Why people do not grow: the more growth options, the worse

    The previous article, “Zeroing a programmer’s expertise when promoted to a manager,” despite buzzing in the comments about the terminology “expertise” and “experience,” nevertheless received its share of attention and discussion on the case: then we continue.

    Today let's see how we make decisions, how our brain behaves depending on the number of options, with which solutions we have the most problems.

    What solutions do we have the most problems with?

    And we are not talking about something simple and easy in terms of solutions: pancakes or a sandwich for breakfast, coffee with milk or without at work. We are talking about the decisions that are behind, in addition to significant changes in life, there are still quite substantial efforts that need to be made.

    From this point of view, the decisions regarding the choice of profession and the direction in which we are building a career are quite substantial: for at least several years, or even tens of years, we determine what we will do most of the working time with, what tasks we will face what problems we will deal with and whether it will be fun to choose what you do.

    A number of purely “technical” or even “mechanical” problems with decision-making can be distinguished: these are, so to speak, features of the structure of our brain, which is trying to protect us from problems associated with state changes. Now - everything is more or less clear, controlled, and therefore the brain is well, and how it will be in the new state is unclear, therefore bad. One of the basic functions of our brain is to protect us from the incomprehensible, so that it does not get worse.

    So, “mechanical problems” with decision making can be divided into three parts:
    1. We are slowed down when making a decision if we don’t know the number of steps to the goal and the travel time : let’s you lose weight ... - to what weight? How long does it take? How do I understand that you need to stop if something goes wrong? How do I know that everything is going right and with the right dynamics? And we are thinking not about how to start, but about how to get answers to our questions.
    2. We are slowed down when making a decision if we don’t know how to roll back the changes : this is just an example from the previous article with a return , if something does not work out in the manager’s position.
    3. We are inhibited if we have too many choices, there are many options : I want to go the optimal way; I want to go the right way, but there are so many of them; I want to somehow compare the solutions and find out who has already used which solution, or at least discard what does not work or works poorly

    Let's go in order.

    Problem: an incomprehensible number of steps to the goal and travel time

    “Well, come on there, it's ... grow! And then we will somehow evaluate you and ... if everything goes well, you will suddenly become a whole manager! ”


    “Some qualitative / system changes should happen in the project, so that it immediately becomes clear that this counts towards you and we have justification for your increase ...”

    So, or almost so, taking into account our inherent cynicism or existing experience, we often perceive the response of management or HRs to the question: What do I need to do to become a leader?

    Unspecific; it is not clear how to measure "Doros am I already or not yet?"; it is not clear what exactly needs to be done; how to show it so that those who evaluate understand that this happened because I grew up, and not because of perseverance at the fifth point or coincidence.

    You can experiment with any project in terms of processes, technologies, methodologies, hiring / firing people and the managers themselves, and what’s most interesting is that no one, not even the special kind of very smart consultants brought to the secret laboratories of TOR4 world consulting companies, will say for sure what will lead to high-quality / system changes.

    Repairing something that obviously doesn't work is understandable. If the project has a certain list of problems and the comrade who wants to grow has charisma and pressure to change anything, it’s reasonable to start with this: take it and repair it. And DO NOT ASK: “And if I put out this particular fire, what will it be for me?”, But just take it out and put it out, because it burns, and it hurts everyone. If at this moment you ask, most likely neither the bosses nor the customers will be happy: there is a complete ... problem with the project, and he asks!

    In problematic projects, people grow very rarely. There are legends about Project Rescuers, but I personally know one such thing: the crisis works as a manager, like a samurai wandering from company to company, from portal to portal and generally happy with his samurai fate. But he doesn’t care about raising issues: he came — slashed with a sword, throwing someone overboard, throwing something out of the scope of delivery, launching regular shipments of versions to the Customer and drove off, and then to the side — let the project be managed by someone who is respected, and not the one they are afraid of. But no, I'm lying - two! The second recently again changed his directorial position in one large bank to a similar one in the neighboring one. Up to 1 year per position, not more. Not for everyone the script.

    Superman and Samurai - not for everyone

    How to speak with a chef; which words and constructions lead to agreements and which do not; how to check agreements for stability and other issues are left out of this article. We are now talking about the mechanics that prevent us from making decisions and the circumstances that this mechanics help us brake before turning.

    Everything that is incomprehensible, not concrete, does not fit into an action plan, can be perceived by us as a fraud (especially if at the previous place of work you already voiced the same thing and nothing happened), letting in a dense look of precipitation, casting a shadow on a special kind of protective facilities.

    What could be the solution? Only clarify by asking clarifying questions:
    1. Chef, how do I understand that I’ve already grown?
    2. Chef, how do YOU ​​understand that I have already grown up?
    3. We can try a lot of things in our project: A, B, C - something will work, something not, but in order to make D and F you need authority and your formal approval - I understand correctly that if I do that is this one and it works, is that enough? Or do you need to do research and go through all the ways to make a project good?
    4. By what actions or results will it become obvious that I am ready?
    5. The department will grow up to 9 people - that is, the current manager will be able to convince the customer to hire two more programmers for us - is this enough to separate the project team from the department and make me its manager?

