Tag Archives: career

Bring Solutions

There’s a good chance that problems exist in your company. No team, process, or tool is perfect. Identifying these problems is relatively easy. But have you ever wondered why so few venture beyond simple identification? My years of experience in the industry show me that 99% of people stop there, adopting one of two attitudes:

  1. They incessantly complain, becoming bitter.
  2. They adopt a defeatist attitude where nothing changes, leading to depression.

It’s rare for someone to choose the third option: suggesting solutions.

Depending on your career stage, this can be simpler or more complicated. Paradoxically, it’s easier to suggest solutions early in your career. Here’s why:

When you’re a junior, your work scope and sphere of influence are smaller. The problems you identify and the suggested solutions usually have limited impact, and the implementation risk is relatively low. Often, your idea improves your day-to-day life but has little or no effect on the company. Moreover, you usually only need to convince your immediate superior. And even that is questionable. Early in my career, I often just changed how things were done.

On the other hand, as you advance in your career, the stakes rise. You may identify a problem whose solution requires money, time, and even subtle or drastic changes in the company’s organization.

The challenges are complex and often involve multiple departments. It can be challenging to perceive these problems immediately. Some may have cascading effects, not being immediately evident. Before proposing solutions, it’s crucial to identify the problem. This involves convincing others of its existence and presenting concrete data and examples. Often, this requires taking the issue to the highest levels of the organization. Convincing high-level executives usually demands considerable effort.

The Reality of Managers

As a manager, my day-to-day life is a whirlwind of meetings, decisions, and, of course, problems – both mine and the team’s. Solving these issues is part of my job, but let me tell you: when a team member comes to me not only with a problem but also with ideas to solve it, it makes all the difference. This initiative shows that the person is not just passing the problem forward but is genuinely engaged in finding a solution. This helps me untangle things faster and adds value to our team. It shows that the employee understands the business and cares about the company’s progress, a crucial point for those seeking professional growth.

This ‘roll up your sleeves’ attitude and seeking solutions, thinking beyond the basics, makes someone stand out. When I see a team member demonstrating this proactivity, I already think of them for future leadership opportunities. That’s because these actions don’t just solve the immediate problem; they create a more collaborative and innovative environment. And that’s the kind of mindset I seek to develop. If you have a suggestion, don’t hesitate to bring it forward. You might be solving a problem and opening doors for your growth in the company.

The Art of Presenting Solutions

When you encounter a problem at work, focusing only on the issue is tempting. However, to stand out, it’s crucial to think about solutions. First, deeply understand the problem. This might involve researching, observing how the problem affects different company areas, and asking for colleague feedback. Remember, an accurate diagnosis is half the solution. The solution is not always obvious.

With a clear understanding of the problem, start developing solutions. Here, creativity is your ally. Think of innovative but realistic solutions. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; sometimes, a slight improvement in an existing process can make a big difference. Also, consider the available resources and possible resistances. A viable solution is one that can be implemented with current resources and has a chance of being accepted by the team and management.

When you have a solid solution, prepare to present it. Create a clear and concise argument, supporting your idea with data and examples demonstrating its benefit to the team and the company. Prepare a presentation or a document summarizing your proposal. This shows professionalism and facilitates understanding of your idea.

Finally, be flexible and open to feedback. Be prepared for discussions and questions when presenting your solution. Listen to concerns carefully and be willing to adjust your proposal as necessary. The ability to adapt your ideas and collaborate with others is as important as identifying problems and suggesting solutions. By following these steps, you will solve problems and demonstrate initiative and leadership ability, valuable qualities at any stage of your career.

How About You?

Now, I’d like to hear from you: how do you deal with challenges in your work environment? Is there a situation where you identified a problem and proposed an innovative solution? Share your experiences in the comments.

Discipline in Disguise: The Unseen Journey Behind Extraordinary Achievements

The year 2023 has unfolded in an extraordinary way for me. In January’s first week, my wife and I embarked on a marathon at Disney, our first since 2015. This time, our Florida vacation was exceptionally splendid. Breaking away from our norm of choosing the most economical accommodations, we indulged in staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

On this trip, I deviated from our usual practice of renting basic cars and chose a Mustang instead. Although we were fortunate to have my friend Silvio host us for a part of our stay, I generally prefer to economize. However, this occasion was an exception.

Further into the year, I participated in a Spartan race. My performance exceeded my expectations, particularly considering my age and historical challenges with many of the race’s obstacles. I was immensely proud of this achievement.

A highlight of the year was our trip to Spain, where we celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. The two weeks we spent there have etched into my memory as a treasured experience.

Professionally, the year was marked by significant achievements as well. Following a reorganization at my company, I took on the responsibility of managing a new team in the Cloud Engineering division. This team plays a critical role in our company’s product development and daily operations.

In the realm of personal development, I managed to read 66 books. While this number falls short of the 125 I read last year, it remains a commendable accomplishment.

