Back to work

Ok, back to work. I chose to leave my business aspirations for now and start doing what I love the most, and where I’m most beneficial to people who struggle in the turmoils of digital world: As of today, I coach testing and DevOps in Elisa, the biggest telecom company in Finland. I also try to do some diary work here while at it. Stories about my actual work instead of general smartassery I’ve been prone to practice. Wisdom has started to grow interest on me. Let’s see, if it catches my fast moving ass.

Enough about asses and to my plan. So what I’ll do as the first thing in my new role? The same thing I’ve done many times before: Map the people around me who might benefit from my efforts. My new boss gave me good insight on where to start, where the biggest pain points are and where we could do the most good. The goal is to gather everything relevant we know now as an organisation. This gathering will lead into a pattern where I talk to one person and that person leads me to five more people, and so on. Soon I’ve talked with hundred people and gotten my own viewpoint on what’s going on, which can be then reflected to the viewpoints of people who do similar work and talk with a lot of people. Not only do I get vast amounts of information this way, even the silent kind, but I also make myself known to people and the message across organisation that I’m here to help. “To be interesting, be interested”, said Dale Carnegie.

Back in the days, when I was a junior consultant this senior consultant said to me: “You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. Use them in proportion.” Even though I produce a lot of noise, I’ve tried to live up to what he said. You always learn more than you teach. But nonetheless you shouldn’t be afraid to give insight on things. In the midst of overwhelming information load you know something that no one else does: Your viewpoint is unique and could help in situations where everything else has failed or is in a stalemate. So no matter how junior or senior you are, make yourself heard. But only after you’ve humbly listened, looked and learned. That is crucial to understand, if you work in a coaching role. In your journeys you meet people who are good at automating things, producing production grade code, gathering data, visualising data, getting people to work together, think things through finance, etc. and you have the wonderful possibility of uniting these people. By simply telling a person that the person who could solve his/her conundrum of scaling test environments sits 20 meters away you could not only make their day, but save your company tons of money. From time to time you are the one that could help in others with their specific need, while at another time you matchmake. Easy peasy.

After a while of coaching work and absorbing all that knowledge from those hundreds, even thousands of people you might start to come up with own ideas of how bigger solutions could be built. Build and deployment pipelines, new ways of working and even businesses. By meeting people face-to-face is a wonderful opportunity to bring these ideas up and reflect, if they fit to the prevailing context. You get instant feedback from ground level, free introspection to your own thinking process and perhaps even solutions on how to proceed with your own thing. With your vision. Surprisingly often people start to believe in this vision and join you in your quest for a better world. That is quite inspiring, and the closest thing to the ideal of leadership I believe in.

So, a lot of work to do. Better get at it then.

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