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  • “What My First Secretary Taught Me”

    [caption id="attachment_1296" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Bing Gordon of KPCB"]Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers[/caption]

    Venture capitalist Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers sat down with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, giving us a great insight on how he started out in the business, the struggle and how he has stayed successful through hard times.

    Q.Were you in leadership positions early on?

    A. I ran the high school newspaper and was in student government.  I played sports my whole life but was never picked as captain.  But even as an 18-year-old, I had to grow comfortable with my leadership style, which is that I was really impatient with under-motivated people — extremely impatient, to the point where I was counterproductive as a manager of underproductive people. And that hasn’t really changed.  If people need to be motivated, I’m no good.

    Q. What happens?

    A. I get cranky. I stop being polite and I stop looking for win-win opportunities. It’s just: “What?  You’re doing this thing and you’re not trying to do it really well?  I just don’t understand.”  As you grow up, you become more comfortable with your own peccadilloes, and I’m bad with people who aren’t self-motivated.  And now, when I see them coming, I run the other way.

    Q. Tell me about the first paid management job.

    A. The first time I had a secretary, I was sheepish about being demanding or even asking questions.  A woman was assigned to me named Sandy Fitzgerald, and she said, “You don’t know how to manage an exec assistant, do you?” And I said, “No.”  And she said: “Well, I’m going to teach you. You have to ask for this, you have to do this and you have to do this.”  So it was like Secretary 101.  So it’s actually a lesson for management.  It’s hire people who can teach you how to be their manager and to be real explicit.  I think what a lot of managers know is that you’re owned by the people you’re responsible for.

    Read more at New York Times Business Day

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