Some might perceive my recounting of these events as boastful. Perhaps it is, to some extent. However, what I truly intend to convey is that all these remarkable experiences and accomplishments are the fruits of countless hours dedicated to mundane routines, disciplined repetition, and consistent effort.

A monotonous life.

Behind these achievements lies a life of routine, often perceived as monotonous.

As Alex Hormozi aptly puts it, ‘Extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time.’ My life since early 2022, and even before that in preparation for our trip to Spain, epitomizes this sentiment. It may seem unexciting to an onlooker.

The journey began in 2021 when I initiated the planning for our twentieth-anniversary trip. Crafting a budget and diligently saving money meant making sacrifices and foregoing certain luxuries. Our lifestyle became more restrained; restaurant visits became rare, travel was minimal, and cinema trips ceased altogether.

Deciding to run the marathon required even greater financial discipline, as we were saving for not one, but two significant trips. Consequently, our social engagements were further reduced, aligning seamlessly with the demands of marathon training.

Training for a marathon is a commitment few are willing to make. It involves countless hours of running, often indoors on a treadmill due to the harsh Canadian winters. But it’s more than just running; it encompasses a rigorous diet, ample rest, and a strict avoidance of unhealthy foods like sweets and alcohol, sustained over several months.

In parallel, I was focused on professional growth. Aiming to enhance my leadership and managerial skills meant investing time in reading, studying, and introspection.

My daily routine for the past two years has been a testament to discipline: waking up at 4:15 AM for a regimen of reading, studying, meditating, training, and working, followed by more reading before retiring around 7:30 PM. This routine, which includes maintaining a single meal a day, is repeated six days a week.

Had I started this post detailing these aspects of my life, it might have deterred many readers. A life of such structured routine and discipline isn’t commonly sought after. However, it’s this very foundation that underpins the desirable outcomes of enjoyable vacations, physical fitness, and career advancements.

A recent tweet resonated with me: ‘There is no easy way. Only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline.’ This encapsulates the essence of my journey.

Start practicing today.

Don’t wait for the new year or Monday to begin. Identify an important goal for yourself and devise an action plan.

Set your goals, establish a consistent routine, and focus on the process. Accept that there will be hard days, but don’t give up. The reward will come in time.

Remember, extraordinary comes from the ordinary sustained day after day. Your future achievements will be determined by the choices you make now.

Career: Internal Mobility

Throughout my career in IT, I’ve done a bit of everything. In small and medium-sized companies where I started, it was common for me to fix a network one day and deal with a rebellious mouse the next. It wasn’t exactly what you’d call “internal mobility,” but I certainly wasn’t standing still.

However, when we talk about large corporations, the story changes. My first leap to a large company was with IBM around 2004. I’ll save the explanation for another day, but I thought I was being interviewed for a position in the Unix team. Imagine my surprise on my first work day when I discovered I had been hired in the network team!

While I began to learn as much as I could about networks, whenever possible, I tried to get involved with something related to Unix or Linux. It was challenging, as the company was rigid, and each team had well-defined roles and access.

I ended up helping here and there, chipping in, volunteering for jobs where the network and Unix teams would work together, and occasionally getting access to Linux servers used as firewalls, making them “network equipment.”

When we moved to Canada, I worked for Morgan Stanley. There, things were even more rigid. Not only because it was an even more restricted environment in terms of separating what each person or team does, but also being a third-party employee, I didn’t even have visibility or access to other people or groups. Combining this with a low salary and the fact that I automated my job, I didn’t last long there before resigning.

When I went to work for Google in 2015, many things caught my attention and showed why the company is a leader in so many aspects and – at least at the time – was an excellent place to work.

But one thing immediately attracted me: An “Engineering Exchange” program where employees from one department could apply to work for a completely different department for a few weeks to a few months. That’s how I ended up working in one of the data centers there, but that’s a story for another day.

Fast forwarding to the present, I’m again in a large company, and this time in a leadership position. I was thrilled to discover that there are official and grassroots internal mobility programs where groups exchange employees for three months or more.

This discovery led me to reflect on the multiple facets and benefits of internal mobility, not only as a manager but also from my experiences. Over the years, I realized that, regardless of the company’s size, internal mobility has always played a crucial role in my development and those around me.

Let’s dive a little deeper into this topic. First, let’s consider the advantages from the professional’s point of view. Why is internal mobility so valuable for individual growth? How can it shape a career and open new horizons? Let’s explore this together.

Benefits of Internal Mobility for Professional Development

Internal mobility allows employees to acquire new skills and experiences, expanding their professional competencies. Professionals can learn new functions, technologies, and processes by changing positions or areas. This contributes to their growth and makes their profile more complete and attractive in the job market.

