Ep. 164 – Greetly COO, Chris Morin



Our guest today is Chris Morin, the COO of Greetly.

Chris is accountable for achieving Greetly’s business objectives and serves as a thought partner to the CEO. A major element of his role is anticipating the needs of the team. This includes defining the rights and positions before they exist and recognizing which structures of the business must change for them to grow. Additionally, Chris serves as CFO and owns the brand and product of an emerging DoD-focused product.

Prior to Greetly, Chris was the 1st hire and ran operations for Veho, going through the Techstars Boulder accelerator program. The company scaled rapidly, going from 0 to 1 MM ARR in about a year. They were a logistics heavy technology startup and had to anticipate the needs of the business. It required a very special kind of mindset from anyone who wanted to work with them, since they often defaulted to action, were extremely results-oriented, yet had to work within tight resource constraints.

Before both of those roles, Chris was a Special Tactics Officer in the Air Force for 8 years. He was blessed to serve in leadership positions, and one of his favorite assignments was a deployment where he led around 50 soldiers spread across Iraq and Syria. Chris utilized a core team, and together they directed 6 distinct types of missions that performed everything from field surgical care on the front lines of Syria, engineering surveys of dry lake beds in the middle of the desert, and more.

Outside of work, Chris lives in Denver and enjoys traveling, and also snow and water sports.  Some examples are snowboarding in Colorado or kitesurfing in Hawaii. He recently got to help teach his 6-year-old son to snowboard, and now he’s hooked. Chris hopes he’ll be ready to come on some more adventures soon!


In This Conversation, We Discuss:

What it was like working with Brad Feld from Techstars

How Chris and his CEO, Dave, balance each other in order to obtain their unified vision

What leadership skills that Chris pulled from his time at the Air Force that he is using as COO of Greetly today

The experience of selling to the government/military

What it is like going through the funding rounds with Greetly

What are the day-to-day operations like with Greetly

How to synthesize all the ideas that are coming in from multiple sources



Connect with Chris Morin: LinkedIn

Greetly – https://www.greetly.com

Connect with Cameron: Website | LinkedIn

Get Cameron’s latest book: The Second in Command – Unleash the Power of Your COO

Subscribe to our YouTube channel – Second in Command Podcast on YouTube

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The post Ep. 164 – Greetly COO, Chris Morin appeared first on COO Alliance.

Our guest is Chris Morin, the COO of Greetly. Chris is accountable for achieving Greetly’s business objectives and serves as a thought partner to the CEO. A major element of his role is anticipating the needs of the team. This includes defining the rights and positions before they exist and recognizing which structures of the business might change for them to grow.

Chris serves as the CFO and owns the brand and product of an emerging DOD-focused product. Prior to Greetly, Chris was the first hire and ran operations at Veho, going through the Techstars Boulder Acceleration program. The company scaled rapidly, growing from 0 to 1 million ARR in about a year.

They were logistics and heavy technology startups and had to anticipate the needs of the business. It required a special mindset from anyone who wanted to work with them. Since they often defaulted to action and were extremely results-oriented, yet had to work within tight restraint resource constraints.

Before both of those roles, Chris was a Special Tactics Officer in the Air Force for eight years. He was blessed to serve in leadership positions, and one of his favorite assignments was a deployment where he led around 50 soldiers spread across Iraq and Syria. Chris utilized a core team, and together, they directed six distinct types of emissions and performed everything from field surgical care on the front lines of Syria to engineering surveys of dry lake beds in the middle of the desert and more.

Outside of work, Chris lives in Denver and enjoys traveling. He also enjoys snow and water sports. Some examples of snowboarding in Colorado or kite surfing in Hawaii. He recently got help to teach his six-year-old son to snowboard, and he’s now hooked. He hopes he will be ready to come on more adventures with him soon. Chris, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me, Cameron.

I wanted to ask about what it was like working around Brad Feld from Techstars.

