Career steroids. Elevators

    Elevators are all sorts of contests, development programs, etc., which are announced both inside the company and outside it. In my personal opinion, among IT people, this is the most undervalued way to climb the career ladder.

    In contests, usually, not IT professionals like to participate, but everyone there ... I do not know what to call it. Active, in short. Those who loved, when he was still at school or an institute, participate in amateur performances, clubs and fall balls. Yes, usually it is women (this is not stereotyping, but statistics).

    The main reason why IT people do not participate in elevators, in my opinion - we are too smart, or very smart, to be more precise. In most cases, we reject the competition, even without reading its program, conditions and prizes. And if we read, we immediately draw simple conclusions - so, at the end of the competition, I don’t really have much, even if I can win, then it’s not worth bothering about.

    But elevators have three unpleasant features.

    First: the main use of the elevator is not in the prize, which is designated, but in the accompanying buns. The main one is recognition. If you are an ordinary programmer or system administrator, then, most likely, the management knows about your existence only at the moment when it reads the new version of the staff schedule (“oh, not a fig, how many administrators we have”). Elevator, as a rule, involves the participation of someone from the leadership - for example, in the final, or on the protection of projects, or in corporate events - it does not matter.

    The second, and the main one: the elevator rules almost always change along the way , even if it is a competition of all-Russian scale. Below I will tell an example from my practice.

    And here our, IT, "intelligence" brings us. We look at the program, and we think that the competition will go strictly in accordance with the program. If it says there that the project should be done, and the economist Valentina will evaluate it, then we sincerely believe that it will be so.

    But, unfortunately, or fortunately, contests are not organized by programmers, but by ordinary people. They cannot make the competition predictable, thoughtful, and clearly appropriate to the program. Along the way, adjustments are made several times that could not be predicted at the very beginning.

    Third: most people jump out of the elevators in the process . Not because they do not cope, or change their mind. It's just ... cranks.

    I'll tell you a few examples from my practice.

    The first example isstrategic session . This is an event where executives gather and decide how to live. Usually it is a waste of time because people do not see an elevator session.

    One day, a new director of the company where I worked as a CIO decided to hold a session in a new format. He invited a moderator from a well-known Moscow company (IT, by the way, for some reason), and gave her guidance of a strategic session. The aunt was sensible, and decided so. At the session itself, we will brainstorm, offer and record ideas for the development of the company. Then, after the session, we, the leaders, will be divided into groups, each will be given the task of developing one piece of a big strategy: to someone - processes, to someone - products, to someone - markets, etc. I got into the "business process strategy" group.

    Brainstorming at a strategic session is nothing new, so everything went the same way as it did the past millions of times. They all said something - the same thing - and they neatly wrote it down. Develop new products, optimize costs, find new customers, buy a couple of machine tools, etc. - In general, the usual senseless crap. It always has been, always will be. After some filtering, all these proposals fall into a large document called the “Strategic Development Plan”.

    It would seem, where is the elevator?

    The elevator was in the second part - the development of a piece of strategy. In general, I must say, among the leaders, few people know what “strategy” is. If you ask, many will give the correct definition - especially those who studied at the MBA - but this does not help. The result of the "strategy development" is usually, all the same, it becomes another footcloth with items like "work better, more, etc.".

    It should be noted that at that moment I was going to quit, because I did not like the new director, but he did not like me. This state of affairs allowed me to relax and enjoy the process. I decided that I would do this exercise for the benefit of myself - a demobel chord, so to speak.

    When our group got together, everyone started to chew snot and whine, that again they came up with some kind of crap, we have to work, there is no time to think out a strategy, and in general. I then announced - boys and girls, do not worry, give me a couple of days, I'll think of everything. Everyone, of course, happily agreed.

    I will not go into details, but I decided to change the approach to the development of a strategy - let it be not a list of events, but principles, a model, a kind of abstraction, to which specific events will then easily fall. I'm a programmer. The main thing in the strategy - the principles that lead to the growth of the company, rather than specific actions. And the goal of the strategy was set quite clearly.

    Having smoked a strategy a couple of days, I issued a document - one A4 sheet, with a rather large font. The main thing was that I didn’t do the “business process strategy”, but the “company-wide strategy”. Well I had nothing to lose.

    It outlined the growth model of the company and the criteria for evaluating all those proposals that I was sure the rest of the teams would write. I did not invent anything particularly clever, the model was taken from famous books. But she explained the key principles of growth.

