69 episodes

This is the podcast where we talk about 3 things: Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management.

The Leadership Stack Podcast Sean Si

    • Management
    • 4.2, 5 Ratings

This is the podcast where we talk about 3 things: Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management.

    How To Promote People Without Going Through Annual Evaluation

    How To Promote People Without Going Through Annual Evaluation

    How Do You Conduct Appraisals like Evaluations?


    We have what we would call the reverse annual evaluation. We don’t have an annual evaluation here. That’s not how we do it.


    In the RAE or reverse annual evaluation, we ask our people to send us an email about everything they have outside of their job description. Everything that you did outside of your job description for the benefit of the company is valuable information to us.


    Aside from that, we ask that they send us their growth plan, what you want to do, who you want to mentor and who you want your mentor to be, and your projected salary two years from now.


    If it’s approved, we set a meeting with the person and we negotiate what the salary that they want.


    We no longer ask how they’re doing because we do so bi-monthly with our fast feedback loop.


    The fast feedback loop or FFL is part of Teamstrr, the software that we use to make sure we uphold unity in the team.


    Two other notable questions we have there are the white ball and the black ball. The white ball is for someone that that person wants to commend, and the black ball is for someone that they think do not uphold the core values of the company.


    If I do nothing about the feedback that we receive through the fast feedback loop, then people will think that it’s useless. That there’s nothing happening. But if they see that the management is trying to solve these problems and providing what they need, they will feel like the management really cares for them.


    This will foster loyalty that will then create unity.


    If we deny the RAE, then they can only apply for one in the following year.


    We have it this way because I am sick with the annual evaluation. It’s a waste of time.


    The feedback loop is automated, and the reverse annual evaluation is crystal clear.


    Teamstrr is instrumental in fostering Unity. Do you have any other apps or programs that are instrumental in fostering unity?


    Hallway management. I go around the office and talk with people randomly.


    Another thing with Teamstrr is the Weekly Mirror Report. Here, we ask why I should be happy with what they’ve done during the week. This is work-related.


    We also ask for their Highest and Lowest points of the week. The highest point is anything that got them elated, while the lowest point is the ones that really put them down.


    This report allows me to feel the heartbeat of my people. It’s not all about work.


    Aside from that, Teamstrr also calculates the sentiments of each team member. We will know if one of them feels happy, sad, or agnostic.


    Because of this, I get a big picture idea of the sentiments of each team.


    It’s more important for you to build good relationships with your team members.


    At What Points Would You Realize that You’ve Made It?


    I’m the kind of guy who, when asked how long you would want to live, would say as long as I can because I want to be doing what God wants me to be doing.


    I believe God wants me to keep writing. I started with the God in You Blog. I realized early on that writing is my passion. I could do it for hours on end.


    It’s just that right now, I’m an entrepreneur, I serve the people in my team, I’m speaking about faith, I serve others through this podcast, and so on.


    To answer the question, I believe that I’ll make it when I’m probably going to meet my maker.


    In terms of contentment, there are people that want more and more. For me, I’m happy with where I am. I don’t want more things. All of it is temporary.


    The people who you helped, those that you made their lives more meaningful, those who I gave livelihood to.


    This year, we are making plans to implement profit sharing. We’re close to making it a reality, where everyone gets a share of the profits, especially the leadership team.


    If your question about “making it” is about being content with w

    • 14 min
    2 Critical Traits you Need to Get Up and Succeed from Failure and Mistakes

    2 Critical Traits you Need to Get Up and Succeed from Failure and Mistakes

    How do you usually recover from setbacks?


    First, I remove myself from failure.


    Don’t say that “I failed”. Rather, say that it was a mistake and move forwards.


    A lot of entrepreneurs personalize failure. That is the mindset of a loser. You will be buried under a mountain of failure rather than standing on top of it.


    If you separate yourself from the failure and see them as lessons, then it’s inevitable for you to get better.


    One of our core values is experimentation. We have a short excerpt there that I wrote: “We try new things in the spirit of having a positive outcome”.


    There’s an implicit mindset behind it. That is to be courageous. Have the courage to try new things.


    You also have to have the tenacity, the grit, the resilience in the face of rebellion, betrayal, and failures.


    They’re heavy words because they happened to me, but I have changed because of them.


    People who give up in the face of adversity will not succeed. You have to have the strength and will to win and keep moving forward.


    That is what we see in most successful people nowadays. They all failed. Most of them failed in a big way, but they still got up.


    Know that you’re going to fail. But you don’t have the strength and resilience to get back up especially in the face of adversity, then you’re just going to stay in the mud.


