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How to lead like a tech CEO

Agile working, pacey environment, exponential growth... Want to do business the tech way? Executive Coach, ex Google and Eventbrite and CMO Marion Gamel shares the secret sauce in this guest blog.

Marion Gamel is a C-level executive with a background in tech, who coaches leaders all over the world. Marion spoke at Pink Mingo Tech Lessons event and here in this exclusive blog, she shares her insight on how to become more impactful, the tech way.


Most of the leaders I coach want the same thing. To be more impactful.

It all boils down to being more efficient. Producing more revenue, more great hires, more customers, increased employee productivity… without spending more time and money.

Based on my experience working for tech companies over the last 20 years and coaching leaders at Tweeter, Microsoft and smaller tech companies; I have learned 3 magical patterns, which I will share with you here...


The 70/20/10 break down is a way to make sure you spend your time wisely, not getting caught up in time consuming tasks just because they’re time consuming, but because they deserve your time and ensuring that throughout the day, week and month, you give enough focus on all the facets of your job as a leader and not just on emergencies and crisis management.

So what does the 70/20/10 break down mean?

  • 70% of your time is spent doing your job, reaching your approved objectives within the agreed timeframe and budget. If possible, trying to blow your target (because it’s more fun that way!)

  • 20% of your time is spent on innovation, such as testing new approaches, new formats or platforms. Basically trying to find the next amazing way to transform your company.

  • 10% of your time is spent thinking. That’s right, just thinking! Thinking about all you can do to help enable innovation and growth.

Step away from your inbox, because epiphanies rarely come while answering 10 emails per minute!

Some people get ideas while driving, running, listening to inspirational speakers or to music... Find what gets your thoughts going and DO IT!

An easy way to make sure you break down your workload in this way is to use your calendar and colour code how you spend your time.

That way, it becomes easy to see at a glance what percentage of your week has been spent working on the basics (70%), innovating (20%, that’s 1 day per week) and thinking (10%, that’s ½ day per week).


Regardless of your industry or role, you’re adding to your knowledge and skills every day. Make sure you document what you do learn.

Create a diary, with all the great things you want to pass on to others to start creating a toolkit for 'how we do things around here'. Highlight what works well (and how) and report what has been tried but failed (and why).

This toolkit is the foundation for how you want your team to work, think, deploy, implement.

This toolkit is especially useful when you onboard new hires so they can learn quickly about your business’ history, or when your company is expanding into new territories or new offerings so that people in charge of this expansion don’t start with a blank slate and know what to do, in what order, and what outcome they can expect.

It is also a great way to counteract the corporate amnesia that comes with employee attrition..

So why 70/30?

  • 70% is the way we do things around here.

  • 30% is the freedom you’re willing to give to people like new hires so they can bring their fresh perspective and ideas, or to local employees so they can localise the ways of the head quarter to the market they’re focusing on.

Regardless of your industry or role, you’re adding to your learnings and skills every day


The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle or the law of the vital few, states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Many natural phenomena have been shown to exhibit this same distribution and business also submits to this law.

It might sound strange, but I’ve realised along the years that 80/20 is a bit like a magical breakdown that keeps coming back in business, whether digital or traditional.

To find out where you’re experiencing the 80/20 phenomenon, ask yourself this:

  • Does 20% of our marketing spend bring in 80% of the results?

  • Do 20% of customers bring in 80% of our revenue?

  • Does 80% of our innovation recurrently comes from the same 20% of employees?

It usually pays off to watch out for this breakdown in order to understand why it is so, whether it has always been this way, and if it is the same for other companies around yours.

Watching out for this break down means that you become empowered to cut down spend or headcount without cutting down results proportionally. Always handy in business!


So if you, like other leaders I coach, you want to be more impactful and therefore more efficient, and to take your team in this direction, frequently revisit these 3 magical patterns: 70/20/10, 70/30 and 80/20.

They’ll help you analyse how you spend your time, assess possible sources of efficiency and empower your team to think and innovate while never dropping any important ball.

For more information and insights visit

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