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Is the #FullStackExecutive a good thing?

By WorkBook6

By JT Benton

The #FullStackExecutive – if you haven’t seen it already, here it is. Seth Besmertnik’s article on Conductor’s website garnered a lot of attention. I’ve seen it on Twitter and Facebook, it’s been all over LinkedIn, and has now been emailed to me twice. So, yeah, it’s a thing.

In the article, Seth talks about the emergence of a new kind of leader – the “#FullStackExecutive” – who is effectively efficient in every area of the business. The FSE can pitch the sales deck, give development feedback, speak to sprint progressions and work with the finance team. Write content and decipher API documentation. Run a CRM report and conduct deal diligence. So, basically, a Swiss army knife sort of person at work.

So here’s the deal.

Everyone is going to say they’re a full stack executive. Doers. Roll-up-the-sleevers. Suck-it-up-and-dealers. We’re all FSEs! And no doubt it’s largely true – folks today are far more versatile than ever before.

But How is the #FullStackExecutive even possible?

Technology makes this possible – but so do the working environments we chose. This is good, right? Probably most of the time.

But what about the other side of this? I mean, this article is certainly sharable content, but is a workforce staffed primarily of multi-dimensional doers always a good thing? What happens when the software engineer blows a deal because she didn’t have the same training as the BD lead?

Or, as we saw recently, what do you do when the finance executive talks your client out of an engagement by pitching a SaaS model when a revenue share structure would make everyone more money?

Or, when a not-to-be-named CTO from years past insisted on being involved in, like, everything the business did? Weren’t these folks just “full-stacking” it?

Just to clear up confusion, there’s no doubt that broadly skilled beats a silo-ed expert most days. At WorkBook6, we’re stocked to the gills with super-talented folks like this – and we deploy them well beyond the areas their titles might suggest.

And while I certainly wouldn’t change that fact, I think each of us would admit to the occasional shortfall. We get distracted. We lose efficiency within our primary area of responsibility. And we drive one another nuts on occasion. Okay – I drive everyone nuts on lots of occasions.

My Life as a #FullStackExecutive

I love to write. And have all kinds of content ideas to share. But our VP of Marketing says I use too many commas. (I think, he’s just being, you know, kind of, well, ticky tacky, you know what I mean?) Our operational leader – my partner – becomes multi-colored when I derail meetings to allow for certain things to be further explored.

I bring random furniture to the office to be ‘helpful’ – but I really undermine the space’s flow which was actually the result of a lot of work. I suggest completely useless technical concepts which overcomplicate the business.

Helpful? Maybe. #FullStackExecutive? You betcha!

Now it’s your turn – tell me your greatest FSE challenges. Or better yet – tell me how I can overcome mine.


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