CIO Spotlight: Carl Froggett, Deep Instinct

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? “Act like you’re already in the next position you aspire to be in. Do that by understanding your values and style and observe leaders/people who are already in that position or similar.”

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Take the high road. Collective failures often turn into blame, and it’s easy to get into the tit for tat blame game. We naturally get defensive if someone points out a mistake or disagrees with us.  But rise above that – keep the focus on the objective. This can be a tough one to practice, but it will be best for both your company and you.

Own your mistakes – and those of your team. Save time and energy and just own up to any failings so you can get on with addressing them and improving things.

And at the same time, always celebrate success, both individually and as a team.

Be ready to adapt your style depending on the situation. Everyone has a default style, but not all leadership situations will work in all scenarios. I’m naturally very chatty and gregarious, but if it’s a serious situation, I’ll tell everyone in uncertain terms to cut the chatter and get down to business.

Finally, it’s always good to have a ‘heads up’ approach – the little side project or activity that can lead to significant opportunity. Again looking back to the best advice I received, be ready to open the door if opportunity knocks. And don’t be scared – you can always learn something new.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Being able to look at the many people who I led, trained, mentored, provided with an opportunity,  and seeing where they are now. Knowing I played a small part in their success make me proud.  My Dad was a teacher, he would often talk with pride about the children in his classroom and where they are now – I think it must be in the blood.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I have no particular regrets. It’s always good to learn from mistakes, but I avoid second guessing and “what if?” thinking because it isn’t productive for your mental well-being. No one can ever see all the possible outcomes of any change or choice, so it isn’t worth dwelling on them.

What are you reading now? Podcasts! I regularly read and listen to all sorts of news and journals of what is happening in the world, which are very useful for when driving or travelling. Specific to the industry – I’m fortunate to have access to many great partners and customers, so everyday I’m learning and understanding that practical aspect of cyber. We also have a great internal threat team, so I consume everything that they share. I’m currently focused on DevOps – being in a start-up there are new areas like this that were not a focus of mine previously, so I’m learning from my new colleagues, and reading the Innovators Solution/Dilemma by Clayton Christensen, Crossing the Chasm (again), and Team of Teams (my well-worn copy!) and learning all the aspects of the business.

Most people don't know that I… For some unknown reason loved playing pool and snooker from an early age. I would play using marbles and cups on the floor until my parents got a child sized pool table that rested on top of another table. From then I would play with my neighbour at any time we could. I captained the University pool team to a win, and from that early age always wanted a professional pool table, a goal which I recently accomplished – it’s never too late! No, I’m not that good – so no challenges!

In my spare time, I like to…Disconnect, workout at the local gym, go cycling, go support my children at events, spend time travelling and visiting family and friends. Life is very rich and complete if you surround yourself with good family, friends, and neighbours – there are some things you cannot buy.

Ask me to do anything but… Sing karaoke or act!

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