The Goal
By Michael Hedgpeth · September 30, 2016
The Goal

A while back I was working with someone who wasn’t new to technology, but was new to the style of software development that my team was operating within. We worked on getting honest about where he was at over the first few weeks of working together. I could tell this was uncomfortable for him, and, frankly since then I’ve also grown in my empathy for the fear and difficulty experienced by being new with a new technology or process.

I remember clearly talking to my colleague in a 1:1 that he wasn’t where he needed to be successful. He knew it. I knew it.

That’s usually a bad place. That’s usually the place where people give up on each other. That’s the place where both parties start making plans to get themselves out of the uncomfortable situation.

Instead of doing that, though, we talked about his goals. What did he want to get out of this job? Out of his life? What is he missing?

Then we aligned his goals with mine by creating a growth plan that identified some training opportunities, coding challenges, and regular communication.

A few years later and my colleague is doing well. He made the transition. I see so many managers take the easy way out by their inability to see what’s possible in people. If you had a chance to change someone’s life by helping them gain valuable skills and insights that will serve them the rest of their lives, why wouldn’t you take it?

Watching lives change through clear goals has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career.