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LabVIEW Life Lessons #3 - Work Without Fear

Active Participant

If "Delivery is All" is our mantra, "Never Be Fearful" is something at the heart of the business we wanted to build................And it's really difficult to adhere to.

I don't really buy into Vision Statements or Mission Statements but this really something we discussed when we started up. So what does it mean in the real world?

1. It Allows us to be Generous

Throwing off the paranoia that business is cut-throat and people will steal your ideas and generally screw you over allows you to build healthy, strong business friendships. If you trust your customer to look out for your interests, you're in a wonderful position. Supplying source-code, designs etc (all of which we have been paid for) re-assures customers that the code will be supported in our absence. This allows us to chase after bigger projects than if we followed a more code-protected way of working.

As we build up our own IP it has become increasingly difficult to follow this through, but we go back to "Never Be Fearful".

We share everything, processes, sourcecode, designs and we have never lost work through it.

2. Brutal Honesty/Foolishness as a Software Tool

I've talked about this in the article linked above, an article I'm proud of (it only got 1 bloody "like", so I'm obviously in the minority).

The route to a stress-free life is to tell the truth. Thinking about projects, all the stress comes from dishonest deadlines or promises that never had a chance to be kept. One thing I often say is that deadlines are fictional and have nothing to do with the engineering task in hand. If a job has 20 hours of work in it, telling me it's urgent will not make me work faster, I'm already going as fast as possible.

When I ask someone for a progress report the only useful response is an honest one. Saving face, being scared of the response to bad news etc etc are not helpful.

This is something we share with the best of our competitors too, I think it may be an engineering thing.

3. Taking Risks

Taking risks is good for your ego!

Our stories, our new skills, our favourite jobs are all closely linked to the risk associated with them. Every time we walk into a new industry, stand up to present in front of our peers, share code and design ideas we expand and increase ourselves. To mitigate these risks we plan, mixing risky jobs with easier ones.

So we may not have made shedloads of money, but we have had some great fun along the way and that's because we work without fear.

Lots of Love

Stephen the Brave

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Comments
Active Participant

Totall agree with #1 (well all of them but that particularly resonates). I have tended to try and work from an area of trust everywhere. Sure, perhaps 1 in 100 might abuse that position but I think the gains of reciprical trust and credibility with the 99/100 more than make up for it.

James Mc
========
CLA and cRIO Fanatic
My writings on LabVIEW Development are at devs.wiresmithtech.com
Member

I believe that all three points are absolutely and very much valid in any aspect of life, be it business, personal relationships, whatever. Being generous and honest is all that one can try to be, and I'm certainly one to try and take these risks every day. And who cares about "shedloads of money" as long as you make a (decent) living while enjoying yourself??

(just my 0.02 €)


Joerg Hampel, CLA | hampel-soft.com
Member
Active Participant

Thanks mate, I blame the auto-update, most appreciated

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Active Participant

@James It's strange because I don't really buy into that kind of teamspeak psycho stuff, but it's always been an inherent and important part of what we try and do. And it's stuck too. I don't think it is at all uncommon either. "the gains of reciprocal trust and credibility" perfectly sums up the reward of working that way.

@Joerg Yup,some of my friends are merely working their hours until they retire! I cannot contemplate retiring, I'm having too much fun. I feel as if I'm in the top 0.01% lucky people on this planet. (sigh I'm just a damned hippy at heart)

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Member

Yep, I'm guily of being brutally honest.  In my experience engineers lean towards honesty with programme managers and commercial people leaning the other way.  I don't think managers and commercial people are less honest, simply more cautious.

Steve, do you find that your brutal honesty is reciprocated by your customers, sub-contracts, colleagues, or staff.  It seems to me that honesty will always be good for your karma (blood pressure) but only truly works as a two way street.   

Active Participant

I guess the simplest answer is we're in the lucky position to manage those relationships. It tends to be very bad for the relationship if they aren't honest. The classic dishonesty we experience is accountants delaying payment, rather than project managers. If you work for a larger organisation you lose this ability (due to the disconnect between depts and the coal-face I guess).

We do project post-mortems and from this we assess where a project went well and more importantly where it went badly, and from this we have decided if we want to work for that client again. Over time that sort of editing has a profound impact on you working environment.

We have won more work than we have lost by this approach.

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Active Participant

Act right according to your moral compass and you will always keep your head high and you will always sleep right at night. No matter how many times you see others make small wins in the short term by not doing the right thing, in the long run, I have to believe, being a good person will bring greater joy and peace of mind to your life.

Certified LabVIEW Architect * Certified Professional Instructor * LabVIEW Champion
Member

"The route to a stress-free life is to tell the truth."

 

I just re-read your post in preparation for the CLA summit and I would like to reciprocate and promote it to Favourite Post Of 2016.

 

Looking forward to tonight!


Joerg Hampel, CLA | hampel-soft.com