One, the Techstars program was a blessing to go through. Brad came in, and we got to hear him speak. He manages a lot of the different programs but right there in Boulder, we had the opportunity to have extra access to him. When he came in, immediately, the founders are hitting him with challenges and thinking their problems were unique.

He had a special way of dissolving that and making everybody realize the challenges that all these ten companies in the cohort were going through were the same thing. You can apply the same principles and practices to help get your company off the ground and to help to solve the problems that you are doing. He delivered that message really great.

He does understand the founder’s and the innovator’s dilemma that Carl Christensen came out with. He understands the bipolar nature of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations as well. I’ve had a lot of back-channel discussions with Brad over Twitter about the highs and lows of CEOs. It’s interesting. You are right that being in Boulder, you had more access. How is your CEO? Is he the typical entrepreneurial bipolar ADD CEO or are you blessed to have one of the rare ones who’s not?

I have that. One of the toughest parts of dealing with a CEO is that they’ve got a lot of great ideas. As a COO, it’s our job to measure those ideas. Sometimes to, outright say, “No, it’s not within budget.” If there is that vision there, that’s the important thing. How do you cage that? Does it require a whole shift in our business to achieve this vision and communicating those trade-offs? I would say my current CEO is a bit of a good idea ferry in that element. That’s a good thing. We want that. At the end of the day, it’s his job to be creative and come up with the next novel thing that might change or morph our business in the best way.

It’s also understandable. I don’t think bipolar is a disorder. It makes entrepreneurs what makes as us and the ADD the attention deficit is the reality that we get to see everything, and we don’t get so myopically focused on one thing that we miss all the other stuff. There’s a pretty well-known entrepreneur based in Boulder that I hired. He worked for me back in 1993. He’s classically bipolar. Kimbal Musk. I hired Kimbal out of university and trained him to be an entrepreneur for me at College Pro Painters.

I watched him one day being the manic, crazy, fun, energetic boss of his twelve employees, and then the next day freaking out because a customer was going to fire him, and I had to go over and save the day. The reality, there was no paint spilled anywhere. It was bird shit on the sidewalk. It was funny watching somebody go through the stress of the entrepreneur zone. What’s your CEO’s name?

Dave Milliken.

How do you and Dave work where you can provide more of the stability, the questions and the processes to that idea fairly and vision? How do you coordinate that?

There’s another part of this too, and that’s the lows. A customer comes in, and they are mad. Is this just a mad customer or is this a symptom of the business culture that we need to address? Acknowledging that everything that he’s experiencing and feeling, whether it’s the highs or the lows, is all valid. Diving in and asking, “Is this in line with our objectives here?” You have to make hard trade-offs as a business.

Sometimes you are not going to put the energy into perfecting your customer service if you are focused on a different area, say launching a new product. Trying to center those different ideas, working with Dave and all my previous CEOs and trying to figure out, “Is this what we want to do?” sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes no. You have to close the door and figuratively throw chairs at each other, talk about it, and argue. Once you pop out on the other side, 9 times out of 10, you feel great and move forward.

SIC 164 | Greetly COO

Greetly COO: You have to make hard tradeoffs as a business. Sometimes you’re not going to put the energy into perfecting your customer service if you’re focused on a different area.


You said, you figuratively closed doors. Do you get away from the rest of the team to have those good debates and arguments, or do you ever do it in front of the team as well?

I believe in building transparent organizations. We subscribe to a form of open-book management. There’s nothing that’s a secret. We hold open strategy calls so anybody can come in and ask anything, and we are not afraid to answer those questions. Sometimes there are personnel decisions. There are structure decisions. Maybe the company’s grown, and the role that somebody’s filling has nothing to do with it.