Furthermore, internal mobility encourages employees to step out of their comfort zone and seek new challenges. By taking on new responsibilities and projects, professionals must apply their knowledge in new ways and develop problem-solving and adaptation skills.

Another benefit is that internal mobility acts as career planning within the company itself. Employees can plot a growth trajectory, going through different areas and positions according to their professional interests. This increases their employability.

Internal mobility also allows professionals to discover new areas of interest and vocations. For example, an employee may start in the sales area and then find more affinity with marketing. This flexibility helps people find their talents.

Lastly, internal mobility sends a positive message to employees, showing that the company cares about their development and is willing to invest in them. This improves engagement and commitment to organizational goals.

From the company’s point of view, there are also many advantages:

Benefits of Internal Mobility for Companies

Internal mobility allows companies to fill vacancies with talents already familiar with the culture and organizational processes. This reduces the costs and time spent on recruiting and integrating new employees.

Moreover, internal mobility helps retain talent, reducing turnover. Professionals who see possibilities for growth within the company tend to stay longer on the job.

Another benefit is the development of a more diverse and flexible workforce. By providing experiences in different areas, internal mobility makes professionals more complete and prepared to assume various functions as needed.

Internal mobility also promotes innovation, allowing for exchanging knowledge and experiences between areas. Professionals familiar with different processes can bring new perspectives and ideas.

Finally, internal mobility improves employee engagement, as they feel valued by the company. This increases productivity and the quality of work delivered.

Conclusion: Embracing Internal Mobility for Growth and Innovation

After navigating the diverse landscapes of the IT industry for years, one truth stands out unmistakably: internal mobility isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. It’s a dynamic two-way street that benefits everyone—professionals gain new skills and perspectives while organizations nurture a more versatile, engaged workforce.

In smaller companies, internal mobility is often an organic process, a part of the daily workflow. In larger corporations, however, it requires strategic planning and active encouragement. But regardless of the company’s size, the value remains the same.

For my fellow IT professionals, I encourage you to view internal mobility as an opportunity for discovery and growth. Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone. You might uncover hidden talents or passions that could redefine your career path.

For the leaders and managers out there, fostering a culture that supports internal mobility is investing in your organization’s future. It’s not just about filling positions internally; it’s about cultivating a workforce that is adaptable, innovative, and deeply invested in the company’s success.

So, whether you are charting your career path in IT or guiding a team, remember internal mobility is more than just a concept—it’s a practice. A practice that brings about tangible, rewarding changes: it’s an investment in people and, ultimately, an investment in the company’s future. Embrace it, encourage it, and watch as new doors of opportunity swing open for both individuals and the organization.

Taking Ownership of Your Career: Invest in Yourself and Achieve Professional Growth

Imagine you are visiting a lawyer to get assistance with your legal questions. He looks at your request and says: “You know what, I don’t know much about that. But if you can buy me a few books and reimburse me for training, I can help you.”

This is a paraphrase of something Sandro Mancuso wrote in his excellent book “The Software Craftsman,” and it really resonated with me.

As a manager, I try my best to give my team opportunities for self-development and constantly lobby upper management for a training budget. However, in this post, I emphasize the importance of taking ownership of your career and personal growth.

You may be one of the fortunate individuals whose employer invests in their employees, providing training, books, and time to learn. Alternatively, you might belong to the majority who never get that lucky. Investing in yourself is crucial for career development and self-improvement, regardless of circumstances. It enables you to become more capable and effective in various aspects of your life, leading to greater career opportunities, promotions, and higher earning potential.

To take charge of your professional growth, consider these practical tips for investing in yourself:

  • Set clear goals: Identify your long-term career objectives and short-term goals to focus your efforts and prioritize learning initiatives.
  • Create a learning plan: Develop a plan to achieve your goals, allocate time in your schedule for learning, and commit to it. Be intentional about what you want to learn and track your progress.
  • Read regularly: Reading helps expand your knowledge and gain insights into different perspectives. Make a habit of reading books, articles, or blogs to stay current in your field and broaden your horizons.
  • Leverage online resources: Utilize free or low-cost online courses, webinars, and tutorials to deepen your knowledge and skills.
  • Learn from your peers: Collaborate with colleagues to share knowledge, discuss ideas, and enhance professional development.
  • Embrace failure: Use failure as a learning opportunity. Take risks, make mistakes, and reflect on what went wrong to grow from the experience.
  • Practice continuous improvement: Strive for excellence, look for ways to improve, and embrace feedback and criticism as opportunities for growth.
  • Network: Build a strong network of contacts to open doors to new opportunities and expose yourself to fresh ideas.
  • Stay curious: Cultivate a mindset of curiosity and wonder, and remain open to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives.

Remember, investing in yourself is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. By taking ownership of your career and actively pursuing professional development, you’ll become more valuable to your current employer and better equipped to navigate the ever-changing job market. So, embrace the challenge and embark on the exciting personal and professional growth journey.