Fahd (00:55:39):

I, I gave you my recommendations and that's all I can do for now. Yeah, yeah,

Krista (00:55:43):

Yeah. Yeah. And then the, you know, the news article came out that was, um, that was a failed, um, startup, yeah. Of five East, two big automotive companies. But, um,

Fahd (00:55:57):

Well, when you ignore these designs decisions, I think this is, you know, the big theme here you're saying is that if we ignore and are unintentional about organizational design decisions, um, and structure, and we think we can, you know, often, often we don't think about it, you just say, okay, your marketing team, your engineering team, you're this team. Right? Like, put them in buckets and go and let them self-organize. And if that's the extent to which we are thinking about, uh, team design or organizational design, then there are natural flaws that are gonna gonna happen, right? For decision making flows and so on and so forth. Um, so I took us a little bit off topic on that, you know, when to bring in a C-suite. What are some of the other problems and challenges that you, uh, that you, you see, um, facing talent strategies in, in 2023, kind of for for, for startups that are listening in. Yeah.

Krista (00:56:45):

You know, I think that this in general, right? This is more the, to me that was this, our topic, this big topic right now was really about, it's a good time to take stock, right? Yeah. And, and it's, it's also gonna be a difficult time because there's other things happening in the business that require a lot more focus, right? Yeah. So, in no way would I wanna leave here and say you're 2023 should only be about looking at your organization design and organizational health. Your 2023 is gonna be about a whole lot of other stuff.

Fahd (00:57:19):


Krista (00:57:21):

Now is a good time to also include that, not, you know, as a sole focus, but to start building it into practice, into your own practice. you made a comment that had me think of, you know, we might be focusing a little bit on, um, this from a startup c e o perspective, a, my advice is to look for people, especially as you make some of those first senior hires, is look for people who bring this themselves. You shouldn't have to do it all on your own, right? who want to hire those senior people who can bring that same kind of design thinking into their teams, to me as A C E O, is making sure that those le I'm, you know, I shouldn't be in no way going deep into each of those organizations to understand that. But I should have the layer of people that can do that.


And then my role is simply to make sure that cross for that team, I think that's where more of the team dynamic work comes in. Yeah. Um, assuming that they've Right. Are taking care of kind of in their own functions that way. Um, so, you know, to me this is more about if I were to pick a muscle that I wanna start building this year, that would be a, this would be a good year to do that. Yeah. Um, the other one that's a little bit, I mean, it's talent strategy related, but less about the organizational design in some way, although I guess we could put it in that bucket, is, uh, you know, I think the remote hybrid Hmm. In the midst of all of this is, is potentially going to be even more challenging. Hmm. Um, right. Because the impact of layoffs, is it, does it mean less work?


Is there less work? Are the layoffs creating more work? Yeah. For people who are already feeling, as, you know, we all know it quite a bit of burnout, um, and we've left this layer of remote hybrid into it. Um, it'll be interesting to see the impacts on that. I, you know, I know from within our portfolio, our own portfolio, looking at the strategies, the tactics, the ways in which we're trying to bring people back in the office. N not at a full-time, this isn't about, um, but for meaningful time, right? making that time that you're in, um, just as meaningful. So the, the design in there is the design of work, right? I'd almost argue if I were, if I had the luxury of manager training, that would be the skill that I'd focus on for managers, right? Yeah. Is thinking about how work gets designed. Yes. Um, right. Yeah. And making that so that I'm intentional about, I need my group of 10 people in the office on this day, and here's the things that we're gonna work on. Not, I need my 10 people here all sitting on their own, working on something. Right? Yeah.

Fahd (01:00:31):

I think more than ever we're we're teaching managers, um, facilitation and scrum skills. Like how do you, yeah. You know, not that, not that you're running maybe a full agile scrum, but you're just, how do you get people together in a room to actually unpack a decision and do through design thinking? You know, it used to be that, oh, we need, certain people need to learn design thinking skills, or every manager needs to learn design thinking skills because we need to learn how to democratize conversation, how to facilitate a brainstorming, a team meeting session, because now you have less and less of them because, and, you know, pay to bring people in, and how do you maximize that? Right. I think really learning to be effective facilitator for those managers, as you men mentioning in that team, and like, if you were to train these managers, what, what skill would you Right?


That designing, designing the job. Job crafting is a, you, you mentioned job design. We do this job crafting, um, uh, uh, you know, workshop for a lot of companies, but it's available, uh, and, and easy for people to do themselves. But essentially the manager after six months of a person being in the job says, okay, I know I gave you a job description, but it likely no longer matches now that you've been working in the job for six months. So let's recraft your job and let's design. What does it look like? Right? And so that intentionality, I think is, is really interesting. Yeah. Both those and the facilitation that you're mentioning.

Krista (01:01:50):


Fahd (01:01:52):

Yeah. Well, there's, there's been, excuse me, there's been a lot of really interesting kind of pieces that we're, we're piecing together here from, from, you know, organizational structure, which looks at team structures, how we, how we organize, uh, teams around a product, how we organize team decision making. We've talked about, um, we've talked about, uh, uh, job designs or bringing in, um, uh, C-suite individuals. We've talked about some of the challenges, uh, that we see from hybrid work and remote work, um, for, uh, uh, our folks and, and our startups. Um, with, with kind of a few moments left here together, Krista, what are, what are some of the things that you'd like to share to our audience? Often, often you are at the forefront, maybe of some of the trends that you're seeing as, as you get, you know, you see a portfolio of startups more often, our CEOs that we're working with are really, you know, head in the sand. They're, they're, they're working on their product. Maybe they're not, they're not looking at what all the other competition is doing. All the other startups, um, you know, they just see the websites. They see the outside, they see the LinkedIn post, but they don't see the, the, the messy inside and, and realize that we're all pretty, you know, disorganized at some level. Um, they don't see the insides. What are some of the trends you're seeing that maybe, um, a weekend leave our guests with as, as kind of things to look forward to?

Krista (01:03:13):

Hmm. I think fad, I'm gonna jump on that very last point. That the skillsets for managers, um, are, are, are looking. They, I don't even say will look. They are looking very different. Um, and we're already bad at, we always have been. Right? We promote people into roles, and the manager one is the one they're least prepared for. Yeah. Um, and now add new skills that none of us have really mastered yet to it. Um, they're even more ill prepared for it. Um, I'd argue the same is true of not all generations in the workforce, because I think the, the, our earlier, um, career folks and, and folks who will enter the workforce will be more prepared for, um, not because I don't, there's a technology component to it, obviously, there always is, but, um, just in terms of how work happens, right? right?


Not just the, where it happens and whether I choose to work from a park or a, in my office. You know, that not, not that kind of, but just how it happens. Um, the, the balance between the collaboration versus the asynchronous. Um, there, there's just a different flow to it than I think, uh, you know, other generations had seen in the past, um, that we need to be prepared for. And that goes back to the managers are the ones who need to be prepared for, cuz they'll need to manage that. Obviously technology, uh, you know, I, uh, I have smarter colleagues than I who, um, look at technology, but it will definitely have a profound impact on, on some of the ways that we continue to collaborate. Um, we have a, a network colleague, um, who used to be with, with Google in an HR capacity and was sharing some information on things that are awesome, just in terms of that connection that could happen.


Um, you know, I'm sure this has happened to you the number of times that now after two plus years of us, um, interacting this way, where sometimes we forget, have I met you in person five? Right. Yeah. I think that's gonna get even worse or better, right? depending on how you look at it. Um, the flip side to it, I believe it will create more and more. You've seen it. I've seen it. Um, and that's the comment I made around some of the things that our portfolio companies are looking at is that intentionality of when people do get together, what are you getting together for? Right? Yeah. Yeah. Um, that there's just an intentionality to things that I think that will be more pronounced than ever.

Fahd (01:06:19):

Yeah. Yeah.

Krista (01:06:23):

I hear that. I hope that was profound.

Fahd (01:06:24):

No, no, I think it, it was, it is good, right? I think intentionality. And I think that that is the piece around, you know, when we talk about talent strategy design and the conversation of hybrid versus, you know, do we get people to come back in the office? And often my number one, you know, uh, suggestion to a lot of our founders is well intentionality. If they're just coming back in the office just to sit in a room to be on Zoom again, there's no point in that and they're gonna dislike you for that. But if you're saying, you know, you don't have to come here. Yeah, you don't have to come here once or twice a week, but you know what, at, uh, last week of every month, we're all gonna do a, a week from the office because we're gonna, it's collaboration week and during collaboration week, we do this and we do that.


Then you've designed something and there's intention and people are coming for collaboration week. They're not coming to sit on their office desk. The same thing at home, where at home I can be a little more comfortable, right? Yeah. So I think that that piece that you said that, uh, is so key. I think when we're looking at talent strategy, you've, you've done a great job here, Krista, for, for shedding some light on some of the things to, to, for us to look at some of the things for our founders to really think about and for our talent professionals, uh, as a whole, thank you so much for being with us here today. Thank you for sharing about your personal life story and, and the journeys you've been on, the travels and, um, everything, all the work that you've done, uh, from, uh, uh, from being a student ambassador to being a consultant with Microsoft and to being an Innova, uh, uh, today and, and all the, all the work that's, uh, you're

Krista (01:08:00):

Doing. That's awesome. Fa thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

Fahd (01:08:04):

Thank you.

Krista (01:08:05):

Thank you. Take care.

Fahd (01:08:06):

Take care. Thank you Krista for the wonderful episode. Uh, as you join us here on our Unicorn Leaders podcast, thank you to all the listeners who've gone all the way through. I hope you were able to take just as much away as I did through that episode. Whether it's about when the right time is to hire your VP of talent, or when is the right time to start engaging in a reorg and looking at team structures, or how do we build teams of teams and what do some of those processes look like? Or if honestly, you just were able to listen to someone who works at a venture capital firm and how they work with the other portfolio companies on designing talent and the way they think about talent. Chris's episode give us a lot from our own personal experiences, um, dealing with, with, uh, as a consultant, dealing with Microsoft all the way to her leading her own teams, um, and to where she is today.


And so I'm excited to have been able to put this together, but that's it for you. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Unicorn Leadership Podcast. You can find our show notes and transcript@unicornlabs.ca slash podcast. And if you like the content, please be sure to rate it, to review it, to subscribe, hit the little notification button so that you get the next episode, and share it with a friend. Share it with a colleague, put it in your work Slack communities and get the word out there. Um, the more that we can help, the more managers, the more leaders that we can help in our tech communities, here's some of these lessons by our leaders, the better it is for all of us. And that's it for now.

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