Episode 14 | Pt. 1: How to Use Discomfort and Stress to Create High Performance with 15five CEO David Hassell

David Hassell interview David Hassell interview


AWE Episode graphic template_edited-5

Believe it or not, employee happiness should never be your goal.

Not according to today’s Awesome Office guest, David Hassell, a serial entrepreneur and “the most connected man you don’t know in Silicon Valley,” according to Forbes magazine.

His current venture is 15five, a technology solution that helps improve transparency and communication between managers and employees, and provide critical insights for your company.

As you’ll hear, 15five was inspired by ESPRIT founder Doug Tompkins, who realized that if he asked all of his employees to spend 15 minutes writing a report that took their manager no more than 5 minutes to read, he’d have a more engaged company.

We talked to David about a wide range of subjects, but what we found most interesting was his belief that the goal of his software is not to make employee’s happy, but to help them be their best selves, and ultimately to create an environment where they can perform at their highest level. Sometimes this means harnessing the power of good discomfort – or eustress. 

Often, this is extremely fulfilling for employees and their managers, but happiness isn’t necessarily the goal – nor should it be.

David joined us via Skype from 15five’s offices in San Francisco. This was a fantastic conversation, and one that we decided to release in two parts.

Key  Takeaways
  • David explains why Forbes described him as “The most connected man in Silicon Valley you’ve never heard of,” and talks about the power of networking.
  • David tells us how he discovered the concept of 15five, and why he decided to create a company around the practice.
  • David stresses the importance of having a purpose in one’s work, and tells us why he struggled with starting the right company before landing on the idea for 15five.
  • David explains why CEOs shouldn’t be firefighters, and why you’ll never innovate if you’re always reacting to emergencies.
  • David explains why he thinks the term “Human Resources” should be phased out immediately.
  • David breaks down the difference between eustress and distress, and explains why discomfort actually breeds innovation.
  • David clarifies that the goal of your organization shouldn’t be happiness, but high performance, and explains why.


Recommended Reading

Like this episode? Then let us know! Subscribe, rate, and review the show in iTunes, it really helps the show – and we’ll love you forever for it.