Newsletter #103 : Culture Change and Corporate Culture Survival

June 14, 2021

CTO Academy deliver tailored leadership skills training and career development services for global tech leaders.

I made it back to London …

Welcome again to our 5 Minute Tech break, a space where you can indulge in topics we hope will be of interest in your role as technology leaders.

Managing change is never easy, but especially now that culture change is often more central to a tech leaders role than tech change. Our own culture transformer and leadership coach Zoe Fragou dives into the topic with our main article of the week.

Pleased to report that our first Masterclass was a great success, with Sanjay Mistry delivering nearly 3 hours of insight into How To Create A Tech Strategy, taking questions from our global attendees throughout a fun and interactive session.

Sanjay will be repeating his masterclass again in the autumn, in the meantime check out our June Masterclass with Zoe on The Art of Negotiation, and How to Always Win:Win.

I have finally returned to the UK after 18 months … PCR tests, passenger locator forms, quarantine and vaccines – and whilst the May weather is pretty terrible here, it’s great to be back.

Take care of yourselves, until next time …

Forget Tech Change, It’s Culture Change That Matters now

Zoe Fragou, is an experienced organisational Psychologist and leadership coach. When she writes about the challenges of culture change, she writes from experience so it was interesting to hear her thoughts about how tech leaders have needed to adapt to a shift of focus from tech change, to culture change.

“Managing change has always been at the core of a technology leader’s job description, but whereas 10-15 years ago the focus was on tech change, today it’s more likely to be people and culture change that a tech leader has to deal with. But culture change has become something of an industry myth for business psychologists: we hear of its existence, but very few experience it delivered in real life. We know a friend of a friend has achieved it, but we’ve rarely seen it with our own eyes”.

Read the full article here.

Articles That Caught Our Eye This Week

Key Metrics to Track and Drive Your Agile DevOps MaturityCharlie Ponsonby and Matt Campbell spoke to different organisations, all of whom are on some form of Agile transformational journey.  

Some are early in their Agile transformation – organisations just starting to implement an Agile way of working across their delivery teams, and are at the early stages of implementing the DevOps toolsets to underpin those processes.  Much of their software delivery may still be ‘waterfall’ in nature and they may not have yet achieved an effective CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) methodology.

At the other end of the spectrum are those advanced or ‘Mature’ Agile practitioners who tend to be many months into their Agile transformation, with well established Agile methodologies (often at scale); an effective set of DevOps tooling; Delivery and Operations teams aligned to deliver in an Agile way; and business stakeholders who understand Agile principles.  As a result, these ‘mature’ Agile businesses are highly proficient at delivering quality software dependably, early and often.

How to lead a team by principles rather than process...In 2012, Google launched Project Aristotle in their quest to build the best teams. However, the research findings were counterintuitive to traditional notions of what constituted a top-performing team. They concluded that individual traits and skills were not strong predictors of success, and who was on the team was not as essential as how the team engaged with one another. Likewise, Google had previously launched a study called Project Oxygen to determine what characteristics produced a good manager or leader. Their initial attempts to replicate a process on management roles based on the study failed to achieve the desired outcomes.

Shane Close suggests both of these studies help affirm his belief that there is no one-size-fits-all process that can be used to create, foster, and grow high-functioning teams. Mostly, because every team is unique and team needs will differ as a result. In his experience, applying guiding principles to effectively build and manage teams yield far better and more consistent results than attempting to apply a single generic process that is measurable via a checklist or scorecard.

GitLab’s 2021 Survey uncovers a new DevOps maturity modelValerie Silverthorne states in the midst of a global pandemic and a new way of working, teams got serious about what matters most, creating what amounts to a new DevOps maturity model. GitLab’s just released 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey found sharp increases in automation, release cadences, continuous deployments, and security postures, as well as a growing reliance on cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. Nearly 4300 people shared their struggles and successes and demonstrated a commitment to DevOps maturity like we’ve never seen before.

What does this new DevOps maturity model look like? Well, for one thing, it looks like it’s working. We think the year over year growth statistics speaks for themselves:

7 Major Leadership Theories Every Manager Should Master in 2021...Do good leaders make good managers? Or is it the other way around? It’s a chicken-and-egg question that has no clear-cut answer. This often leads people to wonder what the difference between a leader and a manager really is. However, one thing is for sure — while leadership and management are not the same, they both must go hand in hand.

If managers are to be effective in their role, it is essential for them to imbibe certain leadership skills. And if leaders want to lead successfully, they must know how to manage their followers — employees, peers, and stakeholders — so that they feel more inspired, empowered, and engaged, leading to a successful organisation.

Ultimately, both roles need an understanding of human behaviour to create a more engaged workforce and more productive workplaces.


The Corporate Culture Survival Guide

The Corporate Culture Survival Guide is the essential primer and practical guide every organisation needs. Corporate culture pioneer Edgar H. Schein breaks the concept of ‘culture’ down into real terms, delving into the behaviours, values, and shared assumptions that define it, and explains why culture is the central factor in an organisation’s success—or failure. This third edition is designed specifically for practitioners needing to apply these practices in real-world settings and has been updated with coverage of globalisation, technology, and managerial competencies.

This book shares how to get past subconscious bias to assess whether or not your existing culture truly serves your organisation, and how to introduce change and manage the change process over time for a best-case scenario outcome. Case studies illustrate the successful change in real companies, providing models and setting the bar for dismantling dysfunctional cultures.

Corporate culture begins with the founder and evolves—or not—overtime. Is your culture working for or against your organisation? How can it be optimized? This book separates the truth from the nonsense to provide real-world guidance on initiating and managing cultural change

“Well structured, clearly written in straightforward language and well-illustrated through examples from the author’s extensive consultancy experience. The suggested process for deciphering an organisation’s culture looks as if it would work well in practice”.


Shedrick White … IMPOSE YOUR WILL


CTO Academy Live Masterclass – Next class Weds 16th June

Places are selling for the second in our live masterclass series. this time looking at The Art of Negotiation and How to Always Win: Win – which will take place on 16th June 2021.

Seats are limited to just 20 tech leaders so that everyone gets the opportunity to learn, engage and share with the host and cohort.

We also have some fantastic speakers and topics being lined for the rest of the year so watch this space.

For more information about the June masterclass – click on the image below or the link above.


The Power of Group Coaching … 

CTO Academy Tribes is our group coaching and peer-2-peer support programme.

It’s a powerful way to learn and share knowledge alongside like minded peers, facing and negotiating similar challenges to you.

We have different tribes for established, early-stage and aspiring CTOs with tech leaders joining us from Australia to Spain, Canada to South Africa. 

Come and find your tribe ….

Download Our Free eBook!

90 Things You Need To Know To Become an Effective CTO

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