The Problem with Being the Only One Who Can Solve the Problem





Meet Joshua Walsky. He was co-founder and CTO of Broadway Technology and came up during the dot com boom. Now he’s a Talentism coach, guiding the next generation of founders.

If you’ve worked in tech, you’ve probably met someone like Joshua. Exceedingly smart, exceedingly talented, and digging an exceedingly big hole for himself…

Like many technical leaders, his views on management have evolved dramatically since his early days as a software engineer. He used to believe that he was the one who should solve the problems so others could focus on execution. Through coaching, he came to understand the unseen cost of failing to create space for emerging engineers to get reps solving problems themselves. By unwittingly under-investing in developing his reports, he “borrowed against the future”.

Joshua devoted nearly 20 years to building Broadway’s offering and a team of 230+ people spanning five continents. He also helped raise $42M in strategic minority funding to accelerate growth and eventually negotiated the sale of Broadway.

In this episode, Joshua describes a painfully common pitfall in management – unknowingly limiting the development of your people – in a way we’d never heard before. Whether you are managing or the one being managed, we hope Joshua’s story unlocks learning for you too.

  • 12:21  “There are some of those things that make one excel at engineering that actually become problematic when you start trying to manage people.”
  • 17:04  “I think managers often face this choice: Should I do it? Should I tell them how to do it? Or should I let them figure out how to do it on their own?”
  • 22:07  “I’d stopped coding ages ago. But what I hadn’t let go of was I’m the one to solve the problem.”
  • 25:40  Joshua’s coach helped him observe the system he was perpetuating and the short and long term impact. He came to understand where he had agency as a manager and leader of the org.
  • 29:20  Recognize your company has, “…the opportunity to be able to do more…” but it may be because others are excelling.

Transcript of this episode available here

Note about this episode: 

We love the ideas Joshua shares here. There are parts of this episode, however, where we don’t love the sound quality. In the spirit of not letting perfect be the enemy of good, we wanted to share this episode because Joshua’s words are so powerful.

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