Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

Bring your ‘A’ game

without comments

My passion is to engage. I am at my best both personally and professionally when I’m able to confront a situation and engage the people around me. I can then understand the goals they’re trying to achieve, explore the impediments they feel they’re facing, and collaboratively find solutions. Usually, these are not only acceptable to everybody, but exceed the hopes of the individuals. I’ve not only found a solution, I’ve shown people an example that more is possible, and that they shouldn’t have to settle.

That’s my ‘A’ game, and I’m not talking about a grade. I’m talking about the affective learning domain, and how it’s equally important as the cognitive domain [1]. When people talk about being passionate about what they do, they’re talking about having achieved engagement at an emotional level. This engagement is what drives my effectiveness. When I’m engaged, I’m much more capable of understanding the way others are feeling, and I’m able to intuitively match the situation and their concerns against the many mental models I’ve collected over the years. Even better, the people I’m engaged with are more likely to be engaged because they can feed off my engagement. These are the experiences when the most fascinating things happen, the biggest audacious goals are defined, and the world gets changed (at least in small ways).

There’s one big problem, though: It’s fragile. It’s extremely easy to knock a group out of this type of zone. All it takes is one person whining about expenses, or the waitress bringing the wrong beer, or a manager walking into the room with an “We’ve got a problem” look on her face. Please, please, don’t be that guy [2]. Team-level flow is slightly more resilient than individual flow, but it’s less able to ignore the context. As a manager, this is one of your jobs. As a team member, it’s your job too. Ditto ScrumMaster, product owner, and everybody else. Protect your environment, take care of the emotional state of your colleagues, and otherwise design the proper environment for the team to engage without distraction.

[1] Referencing Bloom’s learning domains. There’s also a psychomotor domain that deals with imprinting physical and repetitive behaviors, this is something I should write about after my next code retreat.

[2] Although, there’s not much you can do about last call, really. Learn to stack.

[edit] Forcing a feed update… playing with the blog ;)

Written by erwilleke

January 30th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply