Principles of Successful Tech Leadership
Bridging the Gaps to Unity of Cohesion and Effort Between Tech Leadership and the Business
Dr John Kenworthy and Barbara Dossetter
The common ground is the frustrations with scope creep, budget specifications, programme management and poor leadership.
In earlier research in 2009 and 2013, I noted that tech leaders showed significant differences in leadership competencies when compared with business leaders.
Certainly, many of the responses to this survey suggest that the business leaders seem to think so. It appears that it is up to the Tech Leaders to develop specifically in their self-awareness and Engaging communications skills. That Tech leaders need to develop in critical analysis and judgment from a business standpoint to be able to more effectively gain the trust of business leaders and influence them to buy in and remain engaged by effectively communicating in a timely fashion with a complete appreciation and understanding of the business viewpoint.
Some business leaders can and do understand the tech perspective, but after 25 years of working with both business leaders and tech leaders, my experience tells me that it is relatively easy to help a tech leader understand the business, and considerably more difficult to help a business leader understand the nitty gritty of specific tech.
- Tech – unwilling to admit they don’t know an answer and the engineering mindset of being perfectionists
- Business – wanting to get on and do other things that are key to hitting goals. Willing to abdicate responsibility to the tech guys.
From the business leader’s perspective, time is wasted in delays and re-iterations dues in the main to poor specifications or business alignment.
When Tech leaders take the time to get crystal clarity on specifications that are aligned to helping the business and consistently engage all stakeholders effectively, many of these frustrations will disappear.
- Accepting what the business leaders say they want without a deep dive to understand what the true outcomes wanted are
- Getting agreement by putting things under a business leader’s nose to sign, knowing that they probably won’t even read let alone understand it. Communicate in terms that they can understand and assess.
- Allowing projects to run on by being willing to suspect or call a halt to a project with any of the major issues to reassess with the purpose of halting this project with no loss of face
- Allow the communication to disappear into a dark hole and then to deliver the finished product by regular and meaningful feedback on progress which will include changes of direction
- Not listening to the business in how its changing and linking those changes to the effect on the project
- Thinking they are a separate entity from the business – they are part of the business.
Also published on Medium.