Jun 27, 20182m read
Monday Morning Meeting: How Leadership Wakes Up
Nadav Shoval can’t stop. It’s 9:00 AM in New York, and the team crowds into the conference room to inaugurate the week with a video call from Tel Aviv. Back from a long-awaited sojourn in Mexico, Shoval appears tanned and eager to share another, newly crystallized vision for Spot.IM. You can tell by his giddiness that he spent most of his vacation working — though for the company’s CEO and the rest of its leadership, for that matter, it’s rarely worth distinguishing between work and leisure. Spend a few days with him in SoHo and you’ll realize that when he’s pacing the office or installing a gaming console, he’s doing more than most would in hours at a desk.
On the other line of the call is the Israeli team. They’re shuffling throughout the room, while Nadav tries to resuscitate a flagging internet connection — one of a few complications that come with relocating to a new office. Everyone is sipping coffee: some to prepare for a day of work, some to finish it.
“Can you hear me?” he repeats about four times, until COO Roee Goldberg, in Tel Aviv, issues an audible reply. This is my first company-wide meeting, so I don’t know what to expect. Still, I get the sense that people in both offices have high expectations for the rendez-vous. They’re waiting to hear what atypical thoughts a week of Mexican beaches and endless cervezas might have occasioned.
The meeting begins — with technical updates from Israel, and the sales team celebrating deals soon-to-be secured. Tel Aviv introduces us to a few new hires, mostly in product. Interested eyes stud the room; ears listen intently. Nadav has prepared a triad of guidelines, designed to shepherd the company into a period of further growth and expansion. “Growing pains,” he assures us, are a part of success. And though he doesn’t posit the guidelines as an antidote to these pains, he does frame them as a pragmatic reminder. A reminder to collaborate, savor each win (no matter how small), take to heart Spot.IM’s mission; he prods us to remember why we’re here, and what we hope to accomplish.
Everyone is sipping coffee: some to prepare for a day of work, some to finish it.
It becomes clear that what Nadav is articulating isn’t so much an esoteric vision as it is a recognition, on the most granular level, of where we already are. “This is Water” was the title of David Foster Wallace’s speech to the 2005 class of Kenyon College; among other things, the speech asked its listeners to acknowledge realities so simple — and seemingly obvious — that they often go overlooked. “[Truth] is about simple awareness –awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: ‘This is water, this is water.'”
On Monday mornings, it can be easy to forget what comes ahead. That with each incremental success, we’re making strides to changing the web. It takes thoughtful leadership to remind us that “this is water,” that every mark of progress is worth honoring. And that every Monday morning true leaders wake us up.