We get it: culture is a vital ingredient to organizational success. But the majority of technology organizations are terrible at it. Why?
Most digital leaders I work with always seem to say “culture matters” at the right times — all-hands meetings, strategy sessions, and the like (check that box!). But it rarely converts. Big programs, platform implementations, and budget mania always win out. Numbers rule today. That means we’ll get to culture tomorrow.
Culture is critical…but it’s really damn hard.
***NOTE: this article is geared for those in the traditional job market, not entrepreneurs***
The average person spends one-third (!) of their lifetime working (in a professional sense). This often exceeds 90,000 total hours.
With that time investment, coupled with our desire to do well-compensating work that we love, we need to position ourselves wisely. I’ve wrestled with this over the years, constantly asking if I’m doing all I can. I’ve had glimpses of “yes,” but many other times I’ve sulked in despair.
No one ever tells us why to write. We’re just told, “go write that book report.” And we comply.
But why should we write?
Most of us labor through our writing, whether it’s a persuasive essay for school, business whitepaper, or love note. It’s a chore, not a joy.
We must reframe our view of writing. It’s the ultimate weapon for any of us. And for aspiring and current digital leaders, it’s your greatest “unlock.” Writing is far more potent than any technical skill you will ever develop.
Your machine learning skills, cloud architecture wizardry, and cyber threat acumen might’ve propelled your “success” to date, but those fleeting abilities won’t get you to the next level. …
Slow down and reflect on this: the term “job” feels increasingly unnatural.
Personally, the word gnaws at me. Feels limiting, like being put in a box. Does it rub you wrong too?
The great majority of the workforce, Gen Z withstanding, was shaped to pursue bureaucratic education (as opposed to learning) and get a good job. Many stay on a one-lane highway for decades, even as career zig-zagging has become more socially acceptable and valued in recent years. Regardless, most of us are juggling some type of 9–5.
The root of my discomfort, as with others I’ve talked to, is that “job” feels something outside ourselves. A thing that’s clearly separate from our own identity. We struggle to internalize and welcome our jobs, as they’re often wholly in service of some other person or organization. “Self” is over here, and “job” is over there. …
We intentionally step outside of the technology knowledge base for a moment. We forget the code blogs, scan the horizon with an open mind, and drink in vital lessons from other disciplines and genres. Here we go.
Tribes: We Need You to Lead (by Seth Godin)
“‘Life’s too short’ is repeated often enough to be a cliche, but this time it’s true. You don’t have enough time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It’s not just pointless, it’s painful. …
Today is Election Day in the United States. People in this country and around the world are watching with bated breath, and we’ll soon learn who will sit in the Oval Office.
This is politics as you know it — government in the traditional sense, with all the “House of Cards” nastiness we’ve unfortunately grown accustomed to. It’s understandable if you have a deep-seated aversion to politics. Many reflexively pull back away from anything “political.”
But for digital leaders — whether you specialize in cloud, analytics, cybersecurity, or the like — avoidance isn’t an option. Your business is depending on you to accelerate and maintain a competitive edge. …
Back in 1986, James Carse wrote a book called Finite and Infinite Games. He describes Finite Games as those with known players, specific rules, and a clear “win” definition. Think of chess, basketball, or poker.
An Infinite Game, in turn, is one with an unknown number of players, shape-shifting rules, and a peculiar objective: not to win, but to keep playing the game. Think of politics, business, and life itself.
There’s a lot we can learn from Carse’s worldview, which Simon Sinek built upon in The Infinite Game. One key lesson centers on knowing which game you’re playing. There are two valid game types: (1) Finite players playing each other and (2) Infinite players competing against one another. …
I’m done with “authenticity.” It’s a lie.
We’ve been drowning in the “authenticity movement” for years now, and people are as confused as ever over what to do with it.
You might call our struggle a response to the frustrating industrial-era work life that many of us grew up in. For decades, we’ve been ensnared in endless bureaucracy — having to plug into monstrous systems and fit the mold. Uniqueness was not the personal attribute we were taught to cultivate. So, a counterbalancing took place. …
There comes a time when the “old way” must die. For skill development, that time is now.
To ground this argument, let’s set some context on how to think about life’s journey. We’ll start thousands of years ago, with ancient Hindu teachings.
In Hinduism, there are four age-based life stages called ashramas that flow in this order:
The word “spirituality” makes many of us uncomfortable. This is because we often confuse the term with religion or think it’s for monks and yogis meditating over there. But that’s misdirected thinking. Fundamentally, spirituality simply entails a sense of connection to something higher than ourselves.
Spiritual people believe there’s more to life than what the eyes can see — material things, job circumstances, and stressful situations. Instead, their experiences are magnetically charged — they realize there’s a profound energy that unites the world and transcends all of us.
For leaders of any organization, spirituality is important. It connects people — it’s the binding agent that taps into our collective humanity and propels us to new heights. And it requires steadfast practice. …