    What do you think was next? According to the rules of the elevator, my A4 paper was supposed to go to the garbage because I had not completed the task - I did not have a business process strategy. But my paper was accepted, and with delight.

    Well, accepted and accepted. What's next? According to the rules of the elevator, there should have been one big strategy uniting everything that teams will do. And they did, oh yeah. Normal, long, unreadable footcloths. My A4 sheet with this approach would immediately be lost in this huge pile of paper.

    But the elevator rules have changed again. My strategy was declared main, the rest - minor. It was not a merger of strategies, but their mutual subordination.

    Well, to hell with him, okay. I was, of course, pleased that the demobling chord had turned out so loud, but I was still going to quit. Because the elevator rules said - now someone, most likely - the director - will lead the implementation of the strategy, pick up a team, set tasks and deadlines, and so on. Of course, I was stuck in the performance of some tasks, but this was not particularly interesting for me.

    But the rules have changed again! My unfortunate piece of paper was read not only by the director, but also by the owner. And he liked her so much that after long discussions I was offered to head the implementation of the development strategy of the entire company. What is important is that it was not an annual, but a three-year strategy, i.e. I have the prospect of three years to be one of the most important people in the company.

    So this elevator worked for me. Now -a couple of other examples about my subordinates.

    A new HR director has appeared in the company, and she decided that we live too boringly, and we need a personnel management reserve. Announced the project, called "Career". The point was that only non-managerial employees could participate, and if they were successfully implemented, they would be included in the personnel reserve of managerial personnel - they could, sometime, under some circumstances, become managers. Yes, there was still a prize - the winner will go at the expense of the company to study for an MBA in Moscow.

    The conditions were simple. Each participant should come up with, protect and implement a project within a few months, on their own, without interrupting their work. The second condition is that they had to go to internal studies, where they were taught the basics of management, finance, etc.

    The conditions are simple, clear, nothing particularly useful is not foreshadowing, right?
    Three of mine volunteered - two programmers and one system administrator (the same “ram”). And here began cotovasiya.

    Programmers prepared for the defense of projects on time, everything worked out well for them. The system administrator, referring to employment, did not have time to prepare. Then he went whining, that he had a lot of work, and reached the point that he was given a separate defense - ok, he climbed.

    Then the lectures began. Programmers went to almost all classes, the system administrator did not go to any one.

    Okay, to hell with it. In the end, it was not strictly necessary - there was also an exam, simple, in the form of a test, according to the very basics of management. Programmers went, passed, the system administrator did not bother.

    True, he again began to whine that he had very little time, and he was forgiven again - allowed to participate in the final defense without an exam. I must say right away that he never came to the final defense. Why did I get into the elevator at all? Well, okay, ram, he is a ram. Got nothing, but he did everything in his own way.

    Then the elevator rules began to change rapidly. Initially it was assumed that the main judge will be the same HR director. So the prospect is to like the HR director, isn't it? It will not raise a position, salary - especially.

    But life threw a couple of surprises.

    First, the competition began with one director, and ended with another. The new director decided that there might be fun, and volunteered to sit on the final defense.
    Secondly, the owner broke the schedule, he did not fly away somewhere, and also decided to sit on the final defense. This became known in the morning, an hour before the start.

    Especially lucky one of my programmers, let's call him Kolya. The owner, as befits a high-flying bird, was late on defense - several projects were reported without his participation. But when Kohl finished his speech, the owner quickly rushed into the office, looked at the slides and said - oh, damn, an interesting topic (and the topic, I must say, was not very interesting). And he suggested that Kolya make an elevator pitch - in 30 seconds to retell his project. Kohl did not lose his head, and issued for the allotted time prerequisites, process and results.

    Then another programmer reported, let it be Vasya. Vasya's topic was more interesting and useful, and the owner also listened to it with pleasure.

    The girl from the financial services won the competition, and she went to the MBA.

    And then I quit, and guess who became the head of the programmers? Right, Kohl. Because of all the participants, the owner remembered only him alone. And what happened to the system administrator? That's right, nothing. So it sits. Kohl, however, recently quit, and who do you think became the head of the IT department? That's right, Vasya.

    And finally, another example. This time - unfortunate.

    There was such a competition - the leaders of Russia. All-Russian, under the patronage of the presidential administration, and personally Mr. Kiriyenko. The prizes are also attractive - a grant of one million rubles for education, and mentoring of some cool pepper, like Sergey Lavrov or Sergey Bezrukov (hmm ...). Moreover, the prize was received not by one person, but immediately by the top 100.