    You said that you’re ruthless in your decision-making process and speech. Are you still struggling with these?


    Yes. There is a part of me that it became instinctive. I don’t like being ruthless, but it’s now my natural tendency for me to say things that way.


    There are times when I hurt people’s feelings. Sometimes people argue that it’s because of my Dominant personality. I don’t use that as an excuse. I know I have to improve on that and so I try to first delay my first reaction to every opinion that I hear.


    I also tell the truth. Trying to be less ruthless doesn’t mean you should sugar coat your opinions. You have to be clear. You have to make sure that your message gets across.


    That being said, there’s a difference between being ruthless because of your clear and being mean.


    Being mean is personalizing the fault and blame. That’s wrong.


    If you’re being ruthlessly clear, you might shut down some opinions, but that’s because you’re trying to prevent them from making mistakes and protect the company. All because I have been in their place.


    There are ways to say things better. I know that I don’t lie and I’m not mean but people say that I’m ruthlessly clear depending on the people I talk with.


    The people who get hurt by it will not tell me that they’re hurt, then probably spread gossip.


    What else do you struggle with?


    I think one of the ways we can improve as an organization is the reporting system.


    Everyone is accountable but it’s not clear what’s really happening on a big picture perspective.


    It could be avoided if we had a big picture reporting system.


    Personally, I want to improve my sleeping habits. I want to wake up early around 6 or 6:30 in the morning.  A lot of people are saying that it’s difficult, but it’s something that I want.


    Again, for me to be able to rise to that goal, I need to fall back to my systems.


    This is something that I hope I’m able to achieve by June this year.


    Adjusting my entire lifestyle is difficult. I won’t be able to work on creative things at night, instead, I need to do them early in the morning. It’s better but I’m not there yet.


    For now, there are two ways to go about it.


    First, I will lack sleep every day until I am able to wake up early in the morning.


    Second, I should force myself to cool down and sleep at a certain time. It’s healthier, better for my decision-making abilities, but is harder to do.

    • 12 min
    How do you Manage your Time Better? The Magic of Delegation.

    How do you Manage your Time Better? The Magic of Delegation.

    What were some things that you had to let go of?


    One of the things that I had to let go of was playing computer games. Back then it was a borderline addiction and it took a real effort to stop.


    James Clear who wrote the book Atomic Habits says “We don’t rise to the level of our goals; we fall to the level of our systems.


    I had to make a system that had to create a system that would enable me to keep that addiction at bay. For me, that was uninstalling the software.


    Time management has four quadrants. These computer games fall under not urgent and not important. Some of the things that are urgent and not important I delegate.


    If we have more people making bigger decisions that are closer to the commas, that will make for a bigger and better company with bigger and better growth.


    I delegate a lot of my old tasks. I used to do Legal, HR, SERP watching, project management, accounts, and sales.


    Since I’ve delegated them all now, I can focus on other things. This year, my thematic goal is to raise up more leaders. Last year, I focused on making sure that the sales team is intact.


     I just choose the things that I need to do and the things that can only be done by me.


    To do that, you should discern and ask other people, mostly your mentors, what they delegate to other people. You realize things along the way so you experiment and delegate to other people.


    For me, delegating is like going with them.


    It’s like driving a car and giving the keys to someone. You’re not going to give them the keys without checking first if they can get to point A to point B and back without a dent or scratch.


    You’re going to be riding with them for months to see if they can drive well. Finally, when the time comes when you will give the keys to them, you won’t be nervous. Instead, you’ll be happy that you don’t need to stay with him along the ride anymore.


    The opposite is the two extremes, the micromanager, and just giving them the keys and leaving them with it.


    You have to balance things out. Ride with your people. And when the time comes, award the keys to them.


    It’s part of leadership to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Was this something that you learned along the way or something that you knew earlier?


    This is why the hiring process is very important, along with the tests and exams that come with applying and becoming a regular team member.


    They’re important because you’ll be able to see their personality, their competence, their temperament, and their strengths and weaknesses.


    You can delegate better if you know all of these things about the person.


    Influential people who are fun and talkative are good for sales.


    Corrective or Compliant people who are into details and asking questions are good for programming.


    You can also check it out via Strengths finder.


    My main strength is Self-Assurance, those with this strength have an inner compass. They know what to do and what to say at any given time. They know what the vision should be.


    Those with the Command Strength are great for managerial positions. They can take command of a room. They can lead a group of people.


    My brother and I have a theory that the strengths that you have will be different at x stage and y stage of your life.


    Was delegating something that you wish that you knew back then?


