On Debugging an Organization


mathias meyer headshot
Mathias Meyer

Executive Leadership Coach and Advisor at The Intentional Organization

Episode notes

How do you debug an organization and find the right frameworks to keep running successfully? Maybe you need to focus on specific items to bring change, or maybe you need to experiment with different approaches and frameworks to find the answers?

In this episode, Jenny speaks with Mathias Mayer, an engineer turned founder, former CEO at Travis CI, and CTO at Reaction Commerce. He worked both on the organization and himself to become an empathic leader with a servant and a growth mindset. He explains how he approached problem-solving with his team at Reaction Commerce, plus when to track and not to track key organizational metrics.

Listen in to learn the importance of getting qualitative feedback from your customers than the quantitative feedback you only get from tracking metrics. You will also learn how to be curious and patient to better transition into a management role as an engineer.

As a manager, your goal should be consistency, and you can’t have consistency if you don’t write stuff down.” — Mathias [50:20]

Show notes

  • [0:58] Intro
  • [2:25] Mathias defines his career journey from freelancing as an engineer to leadership roles.
  • [8:47] The meaning of the CTO role in a tech company and how Mathias personalized the role at Reaction Commerce.
  • [12:46] The top four things Mathias noticed needed to change when he first joined Reaction Commerce as CTO.
  • [17:19] The proposal he created for his team to enable them to understand problems and find solutions.
  • [28:41] How he experimented with KPIs over OKRs and the difference he encountered between the two goal-setting frameworks.
  • [31:19] The metrics he tracked with his engineering team and how the lack of the right tooling prevented them from getting the expected results.
  • [36:39] Understanding what metrics tell you and what they don’t tell you about performance.
  • [40:12] Why he focuses on having adjustable long-term goals and plans that his team can work on.
  • [46:06] Mathias on why he appreciated team openness at Reaction Commerce.
  • [48:00] Learn to have curiosity and patience for a smooth transitioning from engineering to management.

Book mentioned

  • Accelerate by Gene Kim

About our guest:

mathias meyer headshot
Mathias Meyer

Executive Leadership Coach and Advisor

Mathias is an executive leadership coach and advisor to founders and CTOs. He started his career as an engineer who was mostly good at debugging and fixing production code and keeping things up and running. Over the years as an engineer, he also built up an interest in company culture, organization behaviours and psychology, and what it means to build companies where great products come first and foremost from people who are nurtured, supported, and able to contribute broadly.

Additional resources