“I engineer less for goals and more for systems that allow me to improve rapidly and seize opportunities as they arise,” says Henderson. “That said, I recommend making a list of experiences and skills that you’d like to acquire and use it as a map, updating it at least annually. Knowing where you’ve been is as useful as knowing where you want to go.”
And of course maybe equally as important -- where you don’t want to go.
“Early in my career, I hadn’t learned to say no yet,” says Edge, of JAMF Software. “So I agreed to a project plan that there was no way could be successfully delivered. And I knew it couldn’t. If I had been more assertive, I could have influenced the plan that a bunch of nontechnical people made and saved my then-employer time and money, my co-workers a substantial amount of pain, and ultimately the relationship we had with the customer.”
Automic’s Wilson gives a pep talk straight out of the playbook of University of Alabama’s head football coach Nick Saban, who preaches having faith in your process: “The focus is in following a process of success and using that process as a benchmark to hold yourself accountable. To develop your process, you need to find mentors who have obtained what you wish to obtain. Learn what they did and why they did it, then personalize, tweak, and follow.”
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