Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Motivation and demotivation

    Since one month I didn't touch my blog. This can probably misguide people who watch it planting feeling that I became more idle than I used to be. This is not true, indeed within last month besides my trip to Crimea peninsula on Black See (see the picture) I have understood many things regarding my psychology.
I'm in Crimea
    Oriental wisemen say that all wisdom starts with self-knowledge. The recent crucial question for me here is:

what is the major factor why I am staying for more than 3 years in one company against all odds of rapidly changing IT world?

    And accordingly to all customs, I am coming to the final conclusion when debates are getting closed …
    Before February 2008 my negotiations with all other people were based on following principles:

  • keep yourself busy and useful for team as possible as you can without loosing self-confidence

  • whenever you evidently asked for something by your team member consider this as opportunity to do something for team, i.e. small and urgent deals has higher priority than ongoing tasks

  • always be responsive, friendly and polite to all people. Consider idling and ignoring as something worse than being unfriendly or refuse

  • to people disliking you be as good and friendly as for others, just don’t tip them for that: conciliate this with people you like better

  • never look for reasons why do you dislike somebody or something

    Although I knew there were always few people that dislike me in ANY environment, but I can go long with this, as long as I have enough possibility to choose whom I speak to and negotiate with i.e. vary my closest environment. This position became very distinguishing for me especially in IT crowd: since most of people are introverts they won't pay much attention on you as long as you initiate it personally. And there are many ways how to avoid evident conflicts, since work is rather incoherent.
    But situation got changed quite dramatically when the boss of all it has been changed: the slight but very important difference between new and old one is following: the latter allowed me behaving like I’ve described above. Beside this there are very many other differences: they might be (and I’m sure they are) fatal for team, but not for me being in the team. I clearly understand that living in not at all prosperous country with underdeveloped economy I still can make my life happy. Why then I can’t be happy in unfriendly environment?
    Yes, I can indeed! The key is to give me responsibility I can hold and control on 100% and chance to develop it i.e. to make comfortable world for me and make it extendable (at least make me believe that it’s extendable). This is not obligatory large responsibility, but somewhere near should be potential for self-development.
    This motivates me still more than salary and career: it just makes me fun. The money is a fair price balancing between employers that tend to pay less and employees that tend to get more. I work primarily not for money, but for having time of my life.
    This is the most important motivating factor. But what is the most demotivating? Try to reveal them as direct opposition of motivating factors.
    Boss’ inconsistency demotivates me much: when he defines my responsibilities every day penetrating and changing them all time, he uses me at least ineffectively: instead of giving me right job forever he needs to control my job. Otherwise soon he won’t understand what I’m doing and what I have to do, which is even worse. Are you scared that job given at the first day not the most correct? Never mind, make sure that it’s useful at least even if it is not the most useful.
    Non responsiveness demotivates me much: IMHO, all people should be ready to accept feedback, it is not effectiveness, but it’s mathematical derivation of the effectiveness, so it’s a power to improve it.
    Professional ignorance demotivates me much. Man who doesn’t improve his skills regularly should not expect that his subordinated people will improve them. I know that project manager is quite challenging position: he ought
    1) to know how to work with software development;
    2) to know how to work with software developers;
In real life it is so complicated that no one can do both things, that normally your are stronger in one area and weaker in another. Ring-bouy for this situation is awareness of your skills: if you know how weak you are in one thing or another, or at least you are tending to understand this, you may find proper assistance in your team.

    Facing all this together my position is getting very unpleasant for me: people I would like to work with still exist but they are more distant than people I have to work with. It’s even more unpleasant than if I was surrounded with ignorant people with no aware of some alternatives are there. So from now I refused to meet my aforementioned principle #5 (never look for reasons why do you dislike somebody or something).

    Now I dislike people that make decision made by own “exclusive” experience. It is a root of all evil even if decision was right at some particular point. But I judge people not for their decision, but namely for the way how they had been done: In rapidly changed world you should not call your predecessor’s decisions ridiculous, because one day your today’s decisions might seem ridiculous to your successors.
    One day a good decision may be considered as bad or a bad decision may be considered as good ... But the way how decision was made stands still ...