Reorg Pitfalls

While IDEs make refactoring straightforward, doing the same with your org chart is not as easy. Yes, you might use a tool to drag teams and people around, but the same principles that make for clean code don’t necessarily map to teams. Here’s a quick grab bag of pitfalls I’ve seen in my work. As […]

The Reset

Every so often, you reach a point where the organization you’re leading seems not to be making adequate progress. If you’ve made some attempts at improving yet seem to be at an impasse, the solution is rarely to keep butting your head against the wall but harder. That’s when a reset might be in order—a […]

Impact Tuning: Tech Leadership

The theme recently has been all about drastically improving teams’ impact. In a tech climate where companies are no longer growing like crazy, and startups are expected to create a *gasp* business, efficacy is on everyone’s minds. Luckily for us, this more organic and sensible industry enables us to drive impact more easily, which is […]

Curing Reactivity

You know what gets people interested? A good hero story. You share about a crisis at work, how dire the situation was, and how you found the right thing to do or saved the day just at the right moment. In working with leaders, I’ve realized that too often, these types of stories, no matter […]

Weaning Off Productivity Porn

We all know those leaders who seem to always be maximizing their time and learning nonstop. There’s no new book they haven’t read or a trending article they haven’t already filed in their read-it-later queue. Name the acronym, and they’ll tell you its meaning—even if you just made it up. If this hits too close […]

The Grow Slow Guide

A few weeks ago, I spoke in front of a group of founders of early-stage startups. The conversation centered on the difference between how startups “looked like” during their careers so far and how different things are for them now. What they “learned” earlier seems no longer relevant, given the disappearance of “cheap money.” I […]

No One Needs Your R&D Metrics

I can’t help but cringe when clients ask me about relaying R&D metrics to the CEO or the board of directors. These KPIs, which usually have no business being discussed in those forums, are often something tech executives bring up themselves, not realizing that doing so is handicapping their own authority. Like the cat that […]

The Strategy Void

Everyone and their dog nowadays seem to be working on “strategies.” However, virtually none of the startups I work with have a clearly defined strategy. Instead, they often suffer from a complete disregard for long-term vision (“We’re a startup, who knows?!”), or they think they’re strategizing when in fact, they’re merely coming up with partial […]

Embracing Politics

As part of the quest to help tech executives maximize their leadership potential, a recurring theme is the dreaded concept of politics (cue spooky sound effects). Not all that you think is politics is, in fact, so. Further, sometimes, you just have to learn how to play the game. Let’s break it down and help […]

The Hired TechExec Pitfall

This one is for those founders who don’t have a technical founder that wants to lead R&D/Engineering and also for the hired VPEs/CTOs who want to understand their bosses better. Running a startup, especially in the first 3-4 years, without a technical cofounder is a bit like deciding not to castle in chess. It’s possible, […]