That role isn’t a part of the company or you upgraded the skillset. Those ones aren’t appropriate to have in front of the rest of the team. Everything else, “Let’s argue. Let’s talk about, what’s the best way for us to hit our growth target for us to validate a new product. Let’s argue in front of the rest of the team because they are going to have great points too. I want them to be thinking about all the same problems that we are discussing.” When you do it in an open forum, you do it respectfully. You make sure that your team knows that, at the end of the day, arguments don’t mean that you are going in different directions. It means we are making the sausage.

We are passionately engaged in the debate audit. Tell us about Greetly. What’s Greetly do? What’s your core focus and core purpose? Walk us through that briefly.

Greetly.com, our core product is visitor management software. You walk into an office, and instead of a receptionist, you meet with an iPad, and we run the software behind that iPad. It does things like notify your host or maybe you sign an NDA and stuff like that. Where we are excited about is that we are moving into a different space and changing our value.

We were blessed to have won an SBIR contract for Small Business Innovation Research with the Air Force, and they asked us to modernize their base entry system. We are going from a warm, friendly orange banner that Greetly, “Welcome to my office.” We manage 100% of the visitor workflow and volume that protects our nation’s greatest assets like $100 million aircraft and top-secret security vaults.

With that, there’s a change in our product. You pick an industry or a customer. Maybe you are in manufacturing or in R&D. You are a clean plant. You care about who comes onto your facility, not the same level that an Air Force base would but you care who they are. Do they have the right licenses? Where are they on-site?

Making sure that they are not going onto the bottling line. They are only staying in the area they are authorized, and only giving them access during their visit. Afterward, having a complete overall picture of everything that they touched while also delivering a fantastic visitor experience. That’s the carrot here. How do you make it better for the visitor and also increase the security, transparency, and trust of anybody that comes under your facility?

That’s not even the same business. Your core customer before was probably small to medium enterprises or medium enterprises to now going to a past enterprise. You jumped that. I hate the term, jump the shark but you’ve jumped that, and you are now over to the government and military. That’s not even the same category. How are you learning to work in that space? What have the challenges been with that?

We are launching a new product, a new company. All the same problems that early-stage founders hit off is finding product market fit. What’s the pricing look like? How do we not overbuild this? We’ve got developers. We are a software company, and where do we point them? Is it going to take us 6 or 8 months to get there? We’ve got all those same challenges but we also have a robust existing customer base that loves our service. That’s the most challenging one because there’s a bit of a split focus. How can I serve everybody that is using our product while also knowing that the strategic long-term direction isn’t in that space?

Are you going to stay with that first product? Are you going to sell that off and then move into this more enterprise government kind of space? Do you know what you’re doing there?

There are a lot of options there. We could sell. We could transform the backend. At the end of the day, we could make it robust enough to support both, and there are two brands. All of that is there. To create clarity as a company, we are trying to pivot everybody in our company to start thinking rather than visitor workflows and finding NDAs to, “How do I reinforce the trust and security of an organization?” It’s a big shift.

SIC 164 | Greetly COO

Greetly COO: To create clarity as a company, try to pivot everybody in your company to start thinking about how to reinforce the trust and security of an organization rather than visitor workflows and finding NDAs.


How many employees do you have now?

We have thirteen employees.

You are small enough that you can make that pivot again, another term that we both hate. It’s reasonably easy to move those people over. You are not going to lose 30% of your workforce because they can’t work in this sector.

We are lucky enough that we’ve got talented people working for us. If they hear the arguments and the conversations about how to make a pivot, I want them to think about how to do it. I want them to come up with a great idea, whether they are our customer service manager or one of our sales reps. They come up with great ideas. “This new client I talked to would care about the security product, and here are the features they cared about. Here’s the price point that they might be after as well.”

What are the skills that you are using, the leadership skills, and business skills that you pulled from the Air Force?

There’s a lot of stuff that I didn’t learn in the Air Force. I never touched financials or budgeting. I didn’t know the difference between a project, program, and product manager. What I did get was the ability to listen and ask the right questions. When I was in, I had to manage people that I had no idea what they were doing.

