Building High Performing Teams with the Fundamentals Featuring Kunal Chopra

Kunal Chopra is an angel investor in early-stage startups and has authored several books on business planning and execution, career planning, and leadership. Kunal is passionate about building and scaling companies. He is currently the CEO of etailz, a software and services platform company that partners with brands to grow their businesses on marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay among others. etailz has done almost $1B in marketplace sales and has served over 4000 brands.

During his 15+ year career in technology, Kunal has held leadership positions as General Manager at Microsoft, General Manager at Amazon, Chief Operating Officer of eSports betting company Unikrn and as Director of Product at the world’s fastest growing startup at the time – Groupon. He has also consulted with the world’s largest hedge fund – Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest fixed-income investment advisors – NISA Investment Advisors, and the world’s top education-focused performance marketing company – All Star. He is also a mentor and an advisor to early-stage technology startups through his association with Techstars – a top startup accelerator.

He also holds an MBA from a global business school – The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and a Masters in Computer Science from Clemson University.

In our conversation today, Kunal and I discuss what it takes to build high-performing teams in order to achieve optimum performance.

Key Leadership Takeaways:

  • The elements of analysis, formulation, and implementation are all necessary and critical conditions for successful strategy execution. They are not necessarily done sequentially but in fact, support one another and are done iteratively and support each other over time.
    • Strategic analysis, one wants to think about analyzing a strategy, doing the work to try to figure out and conceive of a strategy.
    • Formulation refers to the process by which strategy is set in the organization. Maybe it’s a strategic planning process done on an annual or biannual level, but it also refers to the organizational elements that bring together to devise the strategy.
    • Implementation refers to once we have envisioned our strategy, how do we actually bring it to bear.
  • Being an effective leader is about two core tasks: making decisions to address threats and opportunities, and implementing those decisions.
  • It is less about the product and more about the people.

Leader Action Plan:

  • Practice the art of communications. Communicate across the organization by all methods such as in-person, email, text, video, phone.
  • Great leaders are humble. Have you looked in the mirror lately?
  • Perspective matters. Make sure you have a diverse team that challenges groupthink.

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