Episode 150: Andrew Bartlow – Clear Vision, Clear Priorities: Expert Strategies for Performance Management

Joining us is Andrew Bartlow, a seasoned expert with over 25 years of experience in Human Resources and Talent Management across a spectrum of industries and company sizes. Andrew isn't just your average HR titan; he's the co-author of “Scaling for Success and the brains behind Series B Consulting. 

Andrew shares his insights with us, diving into the nitty-gritty of performance management, employee surveys, and the strategic role of HR leaders in tech companies backed by investors. From simplifying processes to avoiding the pitfalls of over-collaboration, Andrew brings a wealth of practical wisdom to the table. We'll explore the power of clear communication, setting thematic goals, and the magic of focus in driving organizational success.

Whether you're a seasoned business leader or an HR professional navigating the complexities of today's tech landscape, this episode is packed with actionable advice and real-world strategies you won't want to miss. Let’s dive in 🔥

Key Takeaways

00:00 Managing a distributed workforce is challenging due to communication.

04:33 Create practical tool, bootstrap, leverage Y Combinator.

07:12 Effective communication and clear company goals are essential.

10:41 Good intentions, bad application, keep it simple.

16:53 Various methods for strategic analysis and decision-making.

17:48 Too much collaboration can hinder business progress.

23:17 Overcame cash issue, positioned for growth. Slimming priorities.

27:45 “Key questions for predicting worker performance, productivity.”

30:46 Simplify employee check-ins with straightforward questions.

32:16 Psychological safety vs. protecting people in the workplace.

38:23 HR professionals provide valuable organizational management support.

39:45 Helping HR leaders understand and apply strategy.

42:57 Consult HR for embedding ideas and support.

Tweetable Quotes

“Be really clear, especially if you're in a small organization. Be really clear about your organization's goals and priorities at the top of the house.” — Andrew Bartlow 00:12:00 

 “Too much collaboration can lead to consensus building, which ultimately just gums up the machinery of a business.” — Andrew Bartlow 00:18:08

“What's more useful is having a KPI at the organizational level and measuring that and ensure that people know what the big goals are that you're driving towards.” — Andrew Bartlow 00:36:19

“Performance management is something I think a lot of companies don't do well. Sometimes it's sometimes they try, sometimes it's just a checkbox. But it just seems like it's not done really well in aligning goals and compensation and recognition along with those goals. How do you fix that and how do I love the idea of simplification? This is something we complicate a lot as well.” — Jeff Mains 00:06:05 

“Our job is to lead and it's to have that vision and to share that vision and say, Here it is. This is core, and then, you know, take that, maybe the input I like that around the outside.” — Jeff Mains 00:19:28

“When things are starting to go sideways, they were raising their hand going, Hey, I need some help over here. And, you know, the cavalry comes to help. Yep. And I think that's a really good place to be.” — Jeff Mains 00:34:05 

SaaS Leadership Lessons

1. Prioritize Clear Company-wide Goals: Prioritizing clear, company-wide goals and aligning them with individual and team objectives is key to organizational success.

2. Simplify Performance Management: Keep performance management simple, with clear objectives and effective 1-on-1 meetings led by managers.

3. Utilize Technology for Process Simplification: Leverage technology tools to facilitate effective 1-on-1 meetings and simplify performance management processes.

4. Avoid Over-collaboration: Beware of the trap of being too collaborative, as listening to too many voices in decision-making can be counterproductive.

5. Focus on Major Goals: Focus on one major goal or issue at a time, getting clear on priorities before moving to the next, driving progress, and avoiding wasted effort.

6. Emphasize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Establish KPIs at the organizational level to ensure everyone is aware of the big goals and priorities.

7. Communicate Clearly: Cultivate a psychologically safe environment for clear communication, feedback, and expression of employee needs.

8. Embrace Strategic HR Management: Recognize the evolving and strategic role of HR in organizations and the value of HR leaders as internal management consultants.

9. Set a Clear Vision Early: Set a clear vision early on to ensure team buy-in and align efforts toward achieving strategic goals.

10. Focus on Thematic Goals: Identify and pursue thematic or wildly important goals that serve as crucial focal points for driving business success.

Guest Resources




Resources Mentioned


Episode Sponsor

There is so much value in collaboration. That’s why we do this in a focused way at Champion Leadership. For a broader perspective, you should come to hang out with a thousand SaaS leaders in Austin at SaaSOpen March 28 – 29, Get an Inside Look at the Future of Software, and spend time with the people making it happen. There will be 5 stages with valuable content delivered in short 20-minute segments. Each one is focused on a different role – SaaS founders, CMOs, heads of product, sales, and engineering. The best way to predict the future is to create it so come do that with us March 28 -29. I’ll be speaking at a couple of sessions there and I’d love to meet you. I’m hosting a dinner get-together called We Love Bootstrappers while we’re there too. Learn more at SaaSOpen.com and use code CHAMPION2024 when you register to save a couple hundred bucks on your ticket. 

Small Fish, Big Pond – https://smallfishbigpond.com/ Use the promo code ‘SaaSFuel’

Champion Leadership Group – https://championleadership.com/

Scale Your SaaS
Quickly & Profitably

Connect with us for weekly tips, “what’s working now”, ways to get unstuck, and free growth tools …

Join for FREE Today!



Looking for a topic?