    Think, write questions, display specifics that you can touch and measure.

    And here a logical control question often sounds to the head: “And if the authorities do not give answers to these questions? Clear dates - does not name. What to do - does not clearly say. Advises to act on the basis of the situation on the project or evades the answer in another way ?! ”

    Often there is also the conclusion that the suggested tips do not work, the author of these is a quack (of course), and the problem bearer and author of this“ crushing ”question is unique from nature with a unique and non-repeating life situation.

    I really don’t want here and now to go deep into the details of the world order of people who like to have a “unsolvable” problem, rather than listen to the advice on how to solve it or just look around and understand that others are somehow growing and moving. Although, whom I am deceiving, of course I want to, but I restrain myself :)

    Mice cried and pricked

    Let's look at this question more closely, because it is actually far from idle. You came, asked what to do to become a manager, and the bosses "neither moo nor calve."

    If the authorities do not do something or do not do what you expect from him, there are always 4 reasons that we have already written about:

    1. Does not understand the goal:why should he, the boss, take you as a manager, especially if there is no such position now, and you have to open it - what problems and tasks will you solve? What smut from the chef remove? You have just come to ask for an investment in the form of your boss’s time for some kind of decision - why is the world, that is, your company and your boss?

    2. Does not know how:it would seem that for ...?! How so, can't raise people? He took it and raised it, what is there to think. But in fact, "can not" is just that easily. If your leader in this company has not raised anyone yet, now you have brought him a new task: justifications to write; to defend your candidacy on the HR-council, if any; to prove already to his boss or customer that the project needs organizational changes in your person; think out a retreat plan if you don’t pull or the project starts allergies related to your appointment.

    Raising a person is not an easy process not only for a person, but also for an organization. And if your boss didn’t raise anyone before, then he will need your help, your energy, your kicks and reminders - in general, everything that you can offer from your side.

    3. Cannot:this is when there is no resource. Most often banal time. See the previous paragraph. Do you think time expenses? Many. A lot of your boss's time. Allocating time to a particular task is almost always a matter of priorities and understanding, which will give your boss a solution to a particular issue. The solution to the issue with your promotion should be beneficial to him: think about what smutters you create by moving up, and what smuties you are ready to solve for your boss, in order to return to him the time resource invested in your transition.

    We are simple creatures: if for us something is important now or definitely beneficial in the future, you do it. And if you came to ponder “I want to be a manager - develop me, I will come in handy later, maybe” ... then you brought a pain in the neck, which you don’t have any desire to do. And you hang out with your promotion in the task stack somewhere on the 15th line, all so smart :)

    4. Doesn’t want:this is more interesting. If all 3 of the previous paragraphs are closed, that is, your boss said in an explicit and unambiguous form - SAID, and you didn’t think so and decided - that he can improve you because he understands what benefits you will bring to him and the project, and possibly the whole Company if you know that your boss has already promoted someone working in this particular company - that is, you SEE how this happened; if he puts some activities on the calendar, but they do not lead to a result; for your part, you are doing what you agreed on, but he is not: there is reason to think about whether he wants this increase. Reflect and calmly voice: Chef, look, somehow it does not work as you and I have outlined.

    The most difficult thing for all 4 reasons is to understand what your boss wants. And here comrade M.E. Litvak with his typology of superiors (“Command or obey”) and, for example, the DISC typology, which tells you what words and arguments the superiors are listening to, can come to your aid. If you are working with a chef who has left engineering, you most likely have a boss who listens to facts and arguments, rather than to your “internal throwing” and talking that you are “tired of your current position”. Dig, prepare conversations in advance.

    If you closed all 4 reasons in a conversation with your superiors and still didn’t get the answer “What should I do to become a manager” - the conclusion is rather disappointing: the company where you are located or the boss you are working with now, most likely will not allow you to change position. OK, your company is not the only department and not one project, most likely. And if the company is small, then most likely it is not alone in the market. In addition, this has already been noted in the comments, there are companies where the technological ladder of growth is not inferior to the managerial one - a matter of choice.

    Problem: irreversibility of the solution and misunderstanding how to roll back the changes

    We examined some particular solution in the previous article, “Zeroing the Expertise of a Programmer with Promotion to Managers”.

    The solution may well apply to other situations: success depends on how to formulate before the chef; Does he understand that the project will get better from this decision; whether he is ready to do anything for you personally; are you ready to do something to help your boss and give him reasons for your promotion and support in the future if he remains your boss, etc.

    And in order to summarize a short one, let’s repeat: break the task into two - first take responsibility, take authority and solve the bucks of de facto, and then reinforce the changes de jure (new position, new position), if everything worked out.

    Problem: Too Many Options

    The smartest ones linger longer than the rest. This was understood and described by David Allen, the one who gave us the Jedi GTD technique.

