I often meet people surprised that somebody can move so quickly and easily between strategy and code, executive and software developer.
More often than not, I meet managers, directors or execs who show a bit of pride when they say they no longer code. Some even joke about how their development teams would never let them into the code.
Meanwhile, my teams seem happy to work directly with me. If they see me off building a strategy with a client or developing new offers we can sell, they often shrug their shoulders and say something like “That’s where we need you”, as if they are releasing me to some better and higher purpose.
To me it’s just natural. I love working with executives who have a vision they want to chase down, and I also love developers, architects, business analysts and QA folks. There are some project managers I love, and some, well… not so much.
All my thoughts focus on shipping products and executing strategies to make and achieve stated strategic objectives. Sometimes I join the development team, sometimes I work with the sales team and sometimes I flesh out plans of action.
As simple as possible, but no simpler (Einstein)
I’m jazzed about making difficult things practical. Here are two quotes about impossibility that I really enjoy:
- Those who believe something is impossible should get out of the way of the ones doing it. (I have heard this is a Chinese proverb, but references seem vague.)
- The difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a little longer.
So the main work of my life is to use insight, passion and technical adrenaline to help people solve difficult or impossible problems. I am not above writing code, and I am not above writing strategies. It’s easier to just be the full package and leverage the tools, the strengths and the network of help that’s available.
Real and practical
In being practical, I also accept that some things actually are impossible. I can’t flap my arms and fly, and I just don’t have the knowledge or power to predict with certainty what’s going to happen with the stock market or the economy over time.
I don’t know everything, and I make mistakes. I value being genuine and helping people get over obstacles more than being “right”, though like most people I know… I sometimes need prompting to understand where I am wrong. I will also defend a decision that others may question in support of achieving a strategic objective or keeping my teams from getting bogged down with indecision.
Here are a couple more quotes you might enjoy:
- There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. – William James
- The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision. – Maimonides
To describe my offer of help, here is an excerpt from my LinkedIn profile summary:
- an agile software executive, agile coach, mentor and strategist.
- a creative/charismatic technologist with 20+ years inventing strategies, automating & optimizing processes, speaking & writing great software.
- the CEO with a vision, to develop technology plans that make it real.
- the CIO overwhelmed with requests, to bring order to chaos & rebuild customer trust.
- the CFO get visibility into her business & change tech expense into positive strategic investment.
- sales teams develop new offers to hit their numbers and produce residual revenues & repeat customers.
- marketing teams exploit social media channels and produce new ways for reaching markets.
- IT directors manage complexity, coordinate resources, simplify planning & build positive momentum.
- technical teams develop new skills, increase professionalism & gain confidence for their careers.
Oh, and as a dear friend and colleague once said, I also “code like a banshee”… I have never really figured out what he meant, but it sounds cool.
I intend this blog to reflect these facets where I can, with the intention that I can help others who bridge the gap between leadership, strategic and technical domains.
If you have worked with me in the past and want to support my assertions about what it’s like, or for any other insight you want to leave for me and other readers, please leave a comment in the area below.
[For your reference, here is a link to disclosures regarding affiliations and relationships I have with different companies.]