Monday, December 15, 2008

test: character is what you are in the dark

This is a post I've written, re-written, left as a draft and abandoned for weeks at a time.

(My last attempt?  August 17, 2008!)

This is a post I keep returning to over and over because I think this is something important, something essential, to the well-being and success of product managers that merits discussion.

The challenge is that it always comes out sounding like common sense. 

So I'll just come out and say it. Well, I'll just let Dwight Moody say it.

Character is what you are in the dark.

It's something I look for in people on my team, and that I try to find in myself, for better or for worse.  And I'm not just talking about "character" in the classic sense, but in a more comprehensive way.

Are you someone who wants to please?  Who needs to be right?  Who loves crowds?  Who hates them?

Someone who prefers silence, or noise?  Who is comfortable with uncertainty?

What are the lenses through which you see opportunity, risk, loss and reward?

What can I anticipate you to presume about a given situation?  What is your "tare weight"?

I think we're all interesting for our faults, not just for our virtues.  So let's talk about them openly, not just as part of some performance improvement plan, but to see how we all fit together.  

There, done.   This post will never be what I want it to be, but I guess that's how it's going to be.


Alain Breillatt said...

So say a little more about Tare Weight - I'm interested in your thoughts on what this means to you.

Another thought on character: “We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny.” Charles A. Hall

We are not born into this world with fixed habits neither do we inherit a noble character. As Confucius says: the nature of men is always the same. It is their habits that separate them.

bob said...

Tare Weight is the allowance you make for packaging/wrapping before you put the food (or whatnot) on the scale. In the context of this post, I think of Tare Weight as the allowances we have to make for each other before any work starts.