Not wanting to be another failed partnership, the founders of eyewear company Warby Parker, who were former classmates at Wharton, decided early on that they would be able to criticise each other openly, honestly, and harshly, if needed.
How would they do this without building resentment between one another?
In an interview with Adam Bryant at The New York Times, co-founder Neil Blumenthal says that every month the four founders return to the bar where they originally came up with the idea, and one of them is placed in the
hot seat. According to Blumenthal, during these “360 reviews,” a partner might say, “When you shoot me a 10-page email at 2 in the morning, I want to punch you in the face.”
“That set the tone for the culture at Warby Parker, which would really be rooted in open and honest feedback,” says Blumenthal.
This culture of communication isn’t reserved only for the founders. The entire Warby Parker staff is given a 360 review every quarter. Although this takes up a lot of time, Blumenthal says “as a manager, it’s your highest priority to be developing your people.” And employees should never be surprised by how they’re doing work-wise, he says.
Employees are also asked to share their happiness rating on a scale of zero to 10 with their managers every week. This helps managers know what’s going on with their direct reports and identify trends that appear.
The founders also have interesting methods for getting to know who’s working for them. In an interview with Quartz, co-founder David Gilboa says that they ask unexpected interview questions in order to reveal a candidate’s personality. For example, asking someone “what was the last costume you wore,” gives a glimpse into a candidate’s thought process on a day when they can be whoever they want.
“We find that people who are able to make the job environment fun build followership more easily,” says Gilboa.”If we hire the most technically skilled person in the world whose work style doesn’t fit here, they won’t be successful.”
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