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“Can Do” Attitude Dilema

October 7, 2011 2 comments

Every time I see a job offer or a CV with “Can Do Attitude” mentioned I am wondering if I am such a guy too. It is the dilemma I have and I am looking for an answer here.

The problem that I have is where this attitude ends and where one’s experience starts. The experience that tells you what you should not be doing because it’s very likely going to fail. My feeling is that with all the lessons learned I am more and more becoming the “Can’t be done this way” guy. Not that I would be pessimistic, not at all. I am usually very positive, enthusiastic, motivated and I like the work I do. But I do have a tendency to avoid mistakes I saw and search for other ways that have perhaps a better chance of succeeding. I try to learn from mistakes that I or others make. Does this actually make me less valued? A show stopper? After some years and quite some big projects I can smell problems. I can see them sometimes as concrete as a chair I sit on because I have experienced the same few times before while others blindly believe that “can-do” attitude will help to overcome the problem (which – unsurprisingly – often leads to painful failures). For smaller companies which do not have that long history I can even see generations of solutions and yet new problems ahead, because for others who went through it it’s the past already.

So I sometimes feel helpless. I sometimes feel like trying to explain to children that they should enjoy their school-age, because later on in their lives they would love to be able to return to that wonderful naïve and carefree age (I am sorry for those where it does not apply though). There’s no way they can grasp it as there’s no way they can understand the problems adults are facing. I didn’t understand my parents either. And the same goes with corporate experience which makes me feel “old” to be a “can-do” guy in the sense I see around me. More in the sense of irresponsibility, blindness and ignorance. I feel to be more the “parent” guy – using experience to foresee consequences before taking actions.

I don’t want to make an impression of being the “know-it-all” type of a person. I am just honestly wondering how to mix positive attitude and apply experience at the same time, and try to pass on the experience to others as well.

Did experience make you much more problems aware or have you remained easy going enthusiastic easy-goer? If the former, how do you point out problems without being perceived as a skeptic? Anybody?

Categories: EA, Personal

Long Forgotten Inner Motivation

September 1, 2011 1 comment

Having kids is the most amazing (and exhausting) thing in the world. Amongst the myriad of reasons, they make me learn a lot about myself (and umans in generall). And also about the way in which parents trying to raise them up, the environment, society and culture influence children’s innate nature. Here’s one example.

Let the story talk first:

Yesterday:

Yesterday my 3-year-old was dancing at a local summer party. Really cute experience as every one of you parents can imagine. She’s keen in dancing, though of course in this age it only hardly resembles any particular “style”. Without a doubt I was a proud father. Out of nothing DJ announced that a reward will be given out to the best dancer and unsurprisingly, it wasn’t her. The “competition” of older kids was just too strong.

Now I could really see her confusion in her eyes. On one hand, she was dancing as good as she could because she likes it, enjoys it and has fun. And then, there was a natural desire for the reward. Unrelated, as a matter of fact. A really pleasant experience was confused with expectation and disappointment.

Few days ago:

During the lunch I was chatting with few colleagues of mine about raising children, that we don’t have rewards and punishments at home and that we try to give our kids choice and teach them the consequences of their decisions (yes, even this small kids, actually since they were 1-year-old). And I was asked how do I motivate them to do something without a reward.

Today:

With a fellow architect we were kind of complaining about the frustration and rigidity of the people in the company. How they are driven by KPIs, cautiousness, securing the position, complaining about others… in many organizations just the usual.

Junction:

All these three stories have a common denominator – motivation.

Ad story 1: I hate to see when so pure and strong inner motivation to do something is manipulated and screwed with rewards, or even worse, punishments. To me, that’s manipulation, not a motivation. In fact, some studies even proved that external motivation through rewards is counterproductive and changes the motivation from the activity itself to “gaining reward” and lost interest in the original activity.

Ad story 2: How do I motivate kids to do something without a reward? Well, I don’t. If I gave out a reward, they would not be motivated to do the thing but to gain the reward. So why pretend.
[This made me think about Gamification, which could be a way here:)]

Ad story 3: Now linking to the corporate world this exciting existing inner motivation, which can be nicely seen in small kids when they are discovering the world. I have experienced interesting thing. People do have this inner motivation still in them. It’s just hidden under the surface, unwanted, undervalued, perhaps even politically incorrect, not nurtured and not leveraged. But when you touch it, when you ask about it and let them talk, you can see how they lighten up, start to imagine and for once you can see that the true motivation is there. Then you even start to understand why some corporations work better than others.

Just to find a way to bring it together and use it for the common endeavour.

Categories: EA, Personal

The most important decision…

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

What makes Steve’s [Jobs] methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do.

                                                                                [John Sculley On Steve Jobs]

 

I believe more businesses would run better with this in mind. And our jobs of tackling complexity would be much easier too.

Categories: EA, Personal

“We’ve always done it this way”

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I bet you’ve come across this line of argumentation. And this is what I can’t stop thinking whenever I hear it…

Thanks to despair.com for making my day since… yeah, quite some time already. They are simply hilarious.

Categories: EA, Personal

Praise to Prezi

February 4, 2011 Leave a comment

I am quite a “visual” person. I need to see things. I need to draw them for myself, link them, structure them and scrutinize the relationships to get to understand them better. I explain matters by drawing them out too. I’ve tried to use many tools. Starting with pencil & paper, playing around with PowerPoint (and mastering it) and MS Visio (really sucking at it). There was always one thing I missed. I always ended up needing more “paper”. When I develop a thought, eventually I look at it from a greater distance and seeing more things around. Those I need to put on the paper again. And so on and on.

Recently, I discovered Prezi. And this thingy is EXACTLY what I always needed, without realizing it. Yeah, it looks fancy, it looks quite “different”, it’s short on features etc. which I am still not sure whether I like it or not. But the key concept is simply made for me. Infinite space where I can put thoughts, zoom in to work out details, zoom out to put in context & environment and do this on as many “levels” as I need, reshuffle thins easily freely in that thought space is just awesome. I got so much used to the way Prezi works that it sometimes happens to me that I want to use my browser in the same way.

This experience makes me really look forward to the next generation user interfaces.

Categories: Personal