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3 principles for managerial success, according to Nvidia’s Senior VP for Silicon Engineering

Interview

3 principles for managerial success, according to Nvidia’s Senior VP for Silicon Engineering

After 28 years at Intel and more than three at Nvidia, Shlomit Weiss is stepping down and sharing her lessons from a career spanning three decades

James Spiro | 12:20  08.06.2021

After a 30-year career, Nvidia’s Senior VP for Silicon Engineering, Shlomit Weiss, is stepping down to pursue new projects and passions. Following her graduation from the Technion, she entered the workforce at Intel and stayed there for 28 years before moving to Mellanox in 2017. In the last four years, she managed teams of more than 1,000 people around the world, which faced unique sets of challenges during the company’s acquisition by Nvidia last year, and then through the pandemic that changed the way we all operated.

Now, Weiss is stepping down. But before she does she joined CTech to share some of the principles that she wants to pass on to young aspiring managers in Israel’s high-tech space.

Nvidia’s Senior VP for Silicon Engineering, Shlomit Weiss. Photo: Jonathan Bloom, courtesy of NVIDIA Nvidia’s Senior VP for Silicon Engineering, Shlomit Weiss. Photo: Jonathan Bloom, courtesy of NVIDIA Nvidia’s Senior VP for Silicon Engineering, Shlomit Weiss. Photo: Jonathan Bloom, courtesy of NVIDIA

 

Principle 1: “People are our most important asset”

“I developed three principles that I think are very critical for a manager and a leader,” she told CTech. “The first principle is that the people are our most important asset. Without people, there is no company and we cannot produce anything. We can have a strategy, which is nice, but really you need the team and the people that are part of the organization. Many managers are talking about how people are important, but for me, it was critical to show it and to enable the people to feel like they’re important... The way I do this is mainly from the respect I give to people, and the respect I ask my managers to give to people.”

According to Weiss, people are different - and managers need to accommodate each person’s needs or requirements. The best way to do this? Listen. “Listening is sometimes tough for managers because they think and believe they know everything, but it is critical to really listen. Based on this, we can address their needs and wants. Even if I cannot give them what they want, I explain what is possible instead. I gave them the understanding (that) I know their needs.”

Finally, the last element of people and their importance is controlling the interaction with them - staying honest with colleagues. “The last important part is about me being open and authentic. I think when people feel I’m open, they know they can trust what I tell them. This is when they get more engaged, they care more, and they get more motivated.”

Principle 2: “Quality on Schedule”

“The second principle I have is about results,” she explained. “At the end of the day, every company is about business and business outcome. So, I usually say results mean ‘Quality on Schedule’. If the quality is perfect and outstanding but the product is too late, it’s not useful - somebody else took the market. If the product is on time but doesn’t work, it isn’t useful because people aren’t going to buy something that doesn’t work. Therefore, ‘Quality on Schedule’.”

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Principle 3: “Enjoy the work that you are doing”

Weiss’s final principle for ensuring the success of a company and its teams is through the enjoyment it brings to each team member. After all, teammates are spending long hours, sometimes for months on end, building products and developing services that are anticipated by millions of people.

“The third principle I have is to enjoy,” she said. “It is important to enjoy the work that you are doing. Everyone spends a lot of time at their work and everyone wants to advance. The way to be successful as yourself as a person, and the way the company can be successful, is if the people are really enjoying what they are doing - if the people really like and care about their work. Those are my three principles. As part of being open, I tell my teams that those are my principles and they know what to expect. They know what is coming. I tell my managers and this is what I expect from them - to manage by those guidelines as well.”

With 30 years of management experience under her belt, Weiss decided to write a book about her time as a manager. The book’s title, which is currently only in Hebrew, translates literally as ‘Lead With Your Soul’. Over the next few months, she plans to release an English version under the new title ‘Engaging Leadership’. The book was based on all the things she learned working at some of the biggest companies and the workshops she would run helping others achieve managerial success.

“My classes are built from stories, examples, and cases of what happened to me and how I learned from them. What’s my take or what I’ll do next time. I found out it’s very useful. People actually connect to the stories and it helps them with learning… I think it is critical and important to help managers,” she concluded.

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