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Lead with a Growth Mindset: Navigate Change with Gary Tamber

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The key takeaways from Gary Tamber’s multifaceted approach to leadership aim to serve as your navigational guide. Designed to be both comprehensive and practical, these takeaways touch on vital topics that resonate with professionals at every level of leadership in the DevOps space.

From redefining success and handling organizational transformation, to mastering the soft skills that are often underemphasized in technical domains, these key insights offer a rounded perspective on what modern DevOps leadership entails. You’ll also find specific strategies for fostering a resilient team culture, remaining agile in a fast-paced tech environment, and implementing customer-focused innovation.

Whether you’re wrestling with internal politics during a digital transformation, seeking effective mentoring techniques, or grappling with the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity, this compendium offers actionable guidance.

Success and Leadership: The Human Elements

Success for Gary Tamber has evolved from a focus on achievements to a more nuanced construct that includes personal well-being, purpose, and collective goals. In parallel, the role of a leader is also evolving, from a top-down commander to an enabler who acts as the glue within a team. This dual lens on success and leadership provides a more holistic view, where both personal and collective objectives are important.

Mindset and Personal Growth: Navigating Change

Gary’s philosophy, encapsulated in his “Go with the Flow” article, addresses the pivotal role of mindset in managing change. His background as an engineer and a programmer leads him to view the human mind as akin to software—programmable and reprogrammable. Just as debugging can resolve issues in a codebase, confronting and altering limiting beliefs can change one’s response to challenges. In doing so, failure is not a setback but a stepping stone to growth.

Transitioning Roles and Authenticity: From Expert to Leader

Transitioning from a technical role to a leadership position presents its own unique set of challenges. This is especially relevant in DevOps, where technical experts suddenly find themselves managing teams rather than code. Gary highlights that the pride once derived from individual technical mastery must be redirected towards facilitating team success. The measuring stick for success fundamentally shifts, and a new skill set centered on people management comes into focus.

Security and Talent Management: Keeping Up in a Fast-Paced World

While security may be an afterthought for some organizations, it is fast becoming a core focus area. Gary emphasizes that catching up on security gaps is not just a tactical move but a strategic imperative. Talent acquisition and retention, on the other hand, remain as challenging as ever. To stay competitive, Gary advises aspiring DevOps leaders to continue learning and stay aligned with industry changes.

The Mentorship Cycle: Giving and Receiving

Gary finds mentoring a rewarding experience, emphasizing that the act of guiding younger engineers is a cycle of mutual benefit. He finds that guiding younger engineers offers a sense of fulfillment that can even turn a bad day around. The wisdom imparted doesn’t just shape future leaders; it also invigorates the mentors themselves.

Perseverance and Tactical Pauses: The Long Game

Careers, particularly in dynamic fields like DevOps, are a roller-coaster of highs and lows. Gary highlights that the key to perseverance is understanding your ‘why’ or the core purpose that drives your actions. When challenges arise, taking a tactical pause to step back and gain fresh perspectives can offer new solutions and pathways forward.

Technological Transformation: An Ongoing Commitment

Global spending on digital transformations underscores the urgency and significance of technological change. The adoption of new technologies like cloud computing, DevOps, and AI are not merely operational shifts; they are redefining business models. Gary insists that digital transformation is an ongoing initiative, requiring continuous investment in both technology and talent.

Sustaining Transformation: The Aftermath and Beyond

Digital transformation is not a one-off project with a defined end-date; it’s an ongoing commitment to adapt and evolve. Gary highlights that the skills acquired during these transformative phases will not become obsolete but will continue to be critical assets for the organization and the employees.

Navigating Organizational Complexities: Politics and Customer Focus

Transformations often face internal friction due to politics and resistance to change. Gary recommends realigning with the foundational objectives of the business and fostering a culture of open dialogue to smooth out these challenges. Importantly, he advises keeping a customer-centric approach in all discussions, as customer experience is the ultimate goal of any organizational transformation.

Career Pathways for Aspiring Leaders: Clarity and Preparedness

For those aspiring to leadership roles in DevOps and related fields, Gary suggests having a clear focus and a mapped-out career path. A commitment to continuous learning, coupled with a ‘fail fast, fail early’ attitude, can serve as an effective strategy to reach one’s career aspirations.


From mastering the human equation of team dynamics to steering the ship through the murky waters of digital transformation and cyber risk, these key insights are your secret weapon for turning the volatile tides of change to your advantage. If you’re ready to catapult your leadership from good to extraordinary, to ignite a cultural shift within your team and organization, then this is the roadmap you’ve been waiting for. Brace yourself for a journey that could redefine your approach to DevOps leadership and prepare you to conquer uncharted challenges with newfound confidence and strategic prowess.

DASA DevOps Leader

Helps leaders understand leadership in the context of DevOps, discusses leadership development models, building teams, and transforming the organisation.

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