The Disagreement Quota

We cannot always agree on everything. I’d be the first to vouch for the importance of speaking up, candor, and chutzpah for the formation of a healthy culture. Nevertheless, there are disagreements, and then there are disagreements. How should you tackle the different situations? To develop a mental model for handling disagreement, I refer to […]

Empowering Constraints

There’s virtually no chance that you’re reading this and don’t already know that the key to unlocking your team’s effectiveness is empowering them. I don’t see many tech executives who need to be told this. You can directly see that when you don’t empower them and don’t delegate, you end up micromanaging them, and they […]

Restoring Trust

Let me share one of the open secrets of consultants: sometimes, a big part of our work relies merely on listening to people in the company and what they have to say. I routinely hear from CEOs and executives that the situation is “great” and that there are no issues regarding X. Then, I sit […]

Are You Doing Good?

Every time I bring my car to the shop for its yearly checkup, I get nervous. I’m completely clueless. They’d tell me that I need to replace the thingamabob and the whatchamacallit, it costs like a new MacBook Pro, and I’d just stare blankly. I have no way of knowing if that makes sense or […]

Assuming Executive Position

A typical issue I see for first-timer CTOs/VPEs is that they do not fully comprehend the meaning of being executives. Tech executives that have the tech part nailed down, but not the exec part. In my upcoming book, The Tech Executive Operating System, I call these glorified managers. They have a fancier title, but, at […]

Taking the Initiative

Do you ever wonder what makes certain teams gain momentum while others seem to be at a standstill? I’ve written about floating leaders in the past. They seem to drift without purpose, and when that’s the case, the team rarely has any chance of being any different. Leadership has a lot of parts to it, […]

The Micromanagement Flywheel

A phenomenon that I have witnessed occurring to tech executives in all sizes of companies and with varying degrees of experience is that they trigger increased scrutiny and meddling. I find that most CEOs out there do not default to micromanagement—they genuinely are interested in entrusting the R&D organization to an executive that they rely […]

Stop To-Do List

A new year is a great time to stop doing some things you’re only doing because of momentum. Here are some of my favorite things to help clients stop doing, ranging from tiny stuff to career-altering steps. Cancel those “syncs” for old projects and initiatives that, for some reason, were never canceled but stopped being […]

Leadership Reserves

I’ve discussed in the past the problem of having too many contenders for every new managerial position. At some companies, it can feel like every single person is just waiting to get into management, to the point where managers are afraid of asking their employees about their wishes so as not to trigger another person […]

The Roadmap to Mediocrity

If you hold any sort of leadership role in high tech right now, you’re probably spending quite some time handling the roadmap for the upcoming year, or at least the next quarter. As someone who often preaches the importance of taking the time for long-term thinking, I have grown to dislike how most of these […]