AGP Ep 12: John Smilek—Getting the best from ASD in IT, both challenges and superpowers
John Smilek had a difficult childhood, and Aspergers on top of that. But John’s eye-opening experiences early in life lead to a positive outlook and a passion for personal development. John is now the CIO of Streamline Products and an active champion for the development of young people in the community.
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John is very passionate about dynamic and flexible workplaces, referencing:
- Ricardo Semler and Semco Partners
- Semler (CEO) spends time lifting up and empowering staff personally.
- Staff run the business how they want to. Very flexible.
- Staff feel a strong sense of purpose. They feel like they’re contributing to a vision.
- Staff have been offered up to 400% more money elsewhere. But they don’t leave.
- Semler received a plaque from his staff for: 10 years without making a decision. He was very proud.
- More information on the leadership style of SemCo
- Please subscribe, comment, share and review the episodes, it will make a big difference to our ability to continue with these. Thank you!
- Music by David Cutter
- Learning how to lead despite limitations
- Balancing ego and humility
- The importance of self-awareness and self-reflection
- Dealing with difficult people and rising above
- The importance of empowering your staff to make decisions
- 0:34 Would you say you have a passion for learning? Or technology? Or both?
- 1:49 What drew you to leadership?
- 10:52 What do you see the role of a leader is, specially in technology?
- 13:29 Could you tell us an example of when you guided a business towards the future?
- 18:31 Is that a conscious decision to work with SMEs instead of larger organizations?
- 19:50 Do you think you learned about leadership through your teaching or you taught what you learned in business?
- 24:05 Do you think you felt supported while teaching leadership to young people to make mistakes and learn
- 33:13 How do you deal with people when you argue on a logical level but they don’t?
- 41:06 How do you think about autism?
- 58:40 How do you think about motivating people?
- 1:00:58 Has that bigger purpose been with you all your life? Or is it something you had to develop?
- 1:07:11 How important is connecting people to the role of a CIO?
- 1:17:45 Do you see your role as a storyteller
- 1:20 “People probably are the most complex thing that I have to understand” —John Smilek
- 11:15 “To be a leader is to be an engine of change” —John Smilek
- 11:32 “There is a mistake that a lot of boards in a lot of companies make: they do not perceive technology as part of the business, but they see it as an independent unit outside of the business” —John Smilek
- 25:10 “I was willing to change and grow and be the person I needed to be for the organizations I was part of to succeed” —John Smilek
- 54:05 “You need the ego to lead, but you need the humility to back out, go behind the scenes and let others run the company” —John Smilek
- 54:32 “The more control we have the more we feel we mitigated risk, but often time we increase risk because we stifle innovation and creativity” —Andrew Ramsden
- 1:00:4 “You don’t have to be a ‘Martin Luther King’, but you can do small things with the people you deal with everyday and that will impact their lives” —John Smilek
- 1:02:13 “I don’t treat management any different from how I treat house staff. I see them equally” —John Smilek
- 1:07:30 “a CIO needs to be the bridge that brings all different departments together and bring clarity and transparency about what he does” —John Smilek
- 1:10:22 “A good CIO would understand the business better than any other department head, because technology affects everyone in the company, even customers!” —John Smilek