Newsletter #94 : Hiring for Growth, Leadership for Agile and COVID

April 9, 2021


Hello to New Zealand

Welcome to another Friday edition of “The 5 Minute Tech Break” from CTO Academy and as ever, I hope we find you well at the end of another busy week.

This newsletter contains a guest article from CTO Academy member Paul Clegg who looks at how his approach to hiring changed when he focused on growth.

Elsewhere we bring together our normal weekly collection of favourite articles, and our book and video of the week ….

Rest well this weekend.

technology and tech news

LEADERSHIP ARTICLE  “How Our Hiring Strategy Changed, When We Went For Growth”   This week’s main leadership article was provided by Paul Clegg, CTO at Rail Dairy based up in the fabulous city of Manchester (my home for a decade). Paul shares shares his thoughts about how the dynamics of his hiring strategy changed when they shifted into a growth phase …  “Finding a skillset is easy; you can quickly extend your team’s capabilities through contracting or freelancers. However, attitudes and behaviours are the seeds of something much bigger, and you can reap the benefits by creating the right environment, setting expectations, and supporting the growth of individuals in the team.” Read the full article here.

Hiring and Recruiting


Articles Catching Our Eye This Week

The Impact of Culture on Agile Development Practices… Creative working describes how ideas and technology have come together to build an innovation-based economy that’s based on using science and technology to develop new tools and solutions. Although workers have achieved higher levels of autonomy, mastery and purpose, many organisations are still using old structures and hierarchies, which aren’t well-suited to the new type of work being done.

COVID-era leadership: Being more human… Corporate executives are facing this challenge in the COVID-19 era, having to chart a path forward in foggy conditions without a map. As a top headhunter who finds, develops and places those leaders, Krishnan Rajagopalan has seen first-hand how management has changed at this moment in history. The president and chief executive of Heidrick & Struggles sat down with Reuters to discuss how leaders can keep their teams focused, productive and moving forward.

How to get pitch feedback from VCs… As an investor, dishing out candid feedback on why you chose not to invest in a startup can be uncomfortable. It’s why many choose the easier path of ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ with the infamous ‘It’s too early for us’ line or the equally common ‘This doesn’t fit within our fund mandate’ — or nothing at all. D’Arcy Whelan claims that VCs have nothing to lose by not being firm, founders on the other hand do.

How to build a company culture that sets you apart… So what is company culture?
We like how Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot, summarizes it: “Company culture is the promise you make to your candidates and employees about the environment they can expect to work in and the values upon which your business operates.” Therefore, the question is; how can we build a great culture?

Will Scrum Fall Victim to Its Own Success?… While Scrum is structured, it is not entirely rigid. Also, a Scrum approach may also require some level of organizational transformation and a a considerable amount of training and skill to implement successfully. Therefore, companies that are learning the Agile process and transitioning to a Scrum development cycle may struggle to apply the theories in practice. 

MEET THE TEAM #9 Owen Evans, CTO, Leadership and Technical Coach/Consultant

Kia Ora and welcome Owen Evans, who joins our global network of coaches from the other side of the world and the magical New Zealand.

As an experienced CTO and former Chief Architect at Xero, Owen brings some fantastic insight and expertise to our coaching team. 

Find out more about Owen here:

Owen Evans leadership coach


The Ride of a Lifetime

Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, during a difficult time. Morale had deteriorated, competition was intense, and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company’s history. His vision turned Disney into a stronger brand in international markets. Now Disney is the largest, most respected media company in the world, counting Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Film and 21st Century Fox among its properties.

In The Ride of a Lifetime, he shares the lessons of running Disney and leading its 200,000 employees, exploring the principles that are necessary for true leadership. 

Robert Iger has not only lived up to ninety-six years of groundbreaking history but has moved the Disney brand far beyond anyone’s expectations, and he has done it with grace and audacity. This books shows you how that happened.” – Steven Spielberg


The Puzzle of Motivation | Dan Pink


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