I was recently a guest in The Align Remotely podcast, where Luke Szyrmer, the host, focuses on leading distributed teams and everything associated with that subject, like leadership and operations to help achieve together. It is particularly relevant now when nearly everyone works from home. It was a broad-ranging conversation, but we mainly focused on the topic of how to baseline the remote team culture.
It was a nice trip. We were coming back from one of our favourite places. We had fun. The day was clear and a little by chance we discovered a new, very picturesque way home. The only drawback was the fact that we had to cross the roundabout now and then. And just after one of the roundabouts, I noticed that obstacle. The old VW Golf parked just after the exit. It was quite dangerous. And although it had the hazard lights on, I thought it was completely idiotic. The driver could park on the nearby bus bay, I thought to myself and started to penetrate the stupid obstacle with the fierce eyes to see who was sitting behind the wheel. What I saw chilled my blood.
“We need to call the bomb disposal unit.” – said the police officer. “In the meantime, we need to evacuate this pavilion.” – he added to his people. “It is really bombastic to work as the head of the IT department in this hospital.” I thought to myself, trying to stay calm.
Today we are going back in time where I worked for one of the biggest hospitals in southern Poland. My boss just quit as he needed to travel to another country. I took his place. How excited could it be to run the IT? I learnt a lot during this time. But one day was incredibly rich in lessons. It was the day when I learnt to respect my users and give them moral support, even if I cannot provide any technical support as the ask is out of my scope.
I try to read (listen) one book per month. It’s been mainly self-development books. And to be honest I got a bit tired. However, recently I talked to a friend and a colleague who recommended me a fiction book with a unicorn in the title… I read the full title and immediately started to listen. I could not stop, I emerged completely. Today I would like to share three main lessons I learnt from The Unicorn Project book. Let’s go!
We start the new team. We gathered a group of talented individuals and we want to grapple with the new challenge. How can we accelerate the team forming, storming and norming phase? We should start with team agreements. Once done, this exercise will boost team productivity. It will also help to create and maintain the team identity. It shouldn’t be the detailed documentation of the team proceedings in the wiki-style procedure. Instead, we should agree on things that are important for our team. Let’s take a look.
What do you think when you hear the word “responsibility”? The place where I come from (Poland) it usually has negative connotations, and it means you are in trouble. You broke the glass, you are responsible, and you need to pay for it. It comes hand in hand with the fact that our education systems teach us to avoid failures. All of that combined makes us think that responsibility is a bad thing, and we should avoid being responsible for things in our lives. Is this the full picture? What if we look at this from a different angle? If I am responsible, it means I am response-able – able to respond, able to think logically and move, fix and correct things around me. Let’s take a look at the Responsibility Process.
It was a long time ago. At that time, I was not too fond of trekking. Yet, I was there, exhausted, but happy. I was at the top of the mountain. I was with my friend who convinced me to go for this journey with him. To our surprise, there was a place where we could buy hot food. My friend asked me did I want anything. I said something like “yes probably, just bring me something”. He disappeared, and a moment later, he was back with a juicy, beautifully smelling burger. He brought me … nothing. I was furious. I was blaming him. It was years after when I realised that it was me who was wrong, and there is the right way to hold people accountable.
You have written an outstanding CV, and you made it to the next level. It’s is going to be the first job interview. But what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “job interview”? I think for most of us it’s a quite stressful event. Some folks, including recruiters, will refer to it as a “grilling”. There used to be some sophisticated methods to check candidates and to break them so that we can see how they behave under stress. I heard of the stories where interviews were conducted in a small, hot room for hours to check where is the breaking point of the particular candidate…
Your goal for the CV is to end up on the “next step” stack. Do it wrong and it will end up in a shredder. There are tons of material on the interwebs in the topic of the Curriculum Vitae preparation. I am going to write about my personal experience. It’s going to be a subjective opinion from someone who does recruit and who likes to recruit. So, what is the secret to well-written CV that will help you with the next dream job?
It was during the most difficult training. The task was simple; row the boat and compete with other teams. The challenge was to do it over and over again in cold weather. One team in one boat was consistently bad, coming as the last one. The instructor decided to implement risky manoeuvre – swap the leaders of the winning and losing boats. The result surprised everyone. However, the experienced instructor just said: “there are no bad teams, just bad leaders.“