We had surgeons experts in their field asking for requirements, and it was up to me to try to communicate. “How do we get that to you? How do we make trade-offs and how fast or slow? How do we put you in the right space and put you next to the right people to make you successful?” Turning to these other guys who are doing engineering surveys and they are using GPS equipment. They want the next fanciest thing in GPS equipment. How do I ask great questions about, “Is that the right use of resources?” Turn again, I’m managing weather guys, and they’ve got a weather sensor network and not knowing what any of these different people do but also being the one that they have to turn to.

It forced me to stratify the questions I was asking. I couldn’t be an expert, and having empathy and asking those questions and learning when to judge and take out the emotion, a department leads or a lead of a team cares a lot about what they are doing. How do you, as a leader, distill that down and make good decisions? It’s challenging, and I continue to learn the practice that I take with me.

What was it that brought you into Greetly?

The previous company was Veho, and we went through a COVID layoff. We were about 25 full-time employees at the time. It was a logistics company with 500 contractor drivers across three markets. We had to make some hard decisions because we were on a burn rate. The CEO, the CTO and me sat down and decided that we were going to train the CTO to run operations.

We had him take over dispatch, ground ops, and all of the different client operations while also drilling hard into the P&I. “How do we make sure that this company survives,” and at the end of it, we had a great party and stays on great terms, exercised my equity. It’s one of the great things about early-stage companies, and I continue to be excited and watch them grow.

What was it about Greetly that attracted you to Greetly then?

It’s the same thing. Early stage, we have a great founder and a vision of a great product. Coming into that, I said to myself, “I want to help with that. I see the potential.” The ability to have a lot of influence and control over culture and build things in a way that I got to care about. This impressionable early-stage company needed structure to get to the goals that we want to be. We are twice our size a few months from now. That’s what I would love to be able to talk about three times a year from now. Seeing that opportunity and being able to be a part of that is what drew me in and sold me on Greetly.

What do you focus on day-to-day now?

My day-to-day is helping department leads be successful in their different areas. We use a modified version of traction, the EOS format. We’ve got five different departments, and I help hold them accountable. While also I am the department lead of both the integrator but also department lead of our government sales, which is coincidental because I was in the Air Force. It was not the intent when I came on but it happens to work out.

Make sure, “How do we measure sales? How do we hold them accountable and give you the resources? How do we give products what they need and figure out if we are failing or not, or doing the right things and working with those people?” Figuring out with the CEO regularly like, “What are the major things that we have to accomplish this week to be successful?”

What was it like selling to the government or the military?

Government for anybody that’s worked in it, its own animal. Not uncommon.

Not the bunny rabbit either.

It’s not uncommon to send 1 email that you think is 1 person. They go dark for three months. You find out that email got forwarded, and now there are 50 people on the email chain, and they’ve had a month’s worth of discussion off of that one thing that you said. They pop out and say, “We are ready to do this,” or they sign whatever like built and signed the memorandum that you needed or said, “Let’s move forward on building out an IDIQ contract.” There’s a lot of institutional knowledge. Even the acronym set is difficult to navigate. It’s a lot of working through the dark. A lot of personal relationship management. Get a lot more done in a phone call than anything else. It’s a difficult and different problem set.

A lot of personal relationship management gets more done in a phone call than anything else.

Selling to them specifically, and now you are working with them, how did you get in the door? What did you do to get in the door and get a contract with them?

We went through the AFWERX SBIR process, the Small Business Innovation Research. Set aside that, Uncle Sam has said, “We are going to give to small businesses. 1) We want to support small businesses. 2) We want to support new research.” They gave us Phase 1, which says, “Go out and have a bunch of conversations. Figure out if you can do something.” At the end of that, we popped out. The Air Force Base was excited about the possibility of our products solving their problem.

We entered into Phase 2, which is a larger contract. At this point, we’ve got about ten different installations onboard that want that prototype. As well as more features and enhancements. You are working within government budget cycles. How do you put it to them because they are going to sell it to their boss? That was the start and the initiation but now the real tough work begins of how to create enduring contracts and not build a prototype.

