As with all other chapters, I start with a slight existential question. Are you regularly invited to report to the board?
Some organisations still think that their CTO’s are IT managers, or a scaled up Developer who can "fix the website”. If you find yourself in any of those organisations, I would strongly advice you to pack your bag and leave, or stay and seek more experience on how to not do it. A CTO is a C-level title.
Yep, sure, many startups uses the C-title and we can spend another chapter on discussing the in’s and out’s of what a CTO is and is not. In some cases the CTO is reporting to the CFO (very bad idea, how can you leverage innovation by looking at cost controlling only?) or the CEO - which takes it on themselves to “carry the word from the IT-manager” to the board.
So much things gets lost in translation. We can agree that most companies has a board and that there are board meetings held, and if the board is discussing future strategy as they maybe should, from my point of view the CTO should have an invitation.
Not only because so many decisions are taken by people who have no clue about technology and how it works, more than their own experience and what others have told them.
It’s a very good idea to have someone who can actually realise things and make it happen. But the single most important reason is that Technology is the core of if not all but most companies today.
So if you have a CTO, get them in that meeting. If you are the CTO, get in to that meeting. If not, your hands will be tied and you'd have to sway to the notions of the CEO. We have all been there.
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