Algorithms for Leadership: Simple Systems for Thriving in Chaos
The last decade and half has been a time of EXPONENTIAL change in technology.
I've spent years as a programmer and leader trying to extract clarity from the chaos. It's like ice skating up a hill of increasing entropy. My work was often wasted, and it never felt like everyone was pulling in the same direction.
The frustration has been growing and growing as the tech ecosystem changes faster and faster. There's always more to build, less time to build it and more and more tech debt piling up to be fixed "later".
Even more frustrating is the gap in communications between business and technology. It feels like there's a total disconnect between short term delivery and long term priorities. As a technologist I've often felt powerless to stop the inevitable consequences of this short term thinking.
The faster things have move the more obvious the problems are becoming. It's like a tech project that's kicked off without considering the underlying architecture and abstractions... The friction gradually builds and things go further off course.
I began to realise that tech leadership was using the wrong building blocks.
The wrong Algorithms.
So I went looking for the right abstractions. I read all the books:
Devops. Lean. Agile. Management. Theory of Constraints. All the books!
They all solved part of the problems, but there was still a disconnect.
The prevailing wisdom in tech is all aimed at optimising for stable systems. This is simply not the world we inhabit now.
I began looking further afield, and found answers in a place I'd previously discounted: my military career prior to technology. I'd learned more about operating in chaos from my time in the Royal Marines than I had as a technologist.
It makes sense when you think about it. Elite military units have been a crucible for discovering the fundamentals for operating in chaos for decades.
The ETHOS I'd learned in the Marines, the COMMANDO Mindset, is exactly the way we should be thinking about the exponentially changing tech ecosystem.
It just needs a translator to bridge the gap. So that's why I'm here: to extract the fundamental PRINCIPLES of operating in chaos from the military into a set of PRACTICES that technology leaders can use to build teams and systems ready for today.
These are the Algorithms of Leadership.
You've heard the phrase improvise, adapt overcome? Well, this almost exactly sums up the Royal Marines ethos:
And this is what we'll cover in Algorithms for Leadership.
You'll learn the fundamental principles and a simple set of practices to Harness the COMMANDO Mindset in your team. To build an aligned, action oriented team that's fit for the changing world of today, and ready for tomorrow.
Learn the fundamental abstractions that power high performance teams from the military to sports to technology.
Adapt & Respond
Build a culture of clear and consistent communication which keeps your team operating effectively.
Create a positive feedback loop which balances execution with reflection and drives continual improvement.
The way we lead technology teams needs to evolve
Technology companies today grow and change at an unprecedented rate. This change is causing a stressful, chaotic and confusing work environment. The disconnect between technology and business is becoming a communications chasm that messages struggle to cross.
In my experience as a tech leader and team builder - this disconnect has surged over the last few years. In fact it's been so bad in several of the last few places I've worked that I've started to feel like my tech abilities are being wasted in a desert of unclear priorities and lack of clarity.
I've pretty much stopped learning more programming languages and technology in order to figure out why, and what we can do about it.
I found answers, but not where I expected. The clues to operating in the new environment mostly came from my career before technology...
From my time in The Royal Marines
Tech leadership in the fast paced world of today has a LOT more to learn from how commando units operate than from how factories are optimised (which is where much of our industry's accepted wisdom comes from).
I found that what I'd learned as a Royal Marine is built on a set of simple, fundamental and composable principles. Understanding these building blocks allows us to reason about the systems we work in, and build our own best practice.
Just like the algorithms we learn in computer science allow us to build robust technical systems, these Algorithms for Leadership are what we need to build human systems that are fit for today's world, and for whatever comes tomorrow.
Systems are what allow us to flip the COGNITIVE LOAD of a chaotic environment into the COGNITIVE LEVERAGE of consistent communications.
This leverage is how we're able to extract CLARITY and CONSISTENCY from confusion into communication and teams that can SCALE.
I've spent years leading and building development teams in different industries.
Thousands of hours researching team dynamics, and how to translate the principles the military rely on to technology.
And invested thousands of dollars training myself to be the best teacher of these concepts I can be (including taking On Deck's Course Creator program).
All so I can offer this promise to students of Algorithms for Leadership.
You'll be learning to empower the team you lead with
What people are saying
What's Included In The Course
An overview of what you can expect from the course.
As one of the first cohort of Algorithms for Leadership you'll have access as the course is being built. I'll be running workshops and live session around all the main concepts, with Q&A sessions. In the future these session will only be available as part of a coaching or cohort based program at a much higher price point.
Over 4 hours of video instruction
Lifetime updates on content
Templates to jump start practices
Office hours and live sessions
One of the main problems we have in tech leadership is a focus on point solutions, and a lack of understanding of underlying principles and abstractions.
This what what I found most frustrating when I went looking for answers. The tech industry moves so fast that "best practice" has an increasingly short shelf life: The best advice on building and leading tech teams even 5 years ago would feel dated today.
So Algorithms for Leadership is unashamedly principles first. Just like in tech, a grasp of the fundamentals is what you need to be able to build your own specific solutions to problems that come up.
Who is the course for?
Algorithms for Leadership is for you if you're in any kind of tech leadership position (or if you want to move into one). If you find yourself constantly fire fighting, or struggle communicating across or up and down tech businesses - this is for you.
This course was born out of my own frustration as a tech leader in organisations with ineffective communicating and a first principles search for how to do better. If you want to understand the real underlying fundamentals of team dynamics so that you can build your own best practice, that fits your own context, this course will provide you with the tools.
Who's it NOT for?
If you just want to know to implement a practice, and you're not really interested in the underlying "how things really work" aspect of teams and people, you should probably give this a miss.
Using a software analogy: Algorithms for Leadership is more like a library of useful well documented and designed utilities, rather than a framework that you use directly.
If you prefer the immediacy of just using something pre-made vs the extra effort of studying how things work, you probably won't resonate.
No judgement here, there's a time and a place for "just tell me how to do the thing" - this just isn't it.
When's the course being released?
When will the live sessions be?
What does the military have to do with software development??
Do you do coaching/consulting?
Algorithms for Leadership
Lead confidently through constant change by applying the fundamental principles and practices of elite military units
Stop managing, start LEADING!
See you inside.
Let's get after it!