Hey there - a bumper issue for you this week!
We began the next of our Mentoring Circles on Friday last week, and started the discussions with some fascinating looks at context-switching, getting involved in non-tech activities, decision making and people pleasing. Looking forward to next month's session already! There are more Circle groups planned to begin in the autumn, so if you'd like to join the list or schedule a chat, fill out the form on the Mentoring Circles page: https://ctocraft.com/mentoring-circles
August is going to be a quiet month for our Bytes events, while we take a breather and get some plans in place for the rest of the year. We have some exciting sessions lined up already for September, but we're always looking for interesting talks, panel ideas and volunteers and whatever else you'd like to contribute, so drop a reply to this email if you'd like to get involved!
Thanks as always to our Headline Partner, Amazon Web Services - if you're interested in partnering, drop us a line!
Until next time
Andy @ CTO Craft
Reads of the Week
This is one of my favorite USDS stories: Very quickly in my career at USDS I developed a reputation for being a person you could send out an SOS distress call to, not so much inside USDS itself but externally with contractors and different government partners.
We conducted a survey to try and understand what happened during the crisis, what changed as a result, and what the new world of work will look like. The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 is already writing itself into the books as a major event in our time.
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Culture & People
The height of a tree depends on not just the seed, but the size of the pot you plant it in. Without space to grow, you’ll only end up with a shrub. Similarly, the amount of progress you’re able to make depends on your spare capacity.
The other day, I was meeting with the CEO at a company I advise. Our goal for the meeting was to review his executive team to identify potential gaps. The CEO pulled up the list of his C-level executives and started walking me through it. I stopped him abruptly.
A few weeks ago we underwent a significant restructure. We shuffled people around, merged teams, and — unfortunately — let some folks go. But when some doors close, others open, and we were able to give a couple of people their first true management role.
1-on-1s are known to strengthen relationships between managers and their team members (sometimes coaches, mentors, and peers too). They also encourage frequent performance check-ins and conversations between managers and their direct reports.
Engineering culture is a topic I am passionate about, mainly because I have personally witnessed its transformative effects on engineering groups throughout my career.
Leadership & Self-management
In general, startups frequently begin with a couple of cofounders: one who becomes the chief executive officer (CEO) and the other the chief technology officer (CTO). Because of the stage at which I enter the picture, I miss some of the very early camaraderie and harmony. When I come in, there is often “marital strife.”
At just 25 years old, I was elected union steward for the overnight shift at a package and delivery company. Most of the guys I would be responsible for had upwards of 15 years on the job while I had only 3.
“How do I get my team to contribute more solutions and ways to improve the business?” It’s a frequent question we hear from leaders – and with good reason. What would it mean for you to have a team that solves more problems and contributes ideas that improve your customer experience?
Delivering communications to anyone in your organisation should have come with some serious thought and experience behind it.
If you’ve ever taken a philosophy class, you’ve probably heard of the Socratic paradox: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” It advocates for the benefits of uncertainty, a point of view that happens to be backed by modern psychological science, too.
In our search for leadership models, we found many, many leadership models. Every organisation seems to have developed a leadership model. Churches, educational institutions, government, the coast guard and consultancies, they all have their models.
Agile, Engineering & Product
Hope everyone’s doing well. It’s been a busy week at work this week, so this is coming out a little later than desired. I apologise for that. If it’s your first time reading, here’s a little refresher.
In 2016 my department, inside a highly traditional health insurance company, decided to try something unconventional: An experiment in Agile scaling no one had done before.
Most Agile coaches/Agile leads are hired in an organization to help address the dysfunctions that already exist. In my case, however, I joined a company that was already on a robust Agile journey. Healthy team dynamics and practices were the norms.
Earlier this year I went on an interview at an organization that I’ve been wanting to work for since I’ve graduated with my Psychology degree. Instantly, I noticed some red flags while taking a tour of the facility, asking questions, as well as speaking with some of the seasoned employees.
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Have an amazing week!