Will you be the NEXT CTO for the Largest Unicorn?

In this emerging technology ‘enabled’ world, innovation is a crown!

“Innovation distinguishes a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs

20 years ago before technology cracked down as the most important domain and though the internet was connected to few old & heavy box look alike computers there were about just 10k websites as compared to today’s 45 billion+ web pages. It was the time when Amazon, Yahoo! and few were still in the beginning stages. We all probably would have laughed if someone said our life would one day be irrevocably changed and depend on companies like Google, Amazon and comfortably be at home and wait for your food to get delivered at your doorstep from companies like Swiggy, Zomato, etc.

Innovation and Technology today has made our life easier, convenient and enjoyable and one should always be thankful to those great technology leaders who brought their ideas into reality. When we say great technology leaders, immediately the names that strike to our minds include Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, etc. These individuals would have never achieved or become great leaders just by their technical skills but also by their leadership skills and visionary approach towards solving business problems and setting themselves apart from the highly competitive industry.

Whether you are in the management position or looking to make future step into this dynamic, rapidly growing field, it is really important to know what skills an individual or leader should inculcate to develop and transform from a good leader to the greatest leader within their respective realm.

With a huge advancement in the present technology sphere and modernized business process, a talent with the remarkable mix of business acumen and meticulous technology understanding is in high demand. With the encouragement of Behavioral Metrics for evidencing the IQ, EQ & BQ, ‘Purple Quarter’ has met more than 300 Tech heads to thoroughly perceive and arrive at competent and extensive leadership talent. Here are few key points that you can consider to grow into that role:

 Flourish Employees Competence

As Deepak Singh Ahlawat, Chief Executive Officer of Purple Quarter, affirms, “In the Technology space, IT Professionals always look forward to work with the best technology leaders before they prefer to join any organization because effective leaders always support their peers to learn and grow as team member and empower them to work towards solving business problems.”

Great Leaders always prefer to focus on business issues. They are possessed with keyboard buttons and running codes on the display. Today’s fast pace of innovation entails a leader who can wade through the technology with a focus on how it can be helpful for solving business issues? To achieve such objectives leaders always make an effort to empower valued employees by giving them opportunities to contribute their ideas and solutions, put them into practice and make them feel happy and confident.

Not just coding or doing all tech stuff but self-educating and upskilling the tech team impacts the company’s operations as well. This will always help the leaders to climb up the ladder navigating the whole team to originate into the bigger picture by showing how the hard work will leverage every single person to grow personally and ultimately achieve organizations overall success.

Influencing your actions (Walk the Talk)

Words are the powerful force of creation. They take the organization goals and put them out in front of whole world to witness. The best technology leaders always need to make their peers feel that they are very less concerned about being right rather than about doing the right thing.

Leaders always create a roadmap by manifesting the desire for accomplishing the objective, creating trust or faith within peers. The spoken word should always have certainty and quality which will be directly related to the integrity of the word.

Focus plus Productivity Leads to Result Oriented Vision

In the field of Technology, Innovation never stops! Which leads to new developments. Many companies easily get lost in the details of their daily operations. But, great leaders always envision beyond the day to day demands and set their sights on improving processes, workflows and retuning their algorithms or codes so that they can optimize the business in emergency situations.

In one word, they have a vision and no employee would like to work for a lazy boss. Most of the IT professionals would like to work within a successful team and it can only be transpired by a leader setting the right tune.

Innovate, Influence and Inspire

Vision, Communication, Innovation and Empathy are some of the principal qualities a leader needs, to successfully direct a tech organization these days. Effective technology leaders always bring innovation in, through the ground up. They always define the right technical road map as suitable for their business and set constructive internal work culture for employees so that they can grow their ideas, innovate and contribute towards the growth of the organization.

In the present corporate culture, employees are often referred to as ‘resources’, which is often dehumanized. Great leaders always get into other person shoes – think about what they feel, want and are dealing with. Only then it is possible to achieve the less or zero attrition rate by possibly making fair decisions for everyone and not resulting into mistrust or dissatisfaction.

