2008-06-08

Comfort zones

Many years ago I took an assignment that comprised a technology a bit outside my normal competency span (only the programming language was familiar). I wanted so dearly to learn more about it! And actually work with it. But, as other assignments where competing for time, I did not have enough time on my hands to read up, and experiment. So, as many good consultants I took an opportunity to work on this technology, despite the fact that I did not have all the so called "required skills" for it.

It turned to be a success! I gained the required skillset, and more too! Also, I managed to spread some enthusiasm in the project (I really liked what I was doing so I was probably very positive about things). How did this become? Well, I have now learned that in order to succeed there has to be a desire to gain e.g. new knowledge in an unchartered area. That is not all, persistence is also required, every possibility has to be explored. When exploring a new technology I usally do not read about it in a linear fashion, instead I read a little, start to experiment, read some more, try some more ... and as soon as I stumble on something new I check it up immediately. I.e do it right now! It might seem a bit haphazard at first, but eventually grasping the new area is done pretty fast.

Ok, we've got desire and persistence. What more? There are actually several aspects to cover, and I'll do so in the coming postings, but what I am saying here is the fact that sometimes you need to do a "mental bungy jump" to get things going. Really move, as I've recently learned, outside your comfort zone. I did not not at the time that I was going outside my comfort zone at the time.

More importantly, the move has to be substantiual. It is a bit like the saying that you have to be loud in order to be heard over the crowd. You have to produce 3 db:s or more in order to be heard. Analogous, you have to really do something that forces you to take serious actions. That is, you should do it if you really really want it, and has made a firm decision to do so.


Another lesson for managers: having people do what they've always done and not allowing them to grow and develop new skills, can reduce productivity. They simply get bored.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Hej!

I like your pep talk about being willing to venture out of your "comfort zone." :) My plan to move to Stockholm, exploring new opportunities there, is definitely what I would call a bungee jump of sorts. It's exciting and invigorating!

Lisa