Scaling People: A Tactical Guide for Managers of Managers

Expert advice from a master builder of successful companies and a must-read for high-level players in the corporate game

Scaling People is a tactical guide for managers of managers. This book gives advice on how to manage and build a successful company by prioritizing its most important asset: the people.

CHJ, who worked at Google and Stripe, shares practical advice and examples for hiring, managing, and retaining talent. She understands the difficulties that come with fast growth and gives advice on growing a team and keeping a good work environment.

This is by far the most tactical business book that I have read. CHJ provides real-world advice on the most important aspects of running a company. This includes founding principles, operating procedures, hiring, team building, and performance metrics. If you are aiming for a high-level position in corporate America, especially in the tech industry, I suggest including this book in your reading list.

If you are not that person, skip this one. This book is dense. The author could have sold each of the chapters as its own business book. Together, they are a compendium of knowledge needed to start a company. By that, I mean they are long and packed full of a lot of information. For where I am at in my career, this book isn't relevant. The book is best for top management roles in big or fast-growing companies. I would have enjoyed it more if I found it more applicable to myself.

Although I didn't love it, I do think it might be one of the best business books I've read. I am grateful to know this information is sitting in the back of my mind and this book is on my shelf if/when I need to pull it out later. CHJ outlines specific conversations to have down to an often-used "say this" statement.

say, “I’m testing a hypothesis. Let me know whether it feels right to you.”

In every chapter, you will find exercises and worksheets. They will help you define your organization's founding documents and create hiring processes that work well. CHJ goes so much further than theory and anecdotes to truly offering lessons from a master. She often uses sidebars to go deep into topics or show examples from her experience at Stripe.

I agree with her emphasis on process, which I think is why I enjoyed it overall, despite the fact that it isn't very applicable to me right now.

You know why playing a game is fun? Because it has rules, and you have a way to win. Picture a bunch of people showing up at an athletic field with random equipment and no rules. Someone is going to get hurt. You don’t know how to play, you don’t know how to score, and you don’t know how to win.

Her commitment to finding the right solution for both the individual and the organization is inspiring. Plus, I can't help but love a business book that references Ted Lasso.

What resonated most with me was actually her conclusion. There, CHJ focuses on what individuals need to be managing about themselves: time, energy, relationships, and career. This is universally applicable. She reminds the reader that they can always take ownership of their situtation. They can start with themselves.

Ask yourself what the most lightweight change is that you can make, then grow from there...Be clear about what you’re changing, how you’ll assess success, and when you’ll determine whether to make the change permanent

CHJ describes that she wants this book to be a discussion for the people who build companies by a person who spent her career building companies. She succeeds in that endeavor. This book will give you direct instruction and tips from a master, but it's only applicable when you're at that level.

There’s a Pablo Picasso quote we like to repeat at Stripe: “When art critics get together, they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When painters get together, they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.”

If you're a painter, these tips are vital. If you are not a painter, this might put you to sleep.