    “Who will linger on business for the longest time?” Naturally, the most creative, sensitive and intelligent people! Their impressionable consciousness allows them to clearly create nightmarish scenarios of project implementation activities and clearly present all the negative consequences of its incomplete implementation! They immediately begin to worry and lower their hands.

    Who does not give up? Often these are thick-skinned lumps who take up the job and stubbornly move forward, unaware of all sorts of dangers. And everyone else is inclined to hang their nose for any reason. ”

    Building a professional career is often a unique issue. The career of an engineer, as well as the career of an athlete, artist, stockbroker or entrepreneur, is almost always unique, like fingerprints. This is a combination of opportunities that professional life throws up to us; dating or networking; personal goals / plans / Wishlist; examples that are before my eyes; read and heard; sometimes, just in time for the words spoken to those you trust.


    Short lyrical, if you will allow

    me. For 7 years I grew up from a database administrator and testing engineer, to the head of the regional office and director of technology at Yandex.

    Did the case interfere? Definitely. Repeatedly. I was uniquely lucky with the bosses and the opportunities that the market opened up. I was also born very on time, yes.

    Have I always been ready for the opportunities that life has given me - no, I’m also smart, I was also sure that this alone was enough to be noticed, raised, noted, and I’m sure now that I’m working BETTER than my average colleague - I look at the market of trainers and set a rather high price tag for my work :)

    But I noticed that when I was ready: that is, I knew and knew more than 75% of my profile specialists in the market plus moved my ass in the direction of growth ( dug, read, wrote, spoke, studied, consulted, tried, x Deal of the interview) capabilities across in 3-5 times more.

    Or maybe I just could see them? Maybe the “frame” just got wider.


    Let's go back to what helps to decide on the choice of strategy, course of action, if you decide to build your professional career - and not the point in managers you decide to move or you will grow and develop in the engineering line.

    We need some kind of intelligible, understandable, step-by-step formula, or an algorithm that people have already walked on and, most importantly, walked and achieved their goal.

    For a long time I myself was looking for some ONE recipe for myself. The very “bullet”, which is exactly on target and still tracing, so that it can be seen how it flies. But the experience, that is, what was happening around ( an example of the same Dima, about which I told you earlier ) suggested that in this place, there is no single answer and there cannot be:
    • To work a lot - helps to do more work, pleases the boss who wants you to continue to do more of THIS work itself. Around are full of examples of people who are so overloaded with work that no one else can do except them. Cynically, but to be promoted, you must be replaced. People with unique expertise often find themselves in a "golden cage", and sometimes just in a cage, because there is simply nowhere else to go with this knowledge.
    • To be the smartest is pleasantly warm from the inside. But does it help other people to work with you? How to show others that you are the smartest? The HDD light in the temple area is not mounted and therefore does not blink every time you think.

      Dr. Sheldon Cooper

      Sheldon Cooper's mother, when he was once again fired, once said: “Yes, you are smart. And I told you a hundred times that you shouldn’t show it at every convenient and inconvenient occasion! ”(By the way, the new TBBT series is expected on September 22)
    • Doing your work in the most sophisticated and best way is the same in terms of exhaust and consequences with being the smartest: who will replace you with the support of this wonderful framework that you screwed up for so long and on which half of the business logic is now spinning here? To talk about "Does the boss" want your promotion and "Can" he now pull you out of your position.

    Another bike that may lead us not to think that a solution for growth must be sought in a different plane.

    ………………… For

    drivers on the mechanics, an example will be more clear.

    What am I doing, a driver-kettle, when I drive along a dirt road before turning right?
    • I slow down so that it does not skid because the drift is an emergency situation for me, in which I turn into a tree driver and silently observe where the car will fly next.
    • If it does not skid, slowly turn the steering wheel to the right. Do I need to the right?
    • I drive a turn at a low speed + I have a small speed at the exit of a turn

    What does a rally car pilot do to make a turn on a dirt road?
    • It takes the car out of a controlled state, breaks the rear axle (red light, red light, aaa, skid! :))
    • Turns the steering wheel to the left, in the direction of skidding, and not in the direction of rotation and adds gas
    • He leaves the bend at high speed, the speed of the bend is much higher than mine

    Skid Driving Machine

    We generally do diametrically opposite things with him: I brake and the steering wheel to the right, and he accelerates and the steering wheel to the left. He has results in speed, and in terms of controllability, which is really a secret, higher.

    Counterintuitive solution.


    It may well be that your suspicions that the growth methods “Take more, throw further, rest while flying” do not work, they are not so baseless.

    The answer to the question “What should I do to become a leader” lies not in this plane.

    What to do then? How do people grow?

    Having looked critically at the volume of this article, I decided not to dump everything and put the question “How do people grow” into a separate publication. However, if you have your thoughts and observations on this subject - share them with comments, I will try to answer either right there or in the next article.

    Thank you for all this time in the literal sense of the word “on one page” (on the same page, thinking about the same thing) as the Americans unloved by many say :)

    Good luck to you and see you next time!

    Glory Pankratov
    Stratoplan School of Managers

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