    I’d rather want to know how to hire better because if you don’t know how to hire correctly, then you can’t delegate well—because you don’t have anyone to delegate things to.


    Once someone that is stealing nuts and bolts from a train track goes to university and graduates, they’re not going to steal nuts and bolts, they’ll steal the entire train track.


    You can’t change their character. You can just help them in what they’re doing. Improve their skills and knowledge, but you can’t change their fundamen

    • 14 min
    How do you Prevent Employees going AWOL?

    How do you Prevent Employees going AWOL?

    What do you think is the cause of people going AWOL? Was this a problem when you were still starting out?


    AWOL was a problem. We even had a recent experience with people going AWOL just around a year ago. That was when we already improved our hiring process.


    It was more common before because they got in too easily. I hired the wrong people.


    My whole hiring process sucked. It was just one seating where I asked a few questions. They’ll get in immediately just because we needed help.


    I should have worked harder to fulfill my need in hiring that spot instead of hiring someone that will just leave more problem with us.


    If I just took time in the hiring process, they would have AWOL’d within the hiring process.


    Contracts are another thing. We make our people sign and they’re bonded with us for an x number of months or years.


    For me, contracts are the lowest form of trust and agreement. The highest form is verbal.


    Needing a contract is the lowest form because it basically says that you don’t trust one another and that you need a piece of paper as proof of your agreement.


    That being said, it would be stupid of me not to have employment contracts. These are to protect the employees and us, the owners, as well.


    I can argue that even with the contracts, people still go AWOL. It will not solve AWOL problems.


    You still need contracts, but what will really prevent that from happening is to prolong the hiring process. Weed out the people who would have gone AWOL anyway.


    The reason why people go AWOL is several. Most of them get bigger job offers, some say they have family problems.


    What we do to them, is we put them in a blacklist.


    I don’t think a person went AWOL because they didn’t like how things were done here. Instead, most of them do so because they found something else, or they were not mature individuals.


    You can’t really say why they’re going AWOL. What you can only do is to prevent it by prolonging the hiring process. Optimize it so that you can really check on your applicants.


    Do you think there are still many holes in your hiring process?


    When we started our current hiring process, we’ve only hired two, maybe three people that were wrong hires compared to 80% of the past hires being bad ones.


    We’ve already hired 50 people over the course of one year. Some of them didn’t become regulars and that’s fine. At least we part ways well.


    Those who did choose to be regularized will be staying with us for two more years and then they’re going to graduate. It’s up to them whether they want to stay or go.


    One thing that we can improve is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. That would be to have the strengths finder exam for the probationary hires just to know them better.


    We pay for that exam, but it wouldn’t be that much help to someone if they didn’t enter the workshop.


    It’s difficult to learn how to internalize it if they don’t see how it’s supposed to work.


    My wife has suggested doing that in the hiring process, which can be too risky and costly.


    We’re still trying to improve our hiring process, but right now it’s working fantastically.

    • 10 min
    The 5 Enemies of Unity in your Team and How to Defeat Them

    The 5 Enemies of Unity in your Team and How to Defeat Them

    Gossip is the antithesis of unity… I can’t tell you that I know each and everything that’s happening in the office. But my team knows my stand on gossip.


    What is your Why and how did you find it?


    Our purpose statement is different from our mission and vision.


    Our Why statement is we exist because the world is underserved by digital marketing companies. There are some out there that are not good, not outright, and even go as far as scamming companies.


    There is a huge gap that is yet to be filled by digital marketing companies.


    We exist because of that gap.


    We want to serve the world, in the best way we can, through digital marketing.


    My Why is directly related to my identity. I am a child of God and we have a mission. That is to go out and make disciples of all nations.


    It’s not easy to influence millennials. We’re not all Christians in SEO Hacker. We hire any and all kinds of people with different beliefs. It’s just that one of the things that I want very much to happen is for them to get to know the Lord. That will always be my Why.


    How I will be able to do that is dependent on where God has called me. Right now, God has called me to be a businessman, an entrepreneur, and a voice in the Philippine startup market.


    People will not listen to you if you’re not good at what you’re called to be doing.  You’ll just be another person with an opinion.


    People will criticize you. Society will tell you to become successful. But when you are successful in a way, people are going to criticize you.


    What I realized is that you should just go the path that you’re called to and don’t pay any mind to the critics.


    There have been so many times when I heard voices from critics all around. If I let it get to me, then I wouldn’t be here today.


    You have to realize that you’ve been fighting a worthy fight. There is a reason why you exist.


    It’s your choice to allow what they say to get into your heart or not.


