March 23, 2022

Friday Finds #2

Welcome to the latest Friday Finds from CTO Academy and we take a look this week at Crisis Management …. Something we’re all getting used to dealing with during recent days and years.

If leadership wasn’t challenging enough in what might be described as “normal” times, they’re even tougher during the recent and very unsettling issues with COVID and Ukraine.

So how do you manage yourself and your team through a crisis?
What type of crisis can emerge?

We look at both issues plus an interesting article about Frank Weber, CTO at BMW.

And a few thoughts on leadership and food … just to prepare you for some R&R this weekend.

Andrew Weaver
CEO and Co-Founder at CTO Academy 

In this Friday Finds you’ll get:

💥 Crisis Leadership: Keep calm, but don’t carry on as normal
🤯 8 Types of Crisis Your Company Could Face (and Protect Against)
🚚 BMW’s CTO on electrification and supply chain issues
📚 Our weekly book recommendation 

Crisis Leadership: Keep Calm, But Don’t Carry On As Normal

As a tech leader you’re probably being tested now in ways you thought unlikely and almost unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

It’s easy to lead when times are good. But true leadership is being able to work through times of uncertainty and hardships. 

As David Foster Wallace said: “[leaders are those who] help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.

As the US economy was emerging from that catastrophe Franklin Delano Roosevelt was confronted with the second world war and even more fierce resistance from an isolationist nation about keeping the US out of the conflict.

He took responsibility, acknowledged the issues, and applied radical changes of thought and action to achieve the results required.

The three pillars of crisis management
1. Top person takes responsibility
2. Acknowledge the issue
3. Overcorrect

If your company is facing challenging headwinds then it’s your job as a business and tech leader to adopt a similar approach and at the very least provide clear communication and honesty to the team(s) you lead.

You also need to combine confidence with realism. 

There is often a risk of providing too much of the former (confidence), without sufficient amounts of the latter (realism). 

If leaders display excessive confidence in difficult circumstances, they can lose credibility very quickly.

Many in your team will be anxious about current circumstances so you need to provide the humility and kindness to understand people will be reacting in different ways, depending on their own perspective and circumstances.

Read the full article here 

8 Types of Crisis Your Company Could Face (and Protect Against)

When our businesses mess up, it’s often by accident. 

But the worst part is that often the real cause of your problems can go unnoticed – making them harder to deal with. Little mistakes can quickly snowball into a costly endeavour that your team didn’t see coming.

To effectively handle crises, your team will need to know 

  1. What a crisis is 
  2. Types of crises 
  3. How to resolve crises

A crisis is an unexpected problem that makes your business unstable or at risk. However, there are key differences between a crisis and a problem.

The characteristics of a crisis are:

  1. First, the problem must pose an imminent threat to the organization.
  2. Next, the situation must involve an element of surprise or shock.
  3. Finally, it will force the business to make timely and effective decisions. Knowing the elements that make up a business crisis can be instrumental in identifying these problems before it’s too late.

The most common types of crises are mostly related to having enough funds in the business, employees behaving professionally, continually giving the right and timely service to customers, and keeping the IT of your organization stable and working. 

The three types of crisis management are:

Responsive crisis management
Responsive crisis management executes that plan and handles any unexpected roadblocks that may pop up. Responsive crisis management is used for scenarios like financial and personnel crises where it’s imperative that you provide a timely response.

Proactive Crisis Management
Proactive crisis management anticipates a potential crisis and works to prevent it, or prepare for it. While not all crises can be prevented or planned for, actively monitoring for threats to your business can help your company reduce the impact of a potential crisis.

Recovery Crisis Management
Sometimes we don’t even see the crisis coming, and it’s too late to prevent the damage it caused. Technological and personnel crises can often blindside a business, causing long-term negative effects. In these cases, your company may not be able to lessen the impact, but you can begin to salvage what’s left of the situation.

Read the full article with examples here 

BMW’s CTO on electrification and supply chain issues

When BMW said their new i7 would be their most powerful electric vehicle, they weren’t joking. 

With a cinema experience in the second row, doors opening and closing automatically, and art mode, so it has real digital art inside, it requires extremely complex technology to work. 

