Steve Sitton

Just another blog…

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TL;DR – Bill Walsh, an ex-NFL coach, had a leadership approach that transformed the success of the San Francisco 49ers. His ‘Standard of Performance’ covers a wide range of leadership traits that apply across industries. Each point offers learning relevant to leading tech teams today.

There’s no hiding from the fact that results are important. If release targets or customer subscription and retention numbers are not met jobs could be at risk. However, as counterintuitive as it sounds, solely focusing on results will probably have the opposite effect!

“Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.”

Bill Walsh was an NFL coach whose advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst sports franchise to a legendary dynasty. The Score Takes Care Of Itself details Bill’s take on leadership which can apply to any industry not only on the football… Continue reading

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Setting a good impression for new hires is important, we also want to show that we’re organized and prepared as a new person starts their journey with us. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, with our busy days it’s not easy to pass on information in a structured way. At times I’ve forgotten to share or explain certain things at the beginning which then ends up being passed on in an irregular way. This can affect their impression of us, but will certainly impact the onboarding efficiency.

The usual route is to maintain a list of things (an on-boarding checklist) for the new hire. I’ve done this and it works, but either it’s passing a lot of information at once or holding some back and then deciding the right time to pass it on, making it more of a scheduling challenge that is never productive.

I needed to try something… Continue reading

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I don’t follow the NBA much but came across this short video from an interview with Draymond Green from Golden State Warriors that impressed me…

To quote one part:

“You don’t just mistakenly become great at something. You probably at one time believed that you can be great at that and then you worked to get great at that and you reached that greatness.”

I admire the effort professional sportspeople put in to be the best. Some of the workout regimes they commit to are tough but their mindset is also key to their success. In addition, they typically have coaches and training staff supporting, encouraging, and pushing them along the way. This applies to our industry too!

As leaders, are we giving the people in our teams that chance to be great? Are we guiding them to believe in themselves, to have the confidence that they can achieve greatness?… Continue reading

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It’s Monday morning on your way into work, the weekend now over as you look at the day and week head. Do you hope that everything goes smoothly? No production incidents. Deployments run smoothly. Teams working well together steadily delivering features. We like an easy life, but does it really help us?

Think of times when you have learnt the most, either about people or your processes. Is this when things are going smoothly or when problems arise that need investigation, thought, and teamwork to overcome?

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whatever our career, we learn from our experiences, it is these that help us develop our skills in particular areas. As with a sailor, smooth seas will only prepare you for certain situations, for the benefit of the crew, having skills in difficult circumstances could save lives. As a leader, who has a… Continue reading

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Does writing come naturally for you?  For me it doesn’t, I keep at it because I find it’s a good way to develop ideas and share information. One thing that has helped me is the mindset I take while writing, that is pretending I’m presenting this blog to a room full of people at a conference or meetup. This helps to picture the flow and identify the key sections or points I want to make.

The title

Titles are a big deal and people make decisions based on the title alone. When you’re at a conference scanning the agenda, do you select “must see” talks solely based on the title? Imagine your blog listed in search results, why would someone click the link for yours over others?

Start with knowing what you are covering in your blog, then let title ideas flow from there. I’m rarely happy with the… Continue reading

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We talk about culture a lot, in books, talks, meetings, it’s a major focus area for companies. We start initiatives to build our culture but, at the same time, we want to let the culture grow organically through the people. For this to happen there has to be a solid foundation for the people to feed on. Trustful teams are the common requisite, but there is another ingredient that has to be considered.

As important as culture is, it can be difficult to describe. I like the description – “Culture is every decision you make” – I wish I could remember who said this but it’s true. It’s a scary reality that everything we do has an effect on the culture! This applies even more to leaders as we are being watched whether we like it or not and the culture changes around us based on what people see leaders… Continue reading

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I’ve posted the recommended reading blogs for one year now. It was a little experiment and I’ve enjoyed putting my thoughts to a few blogs but this will be my last for now.

Here are posts from December that I recommend:

The Best Leaders Are Helpful
Being helpful to teams can be an overlooked priority for leaders. “Listen and understand what people expect from you, not what will make you look good.” This post should act as a reminder to focus on giving over taking and offers suggestions on ways to help your teams. Remember, sometimes getting out of the team’s way can be their biggest help!

5 Ways Introverted Leadership can make You a Great Manager
Introverted leaders can naturally allow others to shine so looking at some of their traits makes this a great post. I believe any type of leader can succeed as long as they have… Continue reading

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