    Unity is an important thing. How do you plan to keep everyone unified while still maintaining professionalism in the workplace?


    First, we have to educate them on the five enemies of unity.


    The first enemy is gossip. It is the antithesis of unity. With it, you can never have unity in your team. It breaks down trust.


    Without trust, you cannot have unity.


    I can’t tell you that I know each and everything that’s happening in the office. But my team knows my stand on gossip.


    It’s an everyday fight. You have to make an effort to keep these things at bay because if you let your guard down, these things will really wreak havoc within your team.


    The second thing I really don’t like is unresolved conflict.


    If there are people between teams that don’t see eye-to-eye, have bitterness in their hearts. They might even go as far as to sabotage each other’s output.


    When that happens, both you, your clients, and your shareholders will suffer. This can lead to letting go of people just because you’re not making enough revenue.


    When you know something is happening between two members of your team, get them in a room and act as a mediator in their alignment.


    I don’t require my people to become friends, even outside of work. What I require is that they respect one another.


    The third enemy of gossip is sanctioned incompetence.


    If you tolerate incompetence in your team, they will follow suit with it—creating more mediocre output.


    They will hate you for it because you’re protecting a donkey, while you let your stallions suffer, or worse, leave.


    You’ll lose loyalty and your unity will breakdown.

    • 18 min
    The 6-Step Hiring Process that Allows us to Hire Great Team Players 99% of the Time

    The 6-Step Hiring Process that Allows us to Hire Great Team Players 99% of the Time

    What kind of traits do these people have to have for you to entrust the gatekeeper position to them?


    We have two Human Resource personnel. They do all of the hiring and legal work in terms of application. They do a thirty-minute drive-by interview just to get to know the applicant. After which they’re sent home. If we need to talk to them again for a second reason, then we’ll call them.


    The second interview is all about the DISC and culture tests. Everyone in the next steps will look at these exams.


    The third step is the exam for the position that they’re applying for. The team leader is the one who will interview them.


    The next step is the interview with my wife. She has this amazing gut feel that I listen to. If the applicant is not good with her, then she doesn’t need to bring the applicant up to me. I trust her 100%.


    What is the culture like in SEO Hacker?


    Culture is the product of the DNA of the founder.


    When I was starting out SEO Hacker, I was still a freelancer.


    I had to respect what I was doing by respecting my time and efforts. When I did that, I finished everything ahead of time and I was able to experiment after finishing meetings and my legwork.


    I would always push myself to learn something new.


    I wanted to have a dream team. I wanted us to be united, have one vision, and one direction.


    All of these culminated in our core values. That is the direction of our team.


    Our core values are Grit, Respect for Work, Challenger, Clarity, Unity, Experimentation.


    We depreciated some because we realized that they’re not core values. Integrity is a necessity. Beyond Technology is all about hard work. Empathy was not used correctly.


    To live out the core values, it should first be set in your mind so that it will settle in your heart.


    Culture is something that you just realize once you step into the room. I think it’s best described in a YouTube video called the Smell of the Place.


    I can’t tell exactly describe what our culture is. What I can tell you is that It’s young, dynamic and unified.


    How does one cultivate this self-awareness? What are the right questions that you have to ask yourself?


    The first time I was able to draft a set of core values was in 2014. I’ve changed them three times now.


    The first one was a huge failure. It wasn’t working.


    One thing I learned in a podcast I listened to was that it was a gift from the past. It was something that your past self gifts your present self. But it’s your choice whether to accept that gift or not.


    My first core values sounded nice, but it wasn’t working, and it didn’t make sense. It was useless.


    Jim Collins, in his book “Built to Last” says that you can only have six core values. 7 or more will be to remember and practice.


    The first ones that came to mind were integrity beyond technology and empathy. They are so important that if someone doesn’t have them, then they shouldn’t be here.


    These became necessities that we set aside. We chose core values that not everyone would have at the get-go.


    There are three kinds of core values. Aspirational, Accidental, and Permission to Play


    Integrity and Beyond Technology are both Permission to Play. Our core is Grit and Respect for Work. Challenger, Unity, Clarity, and Experimentation are Aspirational values. We want everyone to practice it, but not everyone has it as of now.


    These core values are a culmination of a lot of things including my experience and the books that I’ve read. I didn’t give much attention to accidental values.


    I learned these things from big mentors like Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, John Maxwell, and Dave Ramsey. I read their books, listened to their podcasts, followed their advice, you develop this court sense meaning you’ll know when and who you should pass the ball to in your team.


    It’s that court sense and the ma

    • 16 min

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