My boss conducted a talk — jokingly dubbed as a brainwashing session — to us new hires on the team principles. It wasn’t much of a brainwash for me though since for most parts (if not all), I pretty much agreed with what he said. Either that, or I had been brainwashed. In this post I’ll just do a brain dump on three principles that were discussed: Responsibility, Integrity, and Contribution.
Responsibility – For me, this means taking ownership, doing what you’re supposed to do, and inversely, not doing what you aren’t supposed to do. A new phrase I picked up from the talk is “being cause in the matter”. I like how it goes against learned helplessness and the feeling of being victims of circumstances. Sure, you’re up to your knees in shit, you’ve cursed the world, you’ve vented. But don’t leave it at that. Do something about it. Don’t leave it all up to chance and wait till some deus ex machina gets you out of the mess that you’re in. You’re only as stressed (busy, troubled, etc) as you’d allow yourself to be.
During the talk, I was reminded of something my father told me when I got into a really bad situation in college. Pa advised: “Huwag ka magpadala sa problema. Dalhin mo yung problema.” Using Google Translate, that’s “Do you send the problem. Bring the problem.” which doesn’t quite capture it. 😛 Roughly it translates as you shouldn’t let your problems take control of you, and that you should take command of your problems or the situation instead.
Integrity – Two quotes always come into mind when this topic is brought up. First is say what you mean, mean what you say. Second is on how integrity is doing the right thing even when no one’s looking. With respect to being in a mess, this means no cover-ups and acknowledging your misses when you’re at fault.
Contribution – One of the bullet points listed was on helping vs. making a contribution. This then reminded me of a saying about a hungry man and some fish. I can’t remember the exact words but I thought that giving him fish was akin to helping whereas teaching him how to fish was the real contribution. Well, that wasn’t how it was discussed. It was more of instead of thinking of someone or something as flawed, regard it as “perfect” (this might be more challenging for a tester) and just think of how you could add more value to it.
Some related blog posts to these principles and on feedback (also discussed in the talk):
- On feedback
- Help yourself
- Good citizenship
- On whining
- The emperor’s new clothes
- Ultimate team player