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Leadership Coaching

Technology is a Creative Endeavour

I work with a large number of technologists, I build a lead teams working at significant global scale, solving problems with technology.

If you are outside of this world, it’s easy to get lost. Why is it so hard? What’s going on? Why does it take so long?

The exciting thing about technologists, and about software, is that they are constantly involved in a creative endeavour. It’s a cross between science and art, with a whole load of emotional and personal considerations thrown into the mix.

Think about how hard it can be to build a house. A dozen trades, maybe more. They follow a plan, but flex from it when difficulties arise. It’s creating something from nothing, but you’re probably following a pretty standard path. You know houses, you can see them. They’ll be used by a well known number of people, in a standard way. It’s pretty predictable, but there are still difficulties, overruns and variations from the plan.

When we’re building software, we have some of that certainty, but not the majority. We may not be sure what the problem is we’re solving. Will it be used by ten people or ten million? Who’s going to try and break it, and what if we get half-way done and decide to do something else?

If you are leading a tech team for the first team, part of a digital transformation or an agile experiment, it can be bewildering. Engineers, computers and logic suggest predictability, certainty and rigid planning.

Instead, stop and reflect. If it’s worth creating a new technologic solution, then it’s novel, unique and new. You can’t plan to the day, but you must let the creative process occur. Set goals, go after outcomes. Figure out ways to launch early to learn, then course correct.

Don’t look for perfect. No art is perfect. It’s done, and it’s out in the world, changing people and bringing joy.

Set expectations like this, and you’ll be an exceptional technical leader. You’ll empower people, bring real change to the world and never waste time search for misplaced certainty.

Categories
Coaching Leadership

It’s Never Just Business

What you do defines who you are. The actions you take and the options you choose are the things that define your shape in the world.

If you are ever in a situation where you are considering saying “It’s Just Business”, then take a moment and think about why you are about to do this.

When you remove yourself from the discussion in this way, then you are often attempting to shift responsibility for something away from yourself. You are suggesting that this third party, the impartial arbiter, this other, “business” is responsible, where you are not.

This is probably an emotional or difficult moment, so you may not be able to course correct in the flow the first time you notice it. If not, you can pick-up after the conversation and reflect later.

There is an emotional, personal connection in all relationships, no matter how professional they may be. If you can recognise this then you can empathise with the other person in the conversation and build a more meaningful relationship, even if the news you are delivering is hard to hear or likely to disappoint them.

Don’t let it be Just Business, own your actions and you’ll be a better leader, and a better person.

Categories
Coaching

Knowing your worth

It’s very easy to undersell your particular skills, abilities and experience. It’s something that any of us can struggle with, as we lose perspective on our unique potential to contribute.

This is something that you can recognise, and combat with practice. Consider this really simple exercise. Think about something that you find easy to do. Ideally, find something that other people are impressed by, a skill that you gain recognition from. Maybe it’s something like baking, or something from the corporate world, like chairing a great meeting.

Now think about this easy thing. Reflect on how long you’ve been doing it. Times it’s gone well, experiences from the past that were less successful than you are now. Think back on your journey in this area.

How much effort has it taken to build this skill up so it’s easy to you? If you’ve been honest with yourself, then it’s likely to have taken a significant amount of learning to reach this point and probably some mis-steps along the way.

When you recognise all of this, then you’ll see why this easy skill is anything but easy. You’ll start to understand why people recognise you for your ability and you’ll be able to fairly value your experience.

If you want to explore your own unique skills and know your true worth, then book a conversation now to gain this understanding.

Categories
Coaching

Imagine your bio

Thirty words, fifty if you are lucky, that’s what you get to highlight your achievements and to share your expertise.

What is yours going to look like?

It’s a great exercise to write the bio for your future self. It lets you formulate your goals in a fresh way, condensing them into a tight and succinct set of highlights.

You can share your most important values, the changes you are most committed to making or the impact that’s your major success.

The limits are important. By paring back to the core, you must focus on what is truly most significant, the change you want to see.

This can be done in less than an hour, so take the time on a quiet afternoon and imagine your bio.