Interesting, that was the way in, though. It was like a government grant program where a government subsidy allowed you to do the research for something that they weren’t necessarily out buying. You went out and did a proof of concept. You were in the door, and then you used that door like the Trojan horse to keep working with them. That’s super intriguing.

We were deliberate about that. Our SBIR contract is $750,000 to build a prototype to modernize their base entry systems. What the heck does that even mean? We flew down there, and you do all the things. You do detail user interviews, and we used an agile approach. We are putting prototypes in front of them every two weeks, “Is this what you want? Let’s tweak it a little bit rather than a waterfall development, which is typical.”

Through that close contact, 1) We nailed our product, and 2) We got our stakeholders super excited. Now, any other base that wants to know or they are skeptical of our government product gets to call them. “How’s it working out for you?” “It’s great. Here’s the next part.” We’ve got our government stakeholders selling for us to these other institutions.

Was it Techstars that showed you that program?

I didn’t go through Techstars with Greetly. I believe Techstars has an Air Force Accelerator program.

That grant program that SBIR or whatever it’s called.

There are nine or different government agencies the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, Army, Navy, and Air Force has the most robust and easy-to-navigate process, and it’s through an organization called AFWERX. They allow for open solicitations. You can put out something and or you can contact a government user and try to explore the use case and submit it to the pool. They look at it and then decide whether or not you get this grant or not.

A few of them are members of the COO Alliance in Canada who got government grant programs for their membership as part of their leadership development. There’s a grant program in Canada where if you develop your leaders or invest in their growth, they will actually subsidize that and they are getting 75% of their membership coverage. It’s not going to change their business overnight but it’s an $8,500 membership, and they will save $6,000 to $7,000.

I will add one more thing there. We are in the middle of a fundraiser, and as part of the SBIR program, they’ve had a matching that you can do. The Air Force will come in and say, “We will match dollar for dollar any outside investment to keep building this technology up to $1.7 million.” That becomes an attractive thing at that point both to investors and to the government user who wants to see this thing take off. A lot of opportunities in there but also difficult to navigate.

It’s got to be. What are you focusing on day-to-day? I want you to tell me about what it’s like going through this funding round that you are in.

Government work takes a lot of my energy. We use a lot of consultants and contractors as well as product development. We are trying to close it all out, the culmination of a yearlong project. As well as using that to transition to the new product. Working closely with the sales team. We run a product traction every week and make sure that like, “How are we validating the feature sets we are about to do?” At the same time trying to transition the focus of the team. A lot of projections on the financials, a lot of detailed work with the product and sales team, and de-conflicting that against strategy. I forgot the second part of your question there.

I’m curious. That was part A and then part B is a separate question. It was me being a classic entrepreneur. I hit you with two very different things. What’s it like going through this funding realm now and with VCs? What’s that doing to your business focus and the team? What are you learning from doing it from going through it?

The first thing is that it takes up an absolute ton of time. I would say our CEO is doing nothing but fundraising. It is between the 1st and 2nd meetings and trying to find the intros and adjustments to our pitch deck and refine our value prop. Once you get into those 2nd and 3rd meetings, due diligence happens. It can be exciting, and you need to respond quickly because you want to close this round.

You want the investor to be excited but these lists of things that we have to compile, sometimes we are building them custom. They want to drive into some particular metric because there’s a risk there or what’s the execution risk? How can we present our current client base? In a way that helps paint the picture and tell the story that we are making this shift successfully.

That reinforces what we are telling current clients, existing clients, and investors. It’s a bit of a roller coaster sometimes. One conversation can go well and another can, take a totally different spin. The feedback you receive. Is sometimes useful and sometimes not very useful. Investors usually never want to say no. It’s to know how much to continue investing. In a soft no like, “Can I convince them or should we just move on?”

One conversation can go really well, and another can take a totally different spin. The feedback you receive is sometimes really useful and sometimes not very useful.

How are you assessing that? How are you trying to assess if it’s a soft no or if it’s really a no?

What we do is try to pay attention to the trends. We assume everybody will come back in if everybody else is excited. Our way of thinking about this raise is that investors invest for two reasons. One is traction. If you have ridiculous traction, nobody can argue with it. It’s there. The other is FOMO, Fear of Missing Out.

If there’s excitement, then that does overcome a lot, and we’ve gotten noes that we push out the next investor update and get a call and it’s, “Let’s have another conversation.” I had thought you were completely out, not even soft no. It’s hard, no. We pushed investor updates and did the thing that we said we were going to do, and now they have changed their mind. I don’t know if there’s any rhyme or reason for it. There are probably people who do it well.

That’s when I call it’s time to sell the sizzle, not the steak. When you are trying to sell the FOMO or sell into FOMO, you have to sell them on the future, the vision, and the excitement of where we are going. You can’t talk about any of the track record, the data, and where you have been because that’s not exciting.

What about all the weird ideas that they give you? Opinions are like assholes. We’ve all got one. Every VC that you talk to has got opinions on what you need to be doing with your business. It’s going to make it better that some might be good, and some might be completely off base. How do you synthesize all of those ideas that are coming at you from all of these experts and decide which ones to say yes to? Which ones to say no, and which ones to say not now?

We get a lot of that on all ends of the spectrum. Some tell us that the only reason that they are not investing is that we have a government product, and others tell us, “The only reason we are not investing is that you have a commercial product, and you should focus only on the government.” Others have very strong opinions about the clients that we are trying to target or the price point, and they are like, “You should 10X or 15X. You should only sell to commercial real estate or some sub-niche.” It’s the same thing with the good ideas when they come across like, “Look at them,” but realize they are coming from a limited perspective.

As investors, they see a lot of things and success but the nitty-gritty of how you get to your real value prop and who’s your ideal customer, it’s worth looking at sometimes but you have to stay the course if you believe in what you are doing. Sometimes you get hit with a challenging assumption, and they are an example when those good challenging assumptions come through, and it’s rare to get one that’s pointed and specific. You should look at that, bring it back, adjust and figure out, “Is it a strategy? Is it a storytelling change? What is it?”

SIC 164 | Greetly COO

Greetly COO: Investors see many things and success, but the nitty-gritty of how you get to like your real value prop is finding your ideal customer.


You mentioned you weren’t a part of Techstars with Greetly, so it was with your prior company. Are there lessons that you learned as a part of that incubator? What are the top three?

There was a lot. The first one would be around the human element. They do a great job of accelerating your company but how do you also take care of yourself? Whether that’s a work-life balance or creating that balance for your employees and paying attention, how to conduct a great one-on-one? Not to make them better at their job but to improve how happy they are.

That was one of the things that came out. The other was the mentor network. It’s one of the things I use most heavily now. I have only been out of the military for two and a half years. There are about a billion things I don’t know how to do. There are a lot of smart people out there that provide value where I can but when I need to, tap in. I’m trying to hire a CTO. Our current one is, we think, he’s stepping down.

How do you evaluate somebody like that and build that out? It’s better than YouTube videos and medium articles. You also get to tell them a story, and they want to be a permanent mentor. They want to be an advisor or join your board. That ability to reach into a bunch of people who are way smarter than you were the number one thing that I took out of the program.

Interesting on the mentor network how the school system messed us up because it taught us that we were supposed to be the smartest person in all subjects. Instead of realizing that we have to know the smart people and reach out to them more. We have to reach out to them for advice, feedback, guidance or gut-checking on where we may be. Do you still reach out to a mentor network?

