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5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team: “Communication is key” with Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig

Communication is key. I do not agree with everything Simon Sinek says, but showing the “Why”, the reason/purpose, why we as a team do something, and why it thus matters that each and everyone does their job helped us a lot. And then there are numerous tools you can use to assign, track work of […]

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Communication is key. I do not agree with everything Simon Sinek says, but showing the “Why”, the reason/purpose, why we as a team do something, and why it thus matters that each and everyone does their job helped us a lot. And then there are numerous tools you can use to assign, track work of course. But communication and constant reiteration of why the work matters, goes a very long way.

As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a large team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig. Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig is the co-founder and CEO of WorkGenius, the world’s leading AI-based freelancing platform. Based in New York, Mr. Litz-Rosenzweig is focused on continued expansion in the U.S. market, optimization of the platform’s technology and exploration of additional client offerings in order to increase efficiency and cost savings for client organizations. Mr. Litz-Rosenzweig founded WorkGenius in 2012 alongside Daniel Barke in Hamburg, Germany, with a vision of powering the future of work as jobs evolve from life-long tenures to the gig economy. WorkGenius was originally founded as Mylittlejob, which focused on digitally matching college students to companies in Europe. In 2018, the company rebranded to WorkGenius after expanding its base to professional freelancers. In 2015, Mr. Litz-Rosenzweig also founded TALERIO, a data-driven recruiting platform that leverages a database of aggregated student and young professional profiles for efficient and transparent recruiting. Mr. Litz-Rosenzweig is an industry expert on future of work topics, with recent appearances on Work Awesome, Bold TV and Cheddar. He also serves as a mentor at German Accelerator U.S., empowering other German startups to scale globally and providing counsel on strategy, business development and sales. Mr. Litz-Rosenzweig earned his B.A. degree in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) from Lancaster University. While there, he also served as an undergraduate research assistant in economics.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I was born in the car manufacturing area, Stuttgart in the South of Germany. I later moved to Hamburg to finish high school. To understand the world better and its complexities I could not really just focus on one field of study. I opted for Philosophy, Politics and Economics and read all three in England. Interestingly, the importance of “work” spanned across all three different disciplines, from Greek philosophy, to social constructs and as the foundation of a big part of economics. Work is not just a pay check but a source of self-worth and fulfillment. This was not entirely clear to me at the time. More so, though, when I got fired working during the summer in a fashion retail shop, folding t-shirts. WorkGenius was created from that clarity and has been growing ever since.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The reason we started WorkGenius was because I was fired from a retail job, folding t-shirts. No one likes to get fired I presume but this experience turned out quite well actually.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

They say, fake it till you make it. Which is probably true, but we ended up doing all the work that was meant for freelancers but was mispriced, thus no freelancer picked it up. Instead of fixing the pricing issue, we just worked day and night on finishing the work that clients posted to our site. I remember how we had to write essays for a dating site about love. Love is an expansive topic but after ten thousand words you run out of things to say and I had to come up with the chemical aspect of love — at 2 am that was. Instead of getting caught up in what seems urgent, sometimes taking a step back and understanding the bigger picture, the importance of something in the grand scheme of things, is very important. As an entrepreneur you have to decide every day what you have to work on first, you never run out of work. This was my biggest learning besides all the deep scientific insights into “love”.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to talent today?

I think two things motivate people, truly. The mission of the company/team and their own progression as people/professionals. If you cater to both — easy. But some businesses cannot easily cater to both. Some companies do not have a great, aspiring mission. Some roles do not have a clear career path within the firm but require people to change firms. We are lucky to have a fantastic mission, that affects the largest market in the world, the labor market and also billions of people. We have people in the company that are exclusively focused on career progression of our employees. This is hugely important and overlook, especially when organization grow.

How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?

Communication is key. I do not agree with everything Simon Sinek says, but showing the “Why”, the reason/purpose, why we as a team do something, and why it thus matters that each and everyone does their job helped us a lot. And then there are numerous tools you can use to assign, track work of course. But communication and constant reiteration of why the work matters, goes a very long way.

Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)

1. Compassion — Understand people’s motivations, expectations

2. Create clarity — communicate goals, abstract from the noise

3. Be honest, express your admiration, frustration

4. Help people grow, if they grow, you grow, the company grows

5. High quality standards — on yourself and others. If the quality of the output is not right, your organization will not struggle down the line

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

1. Understand them, their motivations and expectations

2. Communicate your expectations clearly and illustrate why you have those expectations and what they mean to the overall goal/mission of the company

3. Recognize when it is not a fit. Do not waste the time of your employees when you see they are not in the right spot.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am biased of course but most people spend a huge part of their lives working. I think we have not done enough to get every person the right job, so a lot of people are stuck within a job they don’t like or even without a job. I think we need to liberate the labor market, reduce friction for people changing jobs and discard social stigma around job hopping/freelancing and remote work.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

For me — quotes are just quotes; because a quote means nothing until you act on it and it influences your life. There is a lot of chatter, noise in the world and it seems to get more noise. But actions trump words any day and whenever you catch yourself complaining, go and change it instead.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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