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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews Jamie Sutherland Talks about Leadership Challenges in IT


Permission to Speak

Leadership Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Jamie Sutherland

About Jamie Sutherland:

Jamie Sutherland is the Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder at Sonix where he drives their vision, strategy, and growth. His love for customers is only superseded by his affection for chocolate.  Prior to Sonix, Jamie has been a seasoned software executive and company builder. He led the US expansion for Xero helping the company raise over $250M in capital, reach 700,000 customers, and a $2.5 Billion market cap. Before joining Xero, Jamie was the youngest executive at Sage running its small business unit which became the fastest growing business in North America. He also co-founded a taxi-hailing app called TaxiNow that was subsequently acquired. In his spare time, Jamie can be found surfing, golfing, or picking up toys.


Topics Discussed:

  • Communications is the foundation of human relationships
  • If you can put the communications in a story form, there’s so much more that can be gained from that experience
  • Stories allow us to experience information rather than just consume it
  • The foundation of the internet was the commercialization of storytelling
  • Sonix is a transcription service for audio and video files
  • Machines do the translating and it can transcribe the recording in less time than the actual recording
  • Leadership challenges in technology companies
  • Prioritization is the biggest challenge
  • Need to work on your top 3 priorities at all times, regardless of your level
  • Important to retain key employees, we called them “10X” employees
  • Retaining those key employees depends entirely on the individual employee and their needs and motivations
  • Not at all interested in hiring someone who’s not a team player
  • When someone who was great in their job gets promoted to management, you need to give them the tools to be successful (shadowing, mentoring)
  • Managing expectations of the team, this person’s a new manager
  • External training
  • Keeping up with the unrelenting pace of change is a constant battle
  • Have to stay abreast of what competitors are doing
  • People are such an important part of your business, regardless of size, but especially in a start up
  • People are your most valuable asset, it can’t be forgotten
  • People you know and trust or strong endorsement from someone you trust
  • Don’t think the hiring process has been solved well by anyone
  • More time you spend together, the better able you are to see if it’s a good fit, but no one has time for that
  • People who are high performers want to work with people who are high performers
  • It’s always a pleasant surprise of how helpful users are in giving feedback, they do it on their own, without being compensated for it! They’re very engaged and helpful!
  • To learn more about the transcription products at Sonix visit Sonix.ai

Questions Answered:

What are the biggest leadership challenges for technology companies?

How do leadership challenges vary from startups to large organizations?

How can we do a better job of hiring?

How should be take care of our top performers?