Should you get a CTO advisor when you accept the job offer of promotion to CTO?
“I’m worried they’ll think I’m rubbish at my job, if I ask for a CTO advisor 3 months into the job, but I’d really like to work with you”
— is what I hear over and over again from CTOs who just joined or got promoted to CTO or VPE or HoE within a company.
By the time they get to 9–18 months in the role, the problem becomes really pressing!!
✓ join a company as CTO and you have to manage people as part of the role, ask for an advisor as part of your conditions of joining the business
✓ are promoted to VP Engineering or CTO and yesterday you were Lead Developer or Engineering Manager — as a part of the promotion, ask for an advisor
✓ when you join as a sole coder with a CTO job title, say that as soon as you start managing people, you’ll need an advisor.
Conversely, if you are the CEO of a company, please offer your CTO and CPO or VPP or VPE an advisor as part of the job offer or part of the promotion!
I was talking with the CEO of a company a few years ago who knew I knew their CTO from previous roles.
The CEO said:
“I’d like to offer him an advisor but I don’t want to offend him”.
The CTO in the same company would tell me:
“I’d love an advisor but I’m scared to ask as I just joined 3 months ago and I don’t want them to think I’m incompetent.”
In the end I had to tell them:
“Talk to each other about this. You’ll discover you both want the same thing!”
Have you ever considered asking for an advisor as part of accepting a CTO/VPE/HoE job offer?
What stops you from asking for an advisor as part of an offer for a promotion from Lead Engineer to VPE?