I have been testing a new way of introducing myself, especially when at professional conferences and meetups. Though, I feel strongly you can use this throughout your life.
How many times have you talked for a long a while with a new person only to at the end realize there is a connection or opportunity to learn or collaborate? You then scramble to exchange emails and hope to connect and talk more later. You spent most of the conversation dancing around subjects or worse talking about the weather, when what most people want and need is connection and true exchange.
Let’s be frank, there is too often than not a lot of blah blah Rainy Outside blah that no one enjoys.
So I propose:
Instead of introducing ourselves by just our expertise, we should say what we are currently learning.
It is a bit of a way to create a skills matrix adhoc. It also engenders the mindset that we all (Yes, even consultants!) have something to learn.
Example (and a currently true one):
Hello, my name is Sheila. I am a business coach specializing in lean, agile and product vision. Currently I am delving into Lean Startup, working on my writing and practicing my Spanish. How about you?
Better yet ask them, “What are you passionate about?”
And perhaps, the person will respond, “Actually I am fluent in Spanish! Want to meet up practice? I could pick your brain on agile. I am passionate about…” Or, “I am also learning about Lean Startup! What books are you reading? I found this great one…”
Thoughts? Please, let me know your feedback if you try it.
In a series of mini-blogs I will be sharing some checklists and anecdotes, mostly based around the Agile Mindset or as I call it, the Learning Mindset.
I am a very nondogmatic coach for everything (meeting structure, scrum/kanbanban/scrumbanaFeLess?, roles)… as for me it depends on the context and unique needs of the business and market.
Well, I am nondogmatic except for the Agile/Learning mindset! For me and many Agilists it is the #1 prerequisite in work and even private life. This is especially true for the management calling for any Agile transformation. There needs to be at least the self-awareness and desire to adapt, change to, and invest in the Agile/Learning mindset or the “transformation” is dead in the water.
So… Let’s do a self-check quiz. As you strive to be the change you want to see in the world! Or at least around the water cooler.
Do I have the Agile or Learning Mindset?
- I can tell you my big-picture vision and “Why” (raison-être) and that of my team and our product. I let this drive me versus the “What” (how we do it) which is flexible.
- I seek to take small iterative steps that deliver value (end client functionality or service quality), but keep in mind the mid to long term vision.
- Despite having set my vision, I revisit it often and always leave room to challenge and change my preconceptions and end goal.
- I am driven by continuous improvement. I believe in testing, learning from my “failures” and adapting. In fact, I believe there is no such thing as failure!
- While change and questioning is good, I still know I must also decide universally with others, implement and fully test before changing again.
- I know that every person in my life and team have their own unique skills and point of view. I strive to understand them, empower them and learn from them.
- I believe in clear communication, including the definition of roles and needs. I seek to express my needs and listen to the needs of others.
- I work alongside others. I understand I cannot control others nor should I try.
- I admit when I am wrong and apologize if necessary. It is my strength not my weakness. I feel the same for others when they apologize and I listen to them.
- For me, it is more important to have a functional product then a beautiful or “perfect” product.
- I think in terms of a living product that continues to live after it is released versus a project that ends. I understand change and evolution is a constant and not negative.
- I desire to get to know my customers and create a partnership.
- I test my product with real customers as soon as possible. Best yet, I test a prototype before building or releasing it. I do not stop there, but continually seek client feedback.
- As well, I seek feedback on myself, as it allows me to grow.
- I respectfully give feedback.
- For me, documentation is “living” meaning it changes often and is light enough to be usable and maintainable.
- I believe: No process is immutable. We, together, question and adapt processes and how we work.
- I go into all situations, even “old” ones with an open mind, ready to collaborate and progress.
Any to add?