    The first, qualifying stages of the competition were simple and, most importantly, carried out remotely - via the Internet. That's why I decided to participate. Not because I need a mentor - although what the hell is not joking about this networking - but because I understand all the benefits of elevators. Moreover, the cost is almost no - write down some kind of vidos about yourself, and pass a few tests.

    In the process of passing these first stages, I watched what other participants, who were thousands, said and wrote. Most of them behaved like rams - they profiled tests, which were given over a day, did not send a video, etc. Huge masses of people fell off at the very beginning.

    I passed the tests successfully, and I received a letter stating that I was in the hundred of the best in my region, and they were waiting for me in the semifinals - 300 of them were supposed to arrive there. Accordingly, 100 of them will be chosen, who will go to the final, and there - the last selection and prizes.

    And then I thought hard. It is one thing to pass tests through the Internet, another thing is to go for three days, to full time, to another city for a full-time competition. There was no fear - not for the first time, but lack of motivation prevented. Let me remind you that the main prize is a million grant for education, but with restrictions. First, only Russian universities. Well, it can be experienced. Secondly, only management programs.

    To study management in Russian universities or, God forbid, an MBA? Well fuck it. Life has taught me long ago: management education is not worth a penny. Dozens of those very “effective managers”, hung with degrees, diplomas and courses like a dog fleas, surrounded me for 13 years, and the sense - real, obvious, useful for the company - was from units, and not from the most titled. Moreover, I talked a lot with MBA students, and I had an idea that there was a program there - exactly the same thing can be found in books, now there are not those times when you can learn some secrets only from teachers personally.

    Well, as you probably know, teaching at the MBA is a showcase for a consulting store that is being sold by the same instructors. Information is given, but not complete, without explaining the practice, and, moreover, without considering the cases of the students. And if you come to consult, such as “we have such a problem at the factory ...”, what will you hear in response? “Oh, and let me come to your factory! Where to send the contract?

    There was also a little thought - and maybe someone would give this grant? Well, since I do not need. There are friends, relatives who do not mind learning - can help them? But no, the elevator rules do not allow the transfer of a grant.

    In general, after weighing all the pros and cons, I decided not to go. The longest was the question of changing the elevator rules. But I decided in the end that the rules of the All-Russian competition cannot be changed on the move - this is not the project “Career” of a provincial factory.

    I wrote a letter to the organizers that I would not go. If someone refuses, then another person takes his place - the one who did not pass at the first count. Probably, perhaps, I helped someone. Buddy, if you were invited to attend the semi-final in the Urals Federal District after you were first refused, and you read these lines - good luck to you!

    What happened next, guess? These guys changed the rules! Right during the final!
    At first they said - damn it, but what for we give grants for management training - for managers? Let them learn what they want!

    Then they say - well, here the guys, from the winners, ask - can I give a grant to someone else? That's what good fellows, real leaders! Not about yourself, worry about people! Let give, it is a pity that it!

    I was depressed for a couple of days. Not because this grant was wanted, but because it acted like a ram.

    Recently a letter arrived that the “Leaders of Russia” competition is starting again. I am sitting straight, and I don’t know what to do ...

    Summary of

    elevators are many, they are everywhere.
    There are obvious elevators - contests, programs, etc.
    There are not obvious elevators, when the opportunity to see, or create.
    If you climbed into the elevator, the main thing - do not jump on the road.
    The rules of the elevators are constantly changing, so there is no particular reason to predict its movement and the final stop.
    The main thing in the elevator is not a prize, but attendant benefits.

    And finally. The principle of participation in the elevators is similar to the slogan of the Olympic Games - the main thing is not victory, but participation. Only I would reformulate it, with reference to elevators.

    Why do people run in the winter for the bus? Do not catch up, so get warm .

    You must have seen a video of Steve Jobs’s performance in front of Stanford graduates. Remember what he said? Except for everyone remembered, “stay hungry, stay foolish,” he said: why the hell would you guess when it would all come out?

    It sounds, of course, as a profound philosophical garbage from personal growth, but with respect to elevators - this is a harsh fact of life. The elevator almost always goes up, and almost always goes where it is announced. And on the way, he makes stops, where you can eat pies, meet interesting people and have a good time.

    Do not catch up, so get warm. We will not lift, so we will pump over a muscle. Going to mushrooms, collected a lot of berries. Well, and so on.

    Lifts are a great steroid. Others then, of course, will say - well, lucky bastard. Well, okay.

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