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New Year, New You

Posted by Jason Collins on
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It’s 2012.  Everyone typically has great intentions this time of the year in putting foot to pavement and nailing down some concrete resolutions; things they really want to get done over the next year. I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the context of my current role at ReadyTalk and the roles of those who surround me. One of my resolutions is for personal improvement.

Professional growth, and getting better at “your craft” is one thing that is constantly on my mind.  With my team, I'm always stressing that failure is a learning opportunity, but how do you learn and advance without waiting for failure? Simply put, you practice.

Ok, that sounds easy, you say. But, when you sit down to think about it, how exactly do you practice things like project management or people management or even software engineering? My day is filled with  productive meetings, but does going to meetings allow me to practice my people skills? Does making a spreadsheet or facilitating a story-pointing session give me ample opportunity to practice the craft of agile coaching? And more important to me directly, how does one practice effective leadership?

Dan King, our CEO, is an amazing leader and his thoughts and ideas inspire me. So I took a step back and examined what I see Dan doing almost constantly. The answer was reading, and asking questions. Dan is a voracious reader, and he uses the management and leadership books he reads to help formulate questions about how lessons learned by others could have been applied to his own experiences or how they could be applied to challenges that ReadyTalk may face as the organization grows. So, my goal is really about practice. Practicing leadership by way of reading and thinking more about leadership in different industries and domains. Also on my agenda is helping our engineers practice their craft of software engineering, but that is a blog post for another time!

I’d be curious to hear how you may have tackled this problem. How do you practice something that isn’t quite tangible, such as leadership or people management? Drop me a line and let me know!

Jason Collins (aka JC) is the VP of Engineering at ReadyTalk and the self-appointed Chief Happiness Officer. He's been either writing code or managing engineers for nearly 15 years and has a passion for technology and agile development practices. The happiness of the engineering team is his top priority and he can usually be found wearing a ReadyTalk cape and the infamous "idea helmet" around the office to help keep people entertained. When he's not hanging out with his work family, he's at home with his wife and four boys doing all sorts of geeky things, like playing video games and watching campy Sci-Fi and Action flicks.


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