Intelligent CIO North America Issue 8 - Page 80

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Mistakes taught me humility .
companies that used technology heavily have realized just how dependent they continue to be on software that has failed to deliver the levels of utility , clarity , efficiency and delight required to achieve appropriate levels of customer and employee adoption in our new reality . Apps that were ‘ good enough ’ last year have proven woefully inadequate during a pandemic . For many organizations , Digital Transformation has accelerated faster than it would have without the crisis . For others , it has been too little , too late .
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office ?
First , I take care of my body . I ’ ve become an SOS vegan , which means I eat a 100 % plant-based diet with no added salt , oil or sugar . In addition , I work out with a trainer three days a week and do some form of exercise daily . This has made a dramatic difference in my stress level and health . Second , because I have tendencies toward working too much , I set more realistic expectations for my workday , and have been much more intentional about spending time doing things that bring perspective , like working in the yard , hiking with my wife , doing a remodeling project , listening to podcasts ( I love Tim Keller ’ s stuff ), or having dinner with my family . And I give myself permission to take vacation and mini-vacations . These things have all been super helpful to maintain mental , physical and spiritual health . It ’ s all connected .
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be ?
I don ’ t think I ’ d change anything . The failures taught me more than the successes . Mistakes taught me humility , and that is probably the number one thing anyone needs to learn before leading others . Avoiding the pain would have been more comfortable , but suffering from failure has a way of cementing important lessons into your soul . There is one particular conversation with Steve Ballmer that I wish I could redo . But I was young , and frankly pretty clueless when that happened . Sorry , Steve .
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry ?
Many of our customers are investing in portals – applications that deeply connect them with their employees and customers . They come to Skuid because with our toolset , they can create a fully branded , ultra-sophisticated experience that simplifies the user experience , masking the necessary complexity behind the scenes . And they can get a portal into production in less than half the time of using other low-code technologies and about one-tenth the time it would take to write code . We ’ re seeing tremendous growth in portal applications with adaptive intake forms . Stuff that used to be done with a whole lot of paper or hundreds of clicks can be reduced to just a few clicks with Skuid .
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in North America ?
As a cloud-native offering , we don ’ t really experience region-specific challenges .
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months ?
The biggest change has been to manage through a crisis . While every CEO faces daily challenges , the pandemic has forced me to act more like a wartime leader . Because of our values , we decided that it is very important to help our customers through this crisis in any way possible . So in very tangible ways , their challenges have become our own , which means we have done our best to help some of our customers to just keep going while helping others to scale far more quickly . Every day we ’ ve lost and won some battles . The emotional highs and lows can be exhausting , but you have to keep on . So truly , the past year has felt very much like a war , and that takes a different kind of leadership than managing in ‘ peacetime .’
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry ?
Look for people you can trust with yourself . Find mentors – one or two people who have done this before who are willing to walk beside you . Being a C-level leader is a lonely , often thankless job . The money does not help overcome the loneliness . Working harder only makes it worse . Invest in your ‘ family ’. If you are married with children , learn how to do these relationships well . If you are single , connect with people who can support your emotional and spiritual needs and with whom you can reciprocate the love . If you grew up with dysfunction like the rest of us , find a counselor . Find others who can coach you . Admit that you need others and remember that they need you . You will need this foundation of loving relationships outside of work if you want to thrive and finish well . p
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