Skip to main content

Reminder: managing how people around you can change you

I did something super-uncharacteristic in a meeting today, and felt both bad and stupid right after.

It felt very unlike me to do it, but I knew exactly why.....Some people are more easily influenced by styles/personalities/mannerisms of others. I've suspected for quite a while that I'm one of those people. :) I tend to pick up good habits/mannerisms/styles from people, but I realize the flip is true as well.

So what's a person to do? Here's what I think:
  • Step 1: awareness is key: watch out always, always, always for what you're doing. Examine your life and actions continuously. I've been able to do this once-in-a-while, but have never been able to keep this "always-on"
  • Step 2: have a strong sense of the kind of person you want to be: in your personal and professional life. An easy way to get there is to have role-models; multiple role-models or even more granular (e.g. a programming role-model, analysis role-model, meeting role-model, a presentation role-model etc.)
  • Step 3: Watch how far your desired and your actuals are, and slowly, surely, deliberately move towards the desired.
  • Bonus Step 4: Ties into Step 2. Stay very aware of how people around you do things, and borrow-and-learn as much as you can. If possible, increase your interactions so you have more role-models.

Its definitely much, much easier said than done, but the I think the goal should be to work through the 4 stages of competence to do this stuff almost automatically eventually.


Popular posts from this blog

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.

Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)

It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…