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 […]

You Should Be Moving Faster

Surely you’ve heard of “move fast and break things,” Facebook’s old motto. The intent behind it makes sense: too many of us allow our organizations to operate at a complacent pace rather than actually do anything remarkable. Nonetheless, it misses that mark. The best teams I’ve worked with move faster and, in fact, break fewer […]

HR: Hemorrhaging Responsibility

Over the past few years, I see a trend taking shape for tech executives, and that is learning how to cooperate with their counterparts in HR (nowadays, sometimes called “VP People”). At its core, this change has a lot of positive benefits. By having partners for taking care of the company’s culture and environment, leaders […]

Deadline Language Barrier

Communication is one of the most critical skills for anyone in our industry. I always say that just because I say a word and you hear the same word, we cannot trust we both understood each other. There’s so much ambiguity involved in language, and, like with dynamic coding languages, you don’t get a compile-time […]