Sunday, August 1, 2010

Being Numero Uno!

Half a decade into the technology industry, primarily software development, and post working on varied nature projects, with some of the most diligent and unswerving programmers I ever came across, this intends to be a succinct summary of what in essence could assist in being the numero uno in the surroundings we live in. Even though some slices of this post relates to the Information Technology landscape, this could easily map to any other industry or sector you recognize.

Irrespective of the organizations I worked for, there always were few elite professionals that stood apart right from the inception. It was surprising to observe that they just excelled at a quantum pace while all others seem to have had trouble placing their foot in place. There were some common characteristics that could be discovered from their conduct and their supremacy in their relevant world.

Listed below are some of the base (deriving from my programming background in OOPS) characteristics that I came across which might propel you to the right track of being the chosen one (the Matrix effect):

  • Professionally yours: If you are one of the types who choose to dabble into the tasks assigned, you will wind up with a dabbled life. There'll be no satisfaction in it because there will be no real production you can be proud of. Society does not emphasize the importance of professionalism, so people tend to believe that amateur work is normal. Even businesses accept sub-standard results, but that shouldn’t ever be consumed as an excuse for being unprofessional in whatever you do. Our professional careers are a long and the most significant journey of our lives. Think twice before compromising on the output you contribute, the impact could be everlasting!

  • Evaluate feasibility not possibility: A common behavior exhibited by most software developers is to jump straight into the problem domain and declare or decide on its possibility. The elite are seldom concerned about the possibility of the solutions. Their seasoned experience and confidence allows them to leverage that advantage. What sets them apart is the ability to peek into the future and evaluate the scenarios that may curtail future existence of the business domain they are working in and contributing to. A practice that every software developer must inculcate is to consider himself/herself as a consultant and not an ordinary employee of an organization. Irrespective of the role you play, expand your horizon by placing yourself as a consultant to the client, the results would mostly be positive and obvious.

  • Context switching abilities: No matter where you work, and irrespective of the size of the team and the environment you are in, the key to understanding and infusing trust and confidence among fellow developer colleagues is to put yourself into their shoes before even distantly deciding to criticize their actions or doings. Very few amongst us have this unique and most wanted characteristic of being able to switch contexts and place ourselves in other’s place before deciding on issues relating to them. Conveying a mistake is way dissimilar than blaming it upon and most of the elite people I come across had a chiseled way of conveying the mistakes I kept constructing and it was more of learning than embarrassment.

  • Passion is the key: Long term success or real success is hard to achieve than short term or virtual success. And there is a very simple and almost overlooked reason for that. There are difficult times in the journey to real success when you feel like you are working for nothing, that you don’t get anything in return for all your effort. In such difficult times, only passion can keep you moving forward! The beauty of being passionate about the things you do is that it will show up in your work without you having to put that extra tiring effort.

  • Clearly defined goals: A pre-requisite to success and an omnipresent quality in the elite group of people, clear goals ensure and increase the chances to succeed by manifolds. Its importance can never be over-emphasized. While most of us compromise for short term goals, it is surprising to note that the top-notch pros compromise and adjust keeping in view the primary long term ones.

All of us have an innate desire to succeed and lead the space we exist in, either professionally or personally and the list above could well contribute in focusing on the more relevant spheres leading to our relevant destinations.

The motivation for this post came from a very small and surprisingly truthful and influential quote I read on success, which for me, answered approximately 90% of the questions I had left unanswered to myself:

“deserve before you desire!”