Interview and editing by Chiara Cokieng
Thursday, 10 August 2017

This is the first interview in the Good Management series.

Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others’ experience.
— Otto von Bismarck

People say you can’t learn management from reading books. Or, you only learn by doing. That the only way to learn is to be managed by a good manager. I don’t believe it.

So I’m asking people: Have you worked with or for a really good manager? Who? And how do you define really good?

These are my notes on my conversation with my friend, Paulo Ribeiro, Head of Strategy at In Loco. He reports directly to In Loco’s CEO and COO and is based in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

My Notes

How do you define good management?

We have to start with our values.

Our top 5 values:

* Think big
* Collaboration
* Ownership
* Move fast, break things, and learn
* User privacy

We don’t have a document written out. Anyone in the company can tell you those top 5 values.

How do you reinforce the values?

“Culture eats strategy.”

What’s culture? What are our values? Values form the framework that helps us make a decision when we navigate decisions.

We reinforce the values mainly through the feedback we give along those values —

* “That seems to tell me you’re not thinking big enough…”
* “Your collaboration is…”
* “You’re not moving fast enough…”

What is good management?

We hire the best people and give them the problem. We let them define how to solve it.

* Give people enough space and guidance to solve the problem. It’s a balance.
* As the manager, you don’t have to know what to do to solve the problem. You need to understand the process of how people solve them.

What is a good manager?

* They know what they are doing — when to give space, when to direct, when to give feedback
* No bullshit approach to solving problems — If a good manager does not know the next best course of action, she does not bullshit people and come up with random things to say. She’ll say, “Let me think and let me come up with something.” She is transparent in her thought process.

Hiring: Anything unique in your hiring process?

We are in Northeast Brazil, in a corner of the world. We are unique for Brazilian standard of hiring.

* Have a big mission
* Select for people who fit your culture – CEO interviews at last phase, where he gauges culture fit
* We use
* People have to work to apply.

1. Remote test; ex — A data analyst will take a data set, explore it, and make a presention. You see if they know what they are doing. 5-8 people progress to the location test.
2. In location test. 1-4 people progress to the 1:1 interviews
3. 1:1 interviews with members of the team
4. Interview with the CEO for culture fit

How do you interview?

I’m not the best person to talk to about this. I prefer hiring people through recommendations, let my network vouch for the candidate.

When I interview, I try to gauge:

* Does the candidate understand value and wealth creation? Or does he see business as a zero-sum game?
* Fixed or growth mindset?
* Curiosity: Have they done interesting things, even if it’s not related to the job?

Any regular practices? Such as staff meetings, 1 on 1s.

At least monthly 1:1s, format:
* Start doing…
* Stop doing…
* Continue doing…

1 on 1s are never a surprise. We don’t wait until a 1:1 to give feedback on performance.

We give specific feedback. If you’re doing great, it’s not, “Great job on the project.” It’s, “Here’s specifically what you did right. This is the specific value you created. And here’s how that impacts that other team.”

Have you worked with a good manager? Would love to interview and learn from you. Email me at