This article from tech crunch explains how BMW is managing through the great chip shortage without changing the company’s overall EV expansion plans.

“It takes us a lot of energy to cope with the challenges of the chip crisis,” BMW CTO Frank Weber said. 

“We are really proud of — as a team — when you see how we deal with a chip crisis, our production systems and our supply chain systems are really flexible and we can react very quickly. This gave us a competitive edge last year. We believe this will also give us a competitive edge this year, but we expect that this will continue for the whole year.”

He does not expect the war in Ukraine to affect BMW in the long run – mainly due to their quick-response duplication of the machines they use to build wiring harnesses in Ukraine. 

Read the full article here


You’re it
By: Leonard J. Marcus, Eric J. McNulty and more

The faculty of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University takes you to the front lines of some of the toughest decisions facing our nation’s leaders.

From how to mobilize during a hurricane or in the aftermath of a bombing to halting a raging pandemic. They also take listeners through the tough decision-making inside the world’s largest companies, hottest startups, and leading nonprofits.

Get the book here

(not so much) DEBATE OF THE WEEK 
🍱 Those Who Feed Well, Lead Well …

With all this talk of crisis management, 
we kept a light touch with the debate of the week question to our global community

The Question: 
What is your food of choice to celebrate success? 
And what is your guilty under-pressure pleasure?

Here’s what our community answered: 

Sanjay (CTO, UK): As a team, the guilty pleasure when pulling all-nighters was definitely fried chicken 😳 always the team’s go-to.  

Steve (CTO, South Africa): We tend to celebrate with Mexican food or Pizza. If our CFO is involved, that pivots to Indian food.

Andrew (CEO at CTO Academy): Our first big team meeting since COVID was at The German Gymnasium in London, a fantastic building and boy oh boy, their Goulash starter is magnificent … and my go-to guilty pleasure is Chocolate HobNobs. 

Terrible for the waistline but wonderful for the stress!

Reply to this email: what’s your guilty pleasure? 

🎓 The Tech Leader Digital MBA

We have two cohorts up and running with >50 tech leaders from around the world enjoying this blended learning experience and with an average rating of 4.7 (out of 5) per lecture, enjoying each of the lectures.

Our next cohort is due to launch on Monday 28th March 2022 and we already have a good number signed up to start.

Get in touch if you’d like more information about joining this or future cohorts and/or book a free discovery call with Andrew if you’d like to explore whether it’s a good fit for your career.

🎉 UK Events Coming Up … 

We will be reviving our monthly webinars from April – more information to follow soon.

This month we’re hosting our 1st networking event since we launched in 2019.
We will be in Manchester (Dukes 92) on Thursday 31st March 2022 from 1830.

Please get in touch with [email protected] if you’d like to join us for a meet and mingle.

Did you know:
If you sign up for CTO Academy, you get:

👏 340+ Lectures on Leadership
🤼 Access to our global slack community
🧑‍💻 Access to Live Group Sessions
👑 Regular Expert Webinars
… and much more

Sign Up Here

This Newsletter was written by Jeppe Strands and Andrew Weaver

If someone forwarded this email to you: sign up here

Latest posts

Improving Cybersecurity

Improving the Cybersecurity of your Company: The Complete Guide

There is no doubt that cybersecurity in companies is more important than ever. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015

9 Tips on The Bottleneck of Code Reviews

I had experienced efficient code review practices before, so the question led me to articulate what had worked in the past.

cto academy digital mba for technology leaders

The CTO and The MBA … a history of coming together!

Whilst a traditional MBA was historically of little interest to the CTO that has changed as the world becomes ever more consumed by automation and tech leaders need to broaden their skill set.

Become a high- impact tech leader

Our courses are built specifically for technology leaders who want to align their technical capabilities with high impact leadership skills. 

communicating to non-technical customers
Leadership and
Team Building
Tech Strategy and
Business Goals

Free Assessment

Start Your Free Leadership Skills Assessment Now

Leadership comes in many forms. Check what leadership skills you master and which you could improve on. 

Wait, download our free eBook

Packed with everything you need to know about the CTO role