Leaders Lead. Managers Follow.

People who lead ship while managers administrate. Leadership happens when people on a conference call look at you when tough questions are asked. Management takes place when you’re expected to recap said conference call. Leading means inspiring people to do their best work and getting out of the way. Managing keeps an eye on falling in line and institutes the status quo.

I’ve come close to managing in my career. Each time this has happened, I’ve intentionally made a move in the opposite direction. Maybe this explains why I’ve moved around a bit in my career. It certainly explains my meandered path to GoKart Labs, a place home to many meandered career paths.

Don’t let the comforting jazz hands of management distract you. Sure, you may be proud of how many people you manage. You efficiently navigate the organizational back channels. You’re compensated well. But, are you leading? Shipping? Inspiring people to do their best work? Probably not.

Leading is the path of most resistance, but totally worth it. Follow that path and you’ll manage just fine.

Guardians of The Pareto Principle

The odds of purposefully challenging the status quo are stacked up against us. 80% of the time, the status quo prevails and things continue on as they’ve always been.

Then there’s the 20% of the time. The time unusual overrides usual. The time possibility ignores impossibility. The time you intentionally sidestep the noise in pursuit of clarity to find the signal.

Over the last several months, I’ve let the 80% get the best of me. This is a note-to-self to make the most of The Pareto Principle. By joining the 20%, it will make 80% of us better.

Hello, GoKart Labs

Tomorrow is my first day working in Minneapolis’ warehouse district in nearly two years.

My first day stepping onto the bus instead of dropping off my son at daycare. My first day innovating and experimenting with like-minded thinkers and doers. My first day working for a place that creates and grows businesses from the ground up.

Tomorrow is my first day as Strategy Lead at GoKart Labs.

I believe values are invaluable. GoKart shares this perspective. It’s the shared perspectives, great leadership, people and their approach to innovation that inspires me. And we’re only five years old. Imagine what the next five years has in store for us.

But with a first day there must also be a last day. And two weeks ago that last day came when I left General Mills. The home of Cheerios, Lucky Charms and countless other iconic brands is a special place. A place full of smart people collectively focused on nourishing lives. I experienced this every day I walked into The Mills and felt it at the heart of Big G. The work we produced for Cheerios was the best work I’ve ever been part of. For that, I thank General Mills, Big G and Zeus Jones - especially Elias Martinez.

Joining a five-year old crew that gets to help imagine what the next five years and beyond will look like for GoKart is an honor. An opportunity only 32 people get to be part of. And somewhere in there, I expect I’ll look back at this moment and consider it to be the best move of my career.