Recently I started listening to an audio book about productivity and it made me realize just how important the connections you have with the people in your team are to your overall results, as well as how it impacts your personal growth.
We have long sought to bring the right people into Around25 and while most of our decisions were great some were not as inspired. It's hard to understand why some people can click from day one and make an existing team stronger and why others with similar work ethic and great personality can push it towards the ground.
Listening to this book I heard a lot of things that resonated with me from other articles I read and from my experience with some startups I worked on.
We always put how a job candidate felt to us as a person on top of his technical skills when looking to bring him/her into our team. Sure there were always other factors to consider, like just how good the technical skills are, salary expectations, personality and more, but the most important criteria was always that feeling of meeting a new best friend for the first time. I might sound like a broken record, but we were looking for that same passion we had when we were starting out. The passion for doing things right that still drives us today.
Now I think I can better define what the common traits are amongst the ones we welcomed with open arms and stayed with us for so long:
Eagerness to learn
We work in an environment where the very building blocks of our world change on a daily basis. Frameworks rise and fall, libraries multiply exponentially and the box we live in keeps getting bigger with every new task. If you think that you can learn one thing and you have a secure job for the rest of your life then you are clearly in the wrong crowd. If you don't have a craving to always improve and learn something new then you will not make it in the long run.
The wisdom to choose
Let's be honest! Some of us chose to get into programming because everyone told us that's where the money is.
Congrats! You're here.
Now make the choice between the blue pill and the red pill. Choose the blue pill and the dream ends and you can get a comfortable corporate career where you'll be given a raise every year because they need to show an increase in personnel, not because you are particularly good at what you do. Choose the red pill and find out just how far this eagerness to learn can really take you.
The truth is no one can motivate you to do anything, only you can do that, but I'll tell you a secret: it all starts with one choice. Motivation comes from choices. The choices you make every single day. Feeling unmotivated at work? Choose to read a blog article about another programming language you wanted to learn, choose the ticket with the lower priority, choose to speak out at today's meeting, choose to fix that line of code you've been ignoring for the past year. Make the choice to improve and in time you will no longer have to be pushed by other team members.
The freedom to experiment
Being good at what you do is great, but it's hard to get better if you are not in an environment where you are free to experiment. In my experience the best developers are always experimenting with something. Whether it's building a Raspberry Pi robot, learning a new programming language just to see how it is or rising up to the challenges given by your project manager or team members.
This goes hand in hand with having a supportive team environment. If you fail at a task or you have bugs in your code the others might call you out on it but you feel like you can tell them anything and they are there to help.
In the last post I said that this year we've started moving in a new direction. Every decision we make from this point forward we want to make it as a team and in order to do that we need a strong cohesive team. Working on and with startups helps us enhance our team skills and creates a safer environment for new ideas and experimentation while allowing us to care more about the products we work on.