Howdy everyone! Welcome to the week
This week, I've been thinking a lot about leadership styles: working with a large number of engineering leaders has proved incontrovertibly that no two people approach the role in the same way, and it can be key to unblocking CTOs and other leaders to know what their authentic style actually is. A lot of the cases of burnout, leadership team conflict and general unrest I've helped people with has come from people pushing hard against the grain, attempting to fulfil an expectation of how they think leaders should lead.
There are some common models and frameworks for leadership style that are worth exploring - the Goleman model and the Lewin model are great places to start. I'd love to know if you've explored this topic for your own leadership; drop me a reply if so!
On with the show - see you next week
Andy @ CTO Craft
Reads of the Week
The United States likes to talk about problems. Well, ones we have solutions for, anyway. Others we tend to willfully ignore. This latter strategy is typically accomplished by either b.) dismissing it as one of little importance. It’s the “American Way” ™.
Lorraine Margherita is a designer of collective dynamics for governance and performance. She helps multinational organizations experience collective practices. According to her, “Increased autonomy in a growing number of organizations can help yours create meaning and performance”.
People have had the same frustrations with performance processes for decades so fixing them is clearly easier said than done. However, some companies have recently found success decoupling discussions about pay from conversations about performance and development.
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Culture & People
Organizational culture is a very important theme for product managers and has a tremendous impact on the success of a digital product. Therefore, let’s dig into it. In a way, this subject complements the previous chapter on leadership tips for product managers.
Poorly planned and facilitated meetings are the biggest annoyances I’ve had to deal with in my career. A lot has changed in terms of technology but the amount of “bad” meetings I’ve had to go through has stayed relatively the same.
While managers may appreciate a flawless project or a deliverable for which an employee went above and beyond, this level of perfection is not always attainable. In fact, it’s rare that a task can be delivered absolutely perfectly.
Slack is a wonderful tool for collaboration. It allows us to connect asynchronously across time zones. This tool can help us cut down on costly meetings. There’s one Slack usage that indicates a sign of bigger problems — DMs during meetings.
At a previous job, we had a core value we described as “bias towards action”. This meant a few things to us: So when it came time to hire, we knew we needed to select people who’d align with this value.
Leadership & Self-management
As you start planning the year ahead, you may have realized it’s time to refresh your purpose, vision, and mission statements. Executive teams often spend months debating these statements, hashing out exactly the right words that best capture their intentions.
TL;DR: To do something together, build shared understanding and then everyone can make compatible decisions. The old style of imposing a single person’s mental model on the group doesn’t work in complexity (and also it’s mean).
A little while ago, I decided to change my career path and try something a bit different — a startup. I was very anxious to join a company that is only forming, but I felt like something was missing in all the roles I’ve been in so far.
The word "negotiation" conjures up images of high-pressure situations, where people have a lot to lose if they get things wrong. In fact, you probably negotiate several times each day.
Agile, Engineering & Product
In this final part we’re going to look at how structuring our systems to use an asynchronous static publishing approach to help us minimise our scaling headaches.
There's one right answer that applies in all situations, as always. Disclaimer: Sometime around a 2015, I wrote AWS's official internal guidance on balancing deployment speed and safety. This blog post is not that.
In search of inspiration, practical advice or to enrich our common sense, nothing beats learning from the experience of others. It’s the most human thing – to relate to other fellow humans, to share both our success stories and mishaps.
Projects to pay down tech debt tend to start by making more tech debt. The level of tech debt gets worse before it gets better. The new, cleaner code is just adding to the mess until it allows you to finally delete the old code. This has two implications.
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Have an amazing week!