What are the steps to transition from an engineering mindset CTO to a strategic mindset CTO?

…Asked me a young CTO.

I’ll mention here the general steps. I’ll talk about the usual gaps I see in CTOs in another post.

Step 1 — Introspection — What is your motivation to become a strategic CTO? I usually talk through with you to understand why you want to become a strategic CTO and do you have the humility to learn?

Step 2 — What do you need to learn? I carry out a Strategic CTO Mindset Gap Analysis — It helps you gain awareness of your blind spots and the skill gap between your current engineering mindset and the strategic CTO mindset.

I do this by analysing what you don’t talk about as well as what you talk about when you answer my questions, how your CEO (the person who is your direct leader) answers my questions, how your peer CPO/COO/CCO etc answers my questions about you, how someone you manage answers my questions about you.

Step 3 — Now that you know what your gaps are — start working on them. I usually make a plan with you on the fastest and easiest ways to fill them. Sometimes you need help from me, but there’s also stuff you can learn without me, from your teams.

Step 3a — Ask for help, be vulnerable with people who can add value to you, and be willing to make mistakes and forgive yourself for making mistakes while you are learning to transition to a new mindset (and not only then!).

Step 4 Re-evaluate — Don’t rest on your laurels. Just because you won £2m of budget from the board for more engineers in your team, it doesn’t mean that you now know how to win over every board. Constantly seek feedback and create a safe place in your First Team and your Managed Team to be honest with you when you ask for feedback.

Without the acknowledgement that what got you here won’t get you there, you won’t transition to a strategic mindset.

What have I missed?

#cto #ceo #reengineeringleadership



Adelina Chalmers a.k.a The Geek Whisperer

Helps Engineers who are Leaders (CEO/ CTO/ VP) get buy-in from their peers/teams/investors by transforming Communication techniques into Algorithms