I use my mentor network very heavily, whether it’s professional groups that I’m a part of or a COO group we meet every month. It’s eight of us, and we sit down for lunch and talk about problems and how we might solve each other’s problems. Alumni networks are great but maybe not as specific. The Techstars network is great. A huge breadth of company industries, size, and direction. Every problem I have, I think back to myself, “Is there somebody that I know that would crush this problem?” If somebody comes to mind, I will send him an email, “Can we reconnect? I would love your opinion on something,” and I’ve found that invaluable.

I’ve got a friend of mine, Dean Jackson, that calls it a WHO problem, then Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy, who I’m friends with, wrote a book called Who Not How, and it’s all identifying we have something that needs to get done. Our first question shouldn’t be, “How do I do this?” It should be, “Who can do this or who can I reach out to that can?” Sometimes we don’t even have to learn how to get better at it. We have to find the right who can do it for us.

For example, being a CFO, I don’t think I need to develop the skills to be a fantastic CFO but at some point, we are going to hire one or there is a baseline of practices. It would be a waste of my time to go learn. You pick a skillset, whether it’s, building great customer support teams, facility operations or running manufacturing. I should not be learning that but I should find the guy who does know. leverage their expertise.

What are you working on in terms of your skillset? We do have to get better in some areas. What areas are you trying to get better at?

The finances are one of them, and organizing a team around those and creating them into metrics. The military does not have any metrics, at least not in the space that I was in. Figuring out how you organize teams a little bit around that rather than around a big mission. We are defending the United States, and everybody is on the same page. How do you say a customer support team, six people all working hard, and you want to make sure they are aligned with the business?

Metrics are a powerful piece of that I’m trying to continue to improve there. How do you leverage? How do you have less meetings but cover more and establish business systems to where you prep for yourself to be two times your size while doing less essentially? I realized that’s a skill gap of mine. I’m trying to actively look forward to that because it’s a looming problem that will be here soon.

I launched a course called Invest in Your Leaders, and that’s one of the actual core modules and the Invest in Your Leaders course. The other one is one-on-one meetings. I have twelve modules, and you mentioned one-on-one meetings. I’m curious. What do you do in your one-on-ones with your direct reports to help grow them, remove their obstacles to support them, as you mentioned? How do you run your one-on-ones?

One of the things that I do a little differently in my one-on-ones is that we don’t talk about specific. We try not to talk about solving specific problems. The one-on-ones are to make sure that we have clean, great communication, “I need you to deliver me feedback, and I need to be able to deliver you feedback. Here’s an area where I thought you could take more ownership. I need my direct report to receive that.” In my one-on-ones with my CEO, I need him to tell me, “I’m feeling concerned about this area of the business.” The only way that you get there is by establishing trust.

I try to keep him open and exploratory. “How do you think it’s going,” and dive in and like, “Where do you sense the tension in our relationship? Is there any area in the business where you are struggling with?” See where it goes from there and try to discourage getting into specific problems or coaching instead, focusing on the relationship. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes of being frustrated and then you get to the breakthrough, and at that breakthrough, you realize you don’t know how to do this and haven’t been asking for help. Now we can solve this problem together as opposed to missing the mark by getting specific.

Try not to get into specific problems and instead focus on relationships.

Chris, let’s go back to the 21, 22-year-old self. You are leaving college, getting ready to start off your career. What advice would you like to have known back then? What advice would you give your younger self?

This is a fun one. A lot of me enjoy my life path and don’t want to change anything about it. It might be to relax and be very motivated to do all the things that came from the special forces community. Everything has to be intense, and I would’ve said, “It’s okay. Things are going to happen. Relax a little bit.”

Chill the fuck out. that’s why cannabis is going to be okay. Chris Morin, the COO for Greetly. Thanks so much for sharing with us in the Second in Command show.

Thanks for having me, Cameron.


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About Chris Morin

SIC 164 | Greetly COOI’m proud of a career in tech startups and US Special Operations, and thrive working on difficult problems with ill-defined constraints. I am a generalist and a builder, and I love working on teams with ambitious goals.

In the off-hours, I enjoy exploring the world.


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