By: Maddie Russo from our partner, 31 Marketplace podcast team
Software is pervasive in our world and only becomes more so as technology advances. Yet, despite its fundamental role in our businesses and day-to-day, there has been no standard to measure technological maturity and health.
That is, until now.
So, how do companies actually know if they’re measuring up with their technological health and maturity? How do they evaluate the performance of their IT leadership through an objective lens?
On The Widest Net Podcast, Pam interviewed Emad Georgy, CTO of Georgy Technology Leadership and the creator of the first global standard to determine technology health, has the answer. Emad joined Pam to discuss how companies can implement this new tool to make sure they’re fostering successful technological landscapes, both from a software and people perspective.
Emad Georgy has been interested in computers ever since he can remember.
When Emad was 11 or 12, his parents bought him a beat-up old computer to tinker with. That summer, he barricaded himself in his room for a week and came out having coded his first game.
“It just clicked,” he said.
Working in the tech sector full-time starting in high school, Emad knew it was his calling: “I’ve been working in the tech space ever since. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
A Finely Tuned Strategic Lens
Along with being fascinated by computers, Emad has always had a love of learning in general. As a kid, he developed a passion for literature, philosophy, and creative writing, among other disciplines.
As he started and matured in his career, Emad applied this curiosity to his professional life. He was always interested in learning about other roles at the company, seeking to understand the impact his code was making, how other teams functioned day-to-day, the unique language different teams used to communicate, and how everything connected to form the overall organization, what he terms the “connective tissue” between teams. Often regarded with confusion when trying to immerse himself in roles beyond the direct scope of his work, Emad realized how siloed most companies were and how it exacerbated common technological problems. Emad’s big-picture approach allowed him to develop a finely tuned strategic lens for building models.
When he landed his first CTO job, one of the first things Emad noticed was that he had no way to figure out whether or not he was doing a good job. Those standards for measurement just didn’t exist. He began building a standard to evaluate his own performance, which he’s carried with him for 20+ years through every project he’s ever done.
“I iterated on it,” he said. “And I just fueled it with lessons learned from execution.”
The G Technology Health Score
That personal standard eventually became the G-Technology Health™, a product that empowers IT leaders to gain a big-picture view of the strengths and gaps in their technology stack and leadership. The G-Technology Health™ serves as the foundation of Georgy’s company, Georgy Technology Leadership.
For tech teams and their business partners, the G-Technology Health™ is a “quantifiable NorthStar” they can use to locate themselves within the tech maturity landscape. Emad likens it to his favorite sport: basketball. In basketball, there’s no question about which team won or lost or why the game shook out that way; there is a clear score and stats to support that outcome. These metrics are the same across all teams so that everyone is measured in the same way.
That’s exactly what Emad wanted for the tech space. A universal scoring model leaves no room for interpretation regarding how well someone is performing or how the company is stacking up compared to others in the marketplace.
The G-Technology Health™ Score is a patent pending score model similar to a credit score that holistically takes into account all aspects influencing technological success, including:
- Past technology decisions.
- The product roadmap.
- How the team prioritizes work.
- How the team determines the right projects to work on/if they’re solving the right problems for their customers.
- People and talent.
Once they’ve calculated their scores, tech leadership and their teams will have a true understanding of areas for improvement and can walk away with an actionable roadmap to address these specific gaps.
Along with objective insight into performance, the G-Technology Health™ is beneficial because it’s a shared language that executives can easily understand without getting into the nitty gritty of the technology itself. It also helps companies set clearly defined and easily measurable goals – for example, increasing their score by 30% over the next year.
“Technical debt” refers to all the mistakes, intentional or inadvertent, that build up over time and cause software to perform poorly to the point that it eventually has to be rewritten. All technical debt comes down to a much more serious problem: leadership debt.
Emad has seen leadership debt skyrocket in the last couple years since the COVID pandemic began as more and more companies promote internal candidates due to worker shortages and a desire to retain their talent. The problem is that many employees are pushed into leadership roles before they’re truly ready and have the necessary experience to problem-solve in a strategic way.
G-Technology Health™ Leadership is playing an active role in paying down this leadership debt and building better leaders in tech. Along with evaluating a company’s technology stack, G-Technology Health™ provides an objective, data-driven lens to evaluate and improve on leadership performance.
“Technology is one of the most impactful areas and industries in our world. And yet, we suffer so much from a lack of leadership,” said Emad. “Everyone’s got a nightmare story about a technology leader in the past.”
Unique Considerations for Leaders in Tech
While general leadership principles apply to all types of leaders, there are some special considerations for leaders in tech that the G-Technology Health™ Score takes into account.
Georgy Technology Leadership helps IT leaders map some of the generic leadership training they’ve received to real-world situations they experience every day. For example, accountability training is essential, but what does that actually look like in practice? Who is accountable for what? How does one evaluate if they’re doing a good job at accountability?
Tech experts are often also impacted by negative “techie” stereotypes as they move up the ranks, labeled as socially inept and told that they need to become more of a “people person” if they expect to become CTO one day. However, Emad encourages IT professionals to resist falling into these stereotypes. While of course being able to connect with and manage people is an essential leadership skill, tech leaders should also “hold on to that engineering mentality” and embrace the skills that got them to where they are in the first place.
“That is your role. Your role is actually to build things that scale and grow over time,” said Emad. “And so, what I coach people on when they grow into these positions is you got to hold on to that. You got to hold on to that engineering mentality, because we so desperately need it. […] You need to be the one that is pushing for the root cause.”
An engineering mentality revolves around a strong ability to problem-solve, leveraging data in relentless pursuit to get to the root cause. In other words, our tech leadership are the ones that ask other leadership to “prove it.”
“Let’s dig in and ask ‘why’ and actually prove it to ourselves. And by the way, I can go on and on about those two words – prove it – which I think are sorely needed in business today, like the two most powerful words you can say in a meeting,” said Emad.
Demanding proof ultimately ensures teams are focused on the right problems, that they’re allocating their limited time and capacity toward the projects that are really going to help their customers and push the business forward. Without them, it’s easy to continue throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks – and nobody has the time or resources for that.
The Future of Scoring Models
A passionate and ever-curious person, Emad doesn’t plan to just stop here with the G-Technology Health™ Score. He sees many ways the general principle and playbook behind the score could be expanded and customized to other mission-critical industries that are lacking standard performance evaluation criteria, such as healthcare, politics, finance, and voting systems.
“I envision that we’re going to become a global standard by industry,” said Emad. “We have the vehicle for it, the model for it. We have a whole ecosystem for it. We have the execution knowledge for it.”
Ultimately, having standard performance evaluation measures in place across industries and roles empowers everyone to work better together and for each other. When we understand exactly what the challenges are and what needs to be improved, we perform more efficiently and better meet the needs of our customers .
Emad’s model is an example of creating a method and tool that becomes a useful product in a service-based business, which allows the company to scale beyond the confines of direct consulting hours.
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