List of things I do to keep growing in my career (this is a personal list, take it with a grain of salt). I’ll keep adding items to the list as I find them util.
Every time I join a new team, I try my best to listen more. Be the last to speak, be the first to listen. I am actively engaged in all the conversations looking for the following data:
- Key Partners: People I need to know, People I need to talk.
- Big Goals: Things that the team wants accomplished in the short-mid term.
- Big Troubles: Issues that are preventing the team to move forward at a desired paced. Innovation and growth stoppers.
- Key Processes: How the team makes things happen.
Every time I join a new team, I get an empty notebook and it becomes my personal wiki. In there I keep track of thoughts and ideas that I want to be able to check back later. Some examples are:
- Write down questions about my own understanding of things, consider my answers and add new questions for following meetings.
- Write down key actions during my day that become like a log. This helps me check for patterns and behaviors and their influence in my prioritization.
- Write down ideas/day dreaming. This are done while or after I am having a conversation with someone that inspires my creativity. This is where my ideas are brewed and rehashed over time. Sometimes I’d find the same idea repeated over and over, that means that I might need to give it a try in the real world.
Every time I join a new team, I try to make sure I have questions for my coworkers. Normally the questions I ask shouldn’t be answered if I look for information myself. This are the most common type of questions I ask:
- I ask for more information and where to find it. I am constantly trying to find any gaps in my knowledge about the team dynamics, problem that is being solved and how challenges have been solved in the past. I regularly ask for sources of information instead of ad-hoc opinions, but if there are not sources, an opinion is a good start.
- I ask for more details as the problems to solve grow in complexity. Many times, teams are dealing with high complexity problems and need me to help them solve it. I will ask few mechanical questions for low-complexity tasks. But, when we talk about big rock problems, I would like to have better data about cross-company impact, long-term maintenance, and how we will do customer support. Mostly, the bigger the task the longer the list of questions.
- I ask the same question to multiple people. Some questions are worth to be asked more than once. So I’ll try to ask questions (ie: about processes and key people to know to solve a problem) to every new person I meet. Each conversation is a new piece in the puzzle. I’ve found it is a great way to become one with the team.
Every time I join a new team, I ask for inspiration and information. I am in the hunt for:
- Books: From key authors in the team domain. This format is best for dedicated and focused learning.
- Blogs: From influential people that deal with problems similar to the ones the team has. This is great for week by week refreshing concepts.
- Podcasts: Normally this gets you to ideas and concepts that are in the periphery of the domain that your team is solving.
- Conferences/Meetups/Events: This connects you to the bigger ecosystem that your team is trying to collaborate, compete and serve. Is key to attend this events to understand more about the problems and how are they being solved.