“I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself” – Elon Musk

Just like the way every leader worked hard to expertise in technical skills, since it’s an ongoing process, over a time every leader will learn and tweak the effective leadership skills. One should always believe that it’s not just a ‘one man show’, Instead it’s the people surrounding you, who will help to create the culture with desire, contribute and bring value for the skill sets that you portray towards the team and leads you to transform from a good leader to a great leader.

Hottest Technical Talent Moves from a Trillion to a Lowly Billion: What’s the Deal?

Bengaluru-based Technology Head Search Firm, Purple Quarter, recently facilitated a move for Dale Vaz, former Head of Technology for Amazon.in to join Swiggy as Head of Engineering and Data Sciences. He left Amazon after 11 years of outstanding and acknowledged work to join one of the fastest growing food delivery companies in India.

Proven and dependable talent is a scarce commodity. So, when a hot commodity moves from a big company to a smaller one, the industry is bound to look up and take notice. According to Purple Quarter, who facilitated five CTO placements including this one in the past 6 months, it is not about money. Though important, that’s not what wins the war for Talent. Purple Quarter believes, “Finding a CTO is like finding a Life Partner, the reasons are, and have to be profound and more meaningful.”

So, what makes guys like Dale Vaz move from a larger organization to a Startup?

  1. Linear Isn’t Exciting Enough. I Have So Many Dimensions to Explore!

Several top-level employees are polymaths like Steve Jobs and Richard Feynman with multifaceted personalities. They often exhibit a well-developed sense of curiosity, learning, and problem solving. They’re always looking for exceptionally challenging and potentially rewarding opportunities to stretch their creative boundaries and develop new skills.

Their desire to learn across fields may not always get fulfilled in an established organization. But, a smaller fast growing organization may offer greater involvement in organizational decision making along with the opportunity to take on more than one role. They can find many roles that fully leverage their atypical talents.

  1. Not the Money. I Am Looking to Make an Impact!

They may be looking to make an impact, but their intention is far-reaching. They want to make decisions that will shape lives and set new industry trends. They want to create a legacy of their own. Small organizations, with ambitious visions, provide leaders with creative autonomy and enriching work environment to push their boundaries.

Just like Fuze CEO, Colin Doherty says, “We can actually make decisions here that affect everybody’s future in a positive way and we can get things done. That was the huge ‘aha’ change moment where we thought we can actually affect our destiny here by doing things slightly differently. That was the energizing moment for me. I realized I could never work for a big company again at that point.”  We agree with Colin completely.

  1. I Can Define the Culture That I Aspire For

Today’s top-level talent wants to partner with an organization, rather than work for it. They want their own personal brand to grow as the organization they work for also expands.

Small organizations tend to offer top-level employees more control over their skill sets, often in the form of flexible work hours, the ability to choose their team members, set up priorities, and work from home. Thus, top-level talent can define the kind of work culture they like.

  1. Not Engaged Enough

Most large corporations have a fixed organizational structure and culture, which can limit entrepreneurship and engagement. Not all top-level employees can thrive in such a culture. According to Gallup, highly talented employees that are not engaged are more likely to have the highest turnover rate. In the financial sector, it was around 10%, while regional healthcare had14% turnover rate.

Source – https://news.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/226025/talent-walks-why-best-employees-leaving.aspx

A smaller organization, owing to its flexible organizational culture and entrepreneurial spirit, often boasts better engagement for everyone. You make a lot more friends when you are fighting an entrenched battle at the fronts than when you do in the cubicles. People are more forthcoming about their own doubts, fears, and strengths and bond easily.

  1. Unbridle My Creativity

Most corporate organizations have a rigid work structure. They have specific code styles and legacy systems that everyone, from the top to the bottom, needs to follow. However, top-level talent, especially technical experts such as Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) sometimes need to think outside the box. They can’t always stick to the rules or work in silos or rely on third-party resources.

In our experience, most startups and small organizations focus more on doing something than being someone. They allow you to take ownership of your work, methodology, the team and the workflow. Usually, top-level employees crave this type of creative autonomy.

  1. I Want to Take the Road Less Traveled!

Usually, top-level tech executives have treaded a predetermined career path. In the beginning, money is the primary motivation. But, after reaching a certain level, the journey becomes boring and the desire to take the road less traveled starts to kick in.

In bigger companies, scaling up often beckons the law of average. Thus, the top-level talent doesn’t do humongously better than the not-so-talented. Everybody goes averagely happy. Smaller companies, on the other hand, run at a much faster pace and provide a career path with unexpected twists and turns.

From an emotional standpoint, they want to follow their passion. Top-tiered tech execs have immense faith in their abilities to create value. They have a little alpha trait too! It often encourages them to take risks. If making a move from a large organization to a smaller one fulfills their heart, they are willing to take the risk.

  1. Is Uprooting and Replanting Yourself Professionally Tough?

Working in a smaller company is different from working at a large organization. The hierarchy and structure may make large companies more bureaucratic with lots of rules, procedures, and codes. But, they also define your course of action if things go sideways. In a smaller company, however, you will face uncertain situations every day with no established guidelines.

Unlike large corporations, most small companies don’t have unlimited resources. So, you have to get creative with whatever you’ve got, be it money or manpower. The ever-changing work landscape requires evolution and realignment of your business goals on a daily basis. Your willingness to embrace this change and your resilience can go a long way in helping you settle in.

  1. So How Do These Decisions Pan out Eventually? Is It All Happy Thereafter?

“It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket,” says Elon Musk.

The bottom line is, the shift can be a great career move as long as you’ve done your homework. The speed of transition and adaptability will depend on your individual competencies. Careful assessment is required to map the values, work styles and competencies of all key stakeholders.

This is the secret sauce, which we get right every time. We map the horoscopes at all levels, map the stated and the non-stated, and give time for knowing and calibration. If this part is taken care of well, the results can be liberating and amazing for all.

Wrapping Up

We are living in exciting times! If you have talent, passion, courage, and resilience to be more, do more, and explore more, the opportunities may not necessarily come in Trillion Dollar labels. There is a flip side though. The transition from trillion to billion is tough. That’s why you should seek professional guidance from Purple Quarter, Tech Head Search Firm. With the experts on your side, you will be all set to unlock yourself!

Importance of Search Partners in this emerging Technology World

 

Hand-picked tech leaders are considered to be the key element for the success in today’s highly competitive business environment amongst the emerging technology space. If you have a vision to scale up your business & technology towards 10X, plan for global expansions, establish global partnerships, M&A, etc., hiring and retaining the best talents will become the core element for business decisions.

Consider, if you are a stakeholder or a key decision maker what would you do? Of course, one would look for a leader who is not only an exceptional tech geek but also who can understand the business dimensions. We call it as a formulation of the ‘T’, where vertically the talent has in-depth knowledge in tech and horizontally demonstrates the business facet.

That’s the reason, Bengaluru based Technology Head Search Firm, ‘Purple Quarter’, believes not only in encouraging tech leadership hires for the companies but also in consulting the stakeholders in terms of the company search strategy.  They strive for effective search process by advocating a distinctive initiative of uni-dimensional approach to find tech heads for technology companies across globe.

Organizations can internally conduct the search process for their leadership hires to reduce the cost which will be paid off to the search firms. But, one should understand that not hiring right talent or not filling the position within time will be significantly higher the cost of the search. That’s why search partners are available in the market because they are expertise at what they do and they ensure that right candidate is presented to the clients and hence resulting the candidate onboard within the specified time frame.

Further, here are the few key reasons why search partners are essential for companies to get a right talent on-board.

‘Time Value for Money’, you require a senior level talent who should be truly marvelous!

Search partners can support you by game changing hires through conducting rigorous research to hire the top performing talent. These talent are sole drivers of the firm’s vision.

Strategic search partners firstly assess the candidates by understanding the DNA of the candidate, their core values and the passion that complements the stakeholders thereby tagging along the vision of the firm, thus, resulting into a closure at a specified span of time.

Search partners can tap into a global network of contacts

“Top leadership talent in tech space is a scarce commodity”. It’s perhaps the reverse!

It’s a functional for every search partner to consult the candidates by finding right opportunities for them so that they exactly fit like a brick in the wall and that’s the reason ‘Purple Quarter’ spent first 180+ days from the inception by catering to 170 odd active/passive of imperative talent across globe and integrated the idea of their progression, mobility, motive and overall personality index.

Smooth Transition 

The transition for finding right talent for the company can be turbulent. Having a right search partners helps the organizations to reduce rough transition that could lead to a negative effect on the business.

Executive or senior level positions play a vital role in any business. After understanding the various internal and external factors of the organization to find a right talent, search partners implement effective search process that sets a firm search strategy.

However, a hasty decision can lead to choosing the wrong candidate thus leading to a difficult transition.

Strict Confidentiality

Filling up the c-level position is very crucial given fact that the organizations with such open positions are vulnerable.

A search partner will always maintain appropriate window of confidentiality for the valuable details or information collected during the search process. Such privileged information of candidates or clients protects the management against the competitors, employees, and stakeholders of organization.

“A company is a group organized to create a product or service, and it is only as good as its people and how excited they are about creating. I do want to recognize a ton of super-talented people. I just happen to be the face of the companies.”- Elon Musk, founder & CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink 

When you partner with a search firm, you know you are paying on a year consensus depending on the number of closures. However, the firm will be at a competitive advantage by making its hiring process the best.

Constant measuring and adherence to the process and tweaking will always result in optimized techniques and tactics that provides the firm what exactly they demand.

Purple Quarter always aimed at positioning the right talent to help the partners and candidates in consulting and extending support thereby guaranteeing that right decisions are modeled!

An Undefined Case in Indian Start-ups: Nascent Stage to Zombies

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. co-founder, chairman and CEO

Technology start-ups have been emerging rapidly over the last few years in the global market. Of late, India has been the third largest place for start-up innovation. Well, one needs to compliment investors and venture capitalists for the major contribution towards the development for their consistent bulk funds that has been driving most these organisations over a last decade.

Notwithstanding the fact that market valuation of the Indian start-ups has grown significantly over past few years, a recent study by IBM, “Entrepreneurial India” found that 90% start-ups fail within the first five years and 77% of the venture capitalists believe that Indian start-ups lack technologies and unique business models. Where in, some start-ups succeed that capture the qualities such as vision, determination, social and fundraising skills, adaptive to changes, etc. which keeps them driving upwards in the market.

Why Fail?

According to Forbes, Since 2015, more than 1500 start-ups have shutdown in India and as per Tracxn, a research partner for venture capitalists & corporate development offices, more than 11,000 start-ups went dead-pooled or zombies due to lack of raising funds or went off track of runway.
Following are the key reasons for start-ups ceased or experienced a failure:

Absence of Vision

A well-defined or crisp vision is a skill or finesse that any company leader needs to draw in order to keep the business in a right flow. The most vital part of start-ups is to envision how to monetize every single activity or belonging. It is not the ‘money’ but the ‘passion’ that drives entrepreneur’s vision towards success and will serve as a compass at tough times.

Inadequate Mentorship or Guidance

According to Grant Thornton report, most founders of failed start-ups feel that the lack of guidance and mentorship in terms of industry knowledge and support is a major reason behind their failure. Every business needs help to grow, Advisory board will get the expertise and mentoring towards determining business area of need and keep the overall stuff in structure.

Financial Constraints

A successful start-up is efficient in managing its finances and able to operate very lean. But the one among major reason for failure is when the resources are limited and time is the essence, most of companies look at climbing the higher ladder at the earliest to achieve highest revenue which leads to utmost loss of funds and hence the firms exhaust their resources quickly and leads to doom. At this point, companies need to master the skill of doing more with less.

Social Skills

Networking is another reason for start-ups success. A founder or leader should always be in a dedicated network in and around the domain or industry. Most of the start-up founders turn to be introvert and keep themselves away from meeting people. Great start-ups have outstanding leaders because they love to talk and inspire people by sharing the thoughts and journey they have seen to build an empire! Such attitude not only leads to growth in business but also opens up doors for partnerships or to find investors.

Innovation and filing patents

Though initiatives taken by Government of India such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start-up India Program’, etc. may have stimulated growth, but it’s no secret that innovation is a piece which still remains missing in the Indian Start-up ecosystem. The hard part is that India has been follower market – what we see in US and China today will start appearing in India tomorrow. As per the Global Innovation Index, currently India stands at 60th rank, which is 38 places behind China. Undoubtedly, India has top class talent, high market potential and global business skills one needs to start investing in R&D which helps in establishing links between the current social problems, technology & innovation.

Indeed, patent is the yardstick for innovation, India is miles behind Asian counterparts. According to World Intellectual Property Organisation, in 2016-2017 India has filed 9584 international patents, China has filed 48,882 international patents, and Japan has filed 48,208 patents. Emphasizing Innovation on social needs or issues faced by India leads to consistent business growth, sustainability and ultimately addressing towards significant changes in the common man needs.

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO

In India, many new ventures do not succeed because the technology start-ups are very complex. There are several interconnected factors that could play a part in start-up failure such as founder characteristics, business & technical roadmap, practices and behaviour after start-up. Successful start-ups spend more time in planning, advises from professionals, customers, suppliers to understand the market needs before developing product or rendering services.

In general, more studies of the start-up development process needs to be identified by creating groundwork for more successful and increased success rates for technology & innovation start-ups. This will provide economic benefits and accelerate the development of solutions to societal needs and issues.

Revamping Technology Leaders to Transformational Technology Leaders: Who are they?

When you learn to program a computer, you acquire a superpower: The ability to make an inanimate object to follow your command. If you have a vision and you articulate it in a code, well, you can make it real! And once you have built your small systems that perform clever tasks then, you own a competency to parlay creative power into societal power because Technologists not only just build the systems that ease the operations of everyday life but also they make “The World a much better place”. Thus, a high-paying Tech. job, working on cutting edge technologies makes them leave a Technotopian Life.

But, here is the glitch! Many Technologists are precise towards building technology & over a time it becomes increasingly hard to ignore the fact that one should not be constrained towards Technologist view of thought and language. In fact, one should learn how the quantifiable, individualistic, computational view – that accounts for contribution with the whole expanses of cognitive experience & towards Leadership.

Igniting interest and enthusiasm within the team has its challenges. Moreover, getting employees active & more focused is furthermore difficult task. Technologists must focus on becoming transformational and professionally aligned so that they can actively engage with the team by inspiring, mentoring and persevering the day-to-day constraints that ultimately result in affecting the lives through the beliefs and values of peers.

Some of the Key Elements of Transformational Leadership are as follows:

Idealized Influence

There has been always misconceptions about leadership, including a belief that it requires being a highest qualified within the department, Having an impressive title or stand at a highest grade or graduating from a best institute because great leaders like Larry Ellison or Steve Jobs, who never graduated from the college. Yet, they were insanely successful and recognised to be greatest leaders. Strong leaders are people who earn others respect by serving as role models and bringing out best in them.

Inspirational Motivation

IT Leaders are in the position to develop, encourage and inspire their team. Transformational Leaders should not be confused with “pure” fascinating leaders because they intentionally or unintentionally fail to transform their followers as they cannot recognize the one’s need & hence fail or prohibit them to develop. Whereas, transformational leaders motivate their peers to become independent self-thinkers and to develop themselves.

Intellectual Stimulation

Transformational leaders value all the experience as learning opportunities & they attempt to be part of the learning process. They promote education and structural development activities to stimulate their peers.

Individualised Consideration

Usually, self-management skill results in individualised development that correlates to self-efficacy and vision accomplishment. Transformational Leadership is all about coming up with new ideas, evolving the self and improvising those around them.

As mentioned earlier, transformational leaders always focus on specific leadership traits that affects the lives of others and appeal to people’s beliefs and values. There has always been a positive relationship between the Transformational Leadership Traits and employees’ job satisfaction and motivation.

In the ever changing environment of technology infused business, technology leadership is a remodelling subset of leadership study and practice. However, there are differences between the Traditional Technology Leadership and Transformational Technology Leadership as it varies toward the approach in various factors like skills, traits, abilities and requirements, etc. Will it become equally prevalent that the best Technologists will have strong Leadership acumen? Or would it be necessary for a Technologists to gain apprehensive experience to make an impact towards business goals as well as individual goals that positions them to be a Transformational Technology Leaders?