Time management: A key tip for rising IT leaders

Effective leaders make the most of what time they have. Rainforest's CIO shares his experience.
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time management tips

[Editor's note: As part of our new series in which IT leaders share the best advice they've ever been given, Derek Choy, CIO of Rainforest QA, explains how his director helped him re-think leadership.]

The best leadership advice I was ever given was to remember that no one ever has enough time to do everything they want. Prioritizing based on the value you bring to the business is always the most important responsibility.

This advice from my director during my first managerial role has been applicable to my career throughout each stage of growth.

Taking the advice to heart

Receiving this advice was the "aha" moment that allowed me to transition my focus away from individual contribution and towards leadership. It’s all about realizing what amount of value you’re bringing each day.

As an individual contributor, I could only complete the work of a very hard working engineer. As a manager, I can produce five times that amount by making sure everyone on my team gives 100 percent. As the size of the team continues to scale, that output becomes enormous.

In many ways, sticking to this principle is what led me to my current CIO position. I understand that my role is vital to the work of so many others at our company. Now, just as when I was a first-time manager, I recall the core job I was hired for and prioritize the work that speaks most clearly to that objective.

[ Is your calendar out of control? Read our related story: 5 time thieves and how to beat them. ] 

Derek Choy is responsible for driving product and technical innovation and scaling Rainforest’s globally distributed engineering, product and professional services teams. Before joining Rainforest, Choy was vice president of engineering for Aria Systems, scaling a similarly distributed engineering team by 10X, which supported revenue growth of more than 20X.

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