Leading Geeks - IASA Malaysia Chapter Meeting (1 July 2008)

I am a member of IASA.

Every month (usually) there would be at least one chapter meeting which consists usually of a presentation on a topic followed by progress report of IASA.

Yesterday topic was about Leading Geeks. It was conducted by Paul Glen (USA).

How to do you lead a group of geeks such as software architects, engineers, designers and geeks ?

If you think about leadership, what is the first thing that popped out from your head ?

Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Saddam Hussein, Alexander the Great ?

Yeah, these are all non-geeks leaders.

The problem with geeks is that they are just a different type of people.

One important notes, you cannot put power on geeks, it will only de-motivate them.

So, how do motivate a geek ?
  1. Good Pay
  2. Promotion
  3. Praises & Recognitions
According to Paul, these are all extrinsic motivations. What about intrinsic motivation ?

The answer is "There is nothing you can do to motivate(intrinsic) geeks. Period"

So, Paul suggested that as far as you could go, is limited to providing a good environment for geeks to find intrinsic motivations from within, which are largely attributed to personal interests and passions.

Paul suggested the following few extrinsic factors.
  1. Focus on goals and not tasks
  2. Do not assume that you know everything, give them spaces
  3. Keep the team small
  4. Free food occasionally
To learn more about that, check out leadinggeeks.com.

"Excuse me, Sun Tzu may be great, but he never roll-out SAP" - Paul Glenn (1st July 2008, Malaysia)

More about Paul Glenn

Paul Glen is an award-winning author, management columnist and a professional speaker.

In 1999, he founded C2 Consulting to help technology organizations grow better leaders and help technical managers perform at their best.

Mr. Glen received his MBA from the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University with majors in marketing, organizational behavior, and strategy. He received a BA from Cornell University with majors in computer science and mathematics.

He has more than a dozen years experience delivering and managing IT related products and services. For four years, he was western regional manager for SEI Information Technology, a national IT consultancy. In that role he had full profit and loss responsibility for a $13 million consulting practice including supervision of sales, service delivery, recruiting, human resource management and administration. Prior to serving as the western regional manager, he served as regional manager for SEIs Oak Brook region in the Chicago area.

Mr. Glen has served in many roles including: project manager, product manager, account manager, and programmer. He has been involved in dozens of software development and deployment projects. He has led two startup product teams, launching both hardware and software products to the quick service restaurant industry.
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