Newsletter #117 : How COVID changed leadership

March 22, 2022
CTO Academy deliver tailored leadership skills training and career development services for global tech leaders. 
We bring you the latest “5 Minute Tech Break” and for your delectation a range of leadership articles that tickled our fancy this week ….

1. How COVID changed leadership
2. Ways to avoid burnout
3. Recognising workplace micro-aggressions and;
4. What to ask/consider during leadership interviews.

Sanjay has recommended our book of the week …
(Ed: his recommendations are always worth following …)

Reminder – Event for your diary;

Dec 1st:
When Tech Debt Almost Crushed PayPal … A discussion about the sometimes uneasy relationship between engineering and growth 

More details at the foot of this newsletter.

Thank you to everyone who completed our recent survey on “The Future of Tech Leadership Training” – if you’re interested in contributing then I’ve added a link below.

Have a great weekend.
Andrew Weaver
CTO Academy
[email protected]

Leadership in a time of COVID
The Pandemic Has Changed Leadership For The Better: How Young Leaders Will Respond To Today’s Challenges COVID has clearly impacted everyone around the world, perhaps in ways that some of us have yet to recognise. It will certainly drive a huge volume of retrospective articles in the years to come.

This Forbes article takes a positive perspective on how it might impact leadership amongst the next generation of leaders;

“Our society is built on ingenuity of young people, and the post-pandemic era will be no exception. For the next generation it’s imperative to take this moment to learn from leaders who have successfully navigated their organisations through the Covid-19 crisis. At the same time, it’s the responsibility of current leaders to be the stewards of their growth, providing examples of successful leadership for the next generation”Find out more in The Pandemic Has Changed Leadership

Avoiding Burnout. Knowing When To Stop. IMO there can never be too many reminders about how to manage the stress, strains and health risks of leading in challenging times.

I’m always keen to consume a well written article about the topic and whilst this article was written from an entrepreneurial perspective, I rate the authors insight and see crossover with this newsletter audience …

Continuing with the theme of ‘stopping’, this post unpacks another entrepreneurial conundrum – Discretionary Effort and the risk of burnout.”Grab a beverage and take time to read: Avoiding Burnout

If you’re not sure what Workplace Micro-Aggressions look like …
I confess to never having heard this term until earlier this week, when it was raised by my good wife who works within the HR field.

But just a brief review of this article made me realise how prevalent these issues can be within many workplaces and even if you’re not guilty of them yourself, it’s useful to be aware of how and where it might be taking place within your wider team and organisation.“If the term “microaggression” is new for you, you may be scratching your head trying to figure out what they actually look like. Since they’re labeled “micro,” by definition, they’re small which is one of the reasons why they’re easy to miss but .. “they can be seemingly innocuous comments, often appearing to be compliments or genuinely expressed questions, that are in actuality unintentional expressions of bias and/or racism, sexism, ageism or other forms of discrimination.”

Read more about our Workplace Microaggressions

30 Leadership Interview Questions Whether interviewing or being interviewed, you might find this an interesting walk through some generic questions and potential ways to respond … 

Read more in 30 Leadership Interview Questions
“Give or Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success”As mentioned, this weeks book was recommended by my colleague Sanjay Mistry who as any of you who have been coached by Sanjay will know, is definitely someone focused on helping others …

“For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions, and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary”

Find out more on Amazon


How To Not Take Things Personally
When Tech Debt Almost Crushed PayPalWeds 1st December 2021, 1600 (GMT)

When Tech Debt Almost Crushed PayPal 
with Matt Lerner, ex PayPal and 500 Startups VC.

Discussion about the sometimes uneasy relationship between engineering and growth

In addition to some “PayPal War Stories,” Matt will cover other useful topics, including:- How can devs best support growth? Balancing fast growth obsession vs. tech debt and risk
– Hard (but fair) questions to ask your growth team
– Growth teams vs. product teams vs. marketing teams
– Is “growth hacking” really hacking?Presenter: Matt Lerner
Matt is a Silicon Valley “growth” guy with 20 years experience as an operator and VC, including time at PayPal and 500 Startups.
Now the founder of Startup Core Strengths

Free to Attend – Includes Breakout Sessions
Register Here

Find out more about Matt via his Linkedin and Twitter profiles, where he has some great stories to tell …

“After 17 years, we finally “cracked” a $100M churn problem at PayPal. Zero fancy tech. Just a spreadsheet, some simple SQL, and a physicist named Ben”

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