What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?

16 Jun 2023

Professionalism and Professional business practices.

There are a lot of people who will claim to live and breathe agile values and principles, but in practise, they don’t.

You walk into agreements, deals, and arrangements with the belief structure that this person is honest, transparent, respectful, and open, yet you quickly learn that they aren’t.

Sometimes you get lucky, and it doesn’t cost you money or opportunities, but more often than not, there is a price to pay for taking people at their word and failing to inspect and adapt quickly.

Make distinctions with professionalism.

The Agile Manifesto speaks to values that can sometimes be misconstrued or misinterpreted.

An example of this is ‘customer collaboration OVER contract negotiation’.

It doesn’t mean that you don’t need contracts, or that you shouldn’t look to others to fulfil their contractual obligations, it means that there is an emphasis on customer collaboration OVER following a contract to the letter.

In business, I have learned the hard way that you need contracts