As an individual professional, I believe in core values and principles. Am I the type of professional you want to work with? These values govern how I solve problems, make day-to-day decisions and collaberate. It’s also important for companies and individuals I work with to exemplify these values. In this regard, below are a few important values and principles I strive to uphold:
- 1+1>2: Whether it’s employees collaborating with each other, or combining your own skills in unique and interesting ways, I believe there are ways gain an edge in business by “skill stacking”. I’ve seen this many times as a manager, and seek to develop myself in ways to achieve this.
- Ownership and self-direction: Companies pay professionals generous salaries to do their jobs, but often subject them to micro-management or second guessing their decisions. I believe taking ownership, being proactive and driving tasks or projects to completion is very important. I also believe companies need to give employees discretion and decision making authority to grow and be effective in their jobs.
- What not How: Be a results-oriented leader. Instead of dictating to people how to solve problems, support them with good requirements, business context, and helpful consulting input. Then let people take ownership and use discretion to solve the actual problem itself.
- Airtight Follow-through: Don’t drop the ball. If you only follow-through 80% of the time, your manager or coworker will have to double-check your work 100% of the time. I’ve come to really appreciate this as both a manager and project manager. No matter how technically competent they are, people who don’t follow through are unreliable and difficult to work with. “Fire and forget” employees and colleagues are a rare commidity.
- Perseverance: If a project is stuck, there’s always things to work on to keep it moving. Often times, it will take trial and error before a final solution is in place.
- Keep it Simple (KISS Principle): A system is already complex enough, without making the individual parts complex. Prefer clean and minimal design. Less is more. Write simple, maintainable code. Prefer lightweight processes. Work in small increments. If something’s no longer adding value, remove it from your process or system.
- Be professional: Business can be tough, but there’s no reason to be a jerk or lose your temper. Be nice. Strive to go about your business in a respectful and cooperative manner.
Incidently, after interfacing with some companies and learning about their values, I wrote an article about inverting principles and values. Basically, besides trying to live up to your values in a positive way, it’s also good to think of counterexamples and avoid those. For example, I can think of many couterexamples to taking ownership or following through.