Five Essential Attributes of Great Technology Company CEOs
Almost all of our clients ask us the same question, albeit phrased in different ways. Boiled down to its core element, the question is whether the technology and product teams are moving quickly enough in executing ideas. In other words, “Is my team good enough?” Our answer, after some investigation, is almost always the same: “Your team can do better and be better, but so can you.”
In our experience, there are 5 major reasons for this “C level executive” concern and a resulting 5 attributes or characteristics that would help keep the concern in check and your teams on track. The reasons range from unrealistic expectations, to not consistently practicing some basic management principles. Not every issue exists in every company, but we’ve attempted to identify five important attributes that you as an executive, product manager or technology manager can adopt today to ensure that you are getting the best results out of your team.
1) Understand that Creating Value Should Take (Some) Time
There is not much to say here that we have not already said in our entry Getting from Idea to Product The key point here is that value creation should take some time and while you should have aggressive goals and you should manage execution aggressively, great things seldom happen overnight.
2) Seed, Feed and Weed your Garden (Your Team)
Please see our articles on Building High Performance Teams and Seed, Feed and Weed to Succeed. The important point here is that you must build and maintain a stellar team to maximize shareholder wealth and have the best time to market.
3) Be Appropriately Technically Proficient
You do not need to be a technical expert. See our article on How Technical Does the CEO Need To Be? But it is your responsibility to bridge the experience chasm between you and your technology teams and to make them more productive as a result of your interaction. It is also your responsibility to expect that your technical and product teams will move your way and better understand your business and your business drivers.
4) Be a Leader
We could not possibly do this topic justice in its entirety in a single blog posting and possibly not even in a single book. But we think that there are four things that you can do really well that will help increase your company’s chance for success. In our article Be A Leader, we identify these four areas as: limiting the churn in your strategy; creating aggressive but achievable goals; instilling a causal mental roadmap to success in your employees; and making timely, sound and morally correct decisions.
5) Be an Effective Manager
Great CEOs and executives know that the game is not about “adding features”; it is about improving business metrics related to your customer and in so doing maximizing shareholder wealth. To do that effectively, you need to measure, communicate, and plan. These three pillars of management are discussed in some detail in our article Management 101.