To improve our game, it seems useful to become more aware of how we do what we do. And how we perhaps do things differently than others and how this could possibly be valuable.
Ruth Malan architects visually, Tom Graves makes tools for change, and Peter Bakker sketches maps. My friend Marc makes fantastic concept diagrams. Obviously, they do a whole lot more, but these seem to be their specific ways of doing what they do.
So how do I do what I do? What’s specific about my way of working?
I read a lot. I enjoy reading non-fiction books and can relax doing it. So I read a lot and, increasingly, listen to audio books. That helps me look at things from different angles and sometimes make valuable non-obvious connections.
Interesting, perhaps, but not a specific way of doing things.
After much soul searching and thinking back to significant moments in my career, I came to this conclusion:
I talk to people.
Oh, wow! That’s disappointing. Underwhelming. And not exactly a differentiator as billions of other people do it, too.
Also a bit of a surprise as I can be comfortable with silence and by myself.
But it is what it is. And that is what it is. Or at least a part of it.
My biggest contributions to value creation have come from conversations. Sure, I’ve written good code, made effective design decisions, and wrote decent architecture documents. There were some useful acts of management and leadership. Of followership and fellowship, too.
But the most profound benefits came from good conversations. And the most damage from bad ones. One set of conversations profoundly changed my life for the better and continues doing so every day.
How can I have more good conversations? And fewer bad ones?
What makes conversations effective? Or efficient? Or enjoyable?
What do we need to do beyond talking shop? How to avoid turning into a talking shop?
What’s a conversation anyway? How can we have valuable conversations beyond the synchronous, spoken, face-to-face conversation? How do we make asynchronous conversations work? Written conversations? Conversations mediated by technology? Or other people?
And coming back to purpose, what conversations do we need to have to make technology work better for people? In business, at work, in private life?
Technology as tools and techniques? Technology as an industry? Technology as an organisational function? Technology as a career?
How to make these conversations worth having?
This good be a start of conversation. Perhaps even a good one. Let’s try this!
I said the stuff above. Now you say something in response. And then I’ll respond to that. And then you…
I don’t have a soundcloud but I’m thinking about writing a book: