Launching a Tech Executive Advisory Offering
By Boris Korenfeld, CTO and Tech Executives Advisor at Sphere Partners
Virtually every organization has become a software company — whether as a SaaS company or internal critical software applications.
The folks leading these software development departments have a typical technology career path. They start as a Software Developer then a Team Manager and then a Director. The Director role is generally focused on technology. The next logical step in the career path is VP R&D or CTO – effectively acting as a bridge between technology and business. In this role, the required skill set shifts from a technology to embrace other dimensions like business acumen, leadership, change management, and participating as part of the executive team.
The challenge is that most of this tech executive’s counterparts are not from the technology world. They don’t speak the same language – so the new tech leader needs to learn to speak in business lingo. More specifically, it is hard work communicating to the management team how the product and engineering efforts impact the company’s business goals. This translation effort is crucial because executives must understand technology’s impact on business goals. When the impact is understood, management can ensure the tech and product teams are focusing efforts on the highest priority goals.
In addition, business leaders (CEO/COO/GM) of tech executives may not be aware that product & engineering teams must be run and managed differently than the marketing, sales, or the finance team.
The tech team’s impact is also a function of its organization structure. You need to create a structure that is flexible enough to meet the business goals but also able to flex as the market changes.
Looking back on my career, I experienced these same challenges. When I was promoted for the first time into an executive VP R&D role, it was overwhelming. I was given the task of scaling the team from 70 to 200 people. This required a complete redesign of the R&D organization. As this was my first executive-level role, I had to shift from being technology-focused to embracing the business and leadership side of technology.
I received a lot of support from my management team but what I missed and needed was an outside mentor – a CTO or VP R&D (who had been in my shoes before). This would have helped me avoid unnecessary mistakes, become a more effective leader faster, and, ultimately, make a bigger impact on the business.
After this experience, I decided that one day I would help new tech leaders overcome similar challenges. So, I’m making that vision come true and launching the Tech Executive Advisory with Sphere Partners.
Tech Executive Advisory will help tech executives and their teams solve big challenges. In addition, we work with business leaders (CEOs, COOs, and GMs) that manage tech executives to bridge communication gaps, improve departmental collaboration & productivity, and align execution with business goals.
In addition to my regular advisory sessions, I’ll also be sharing my experiences by writing and speaking on many topics, including:
- Adjusting to new market realities — finding a new balance between scale and growth
- Change management
- Rethinking OKRs, specifically setting ambitious and achievable functional OKRs
- Facilitating re-organization of tech teams to create maximum business impact
- Prioritizing a product roadmap with cross-functional team leads for each milestone
- Inducing innovation across the organization
- Discovering cost-management strategies in Cloud, FinOps, Data, and others
- Coaching in high-output management practices and operations
Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. To learn more about this executive advisory offering, reach out to us here.