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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, but one of the most important is creating forward motion, and that does not come about without making timely decisions.

By making decisions that are rightly within your purview, you allow the rest of the organization to move forward. Whenever you waffle and delay, you cause a cascading effect. Many decisions at the executive level should have a strategic impact; you should not drown yourself in daily minutiae. …


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 on. Nevertheless, when eventually something goes off track, and they do not handle it correctly, they are, in fact, beckoning for the CEO to swoop in.

Unfortunately, the triggering of micromanagement rarely makes things better. After all, had micromanagement worked most of the time, we wouldn’t decry it. …


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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 valuable four months ago.
  • Stop solving things for your people; create guidelines.
  • Spend less time interviewing. Unless you’re interviewing direct reports, you should very rarely be used in interview processes to filter. …


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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 being “added to the queue.” Other companies seem to suffer from the complete opposite: there are no suitable candidates for promotion. Some might be interested, but leadership finds them not ready yet or incompatible.

When it comes to leading an engineering organization, especially one that is actively growing, one of your most important long-term objectives is to ensure that you have a solid and capable management team that grows along with the rest of the team. …


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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 roadmap-compiling efforts are performed. Yes, any roadmap is likely better than no roadmap at all. However, if you’re anything like the preponderance of companies I see, your roadmap drives your engineering team to mediocrity, timidity, and complacency.

Here are the most common pitfalls I see my clients getting into during their planning and roadmapping pomp and circumstance. …


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 things.

Below, I’ve described my tenets for a team to deliver swiftly and reliably. Your team’s likely better at some and worse at others. There’s no requirement to be world-class in all, but every improvement you make to each will boost efficacy. …


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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 can devote more time to other responsibilities. Further, it is healthy to have more people involved in the wellbeing of the employees and care about making time for things like personal development and training, aiding with performance reviews, and enabling a platform for ongoing training.

However, I have recently come across too many companies that take this too far. Let me start with a disclaimer: I know quite a few very talented HR executives that have helped their companies tremendously. …


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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 error telling you the other side didn’t understand things correctly.

A prominent example of this is the common misunderstanding of what a deadline is and how that, in turn, hurts teams’ velocity, innovation, and trust. After talking about this with several clients in the span of a few days, I decided to put some of my thoughts into writing. …


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Changing your organization is always at least a bit daunting. Even if you are genuinely excited about the improvements the change will make possible, executing a reorganization is complicated and taxing. Due to that, many executives waffle for too long, fearing to make a step forward.

The common fallacy here is that we try and find the “perfect” solution. In the quest to find this mythical solution, many hours are spent rehashing issues, anticipating how everything will turn out, and tweaking your approach. That’s letting perfectionism stop you from achieving actual results.

You’re trying to change your organization using a Waterfall-like approach. You try and do a big “design” upfront in order to cover everything possible, hoping that you could then go into implementation without changing anything along the way. I’m sorry to break it to you. That’s just as hopeless as doing Waterfall itself. …


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Since I talk to so many tech executives and am exposed to a lot of companies of different sizes, I often get asked what makes the best stand out. Even though this is definitely a frequently-asked-question for me, I refrained from putting this into writing earlier as I felt like this is straightforward. Recent discussions made me realize my readers would find this useful, and so I decided to publish this. I would love to hear your thoughts! Without further ado, here are the traits that I see most common in successful VPEs (and some CTOs).

Product Mastery

One of the concepts that I keep harping on. Everyone in Engineering, and especially leadership, should be proficient in the company’s business. One has to understand the product, the problem it solves for the users, the users, the market, the competition, etc. …

About

Aviv Ben-Yosef

Tech Executive Consultant, I help create autonomous teams that deliver @ https://avivbenyosef.com

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