Based on our curriculum in our Masters and Professional programs at UC Berkeley, there are 10 unique principles that I believe can increase the effectiveness of engineering leaders. I’ve authored the following evolving list as a guide for engineering leaders interested in innovation, effective operations, and leadership:
10 Principles of Engineering Leadership
Ikhlaq Sidhu, Chief Scientist,
Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership
Revised March 2, 2012
1. Business Model Innovation is a rich source of opportunity for new business and effective operations. New business creation is actually the search for a new business model, while effective operations depend on measuring the efficiency of a working business model.
2. The role of algorithms, quantitative technologies, and large data sets will increasingly change business models and operations. For example, Google has replaced a direct sales force with a double-sided auction within its business model. This innovation would be unthinkable for any large firm 20 years ago. [Googlenomics, Wired Magazine]
- Question 1: Is the sum greater than the parts for a proposed new project or acquisition due to synergy? Financially, is (i.e., Value [Biz A+B] > Value [Biz A] + Value [Biz B].
- Question 2: What feedback loop makes the model and strategy reinforcing?
- Question 3: Where would you reinvest to build competitive advantage?
6. Engineering leaders understand that build and buy decisions are correlated with changing objectives in a firms evolution: mind share (early stage), market share (growth stage), wallet share (incumbent). [HBS, Rangan]
- For every action, decision, or proposal, consider how much of the intention is to serve yourself (as the individual), your organization (above, below, peers, and self), an industry ecosystem (opportunity for the industry as a whole), or society (the broadest stakeholder). Keep a healthy balance. However, a leader must not allow real or perceived conflicts of interest, which will undermine the leader’s effectiveness.
- Lead by letting go, coaching, allowing healthy conflict, modeling ethics, and having the courage to have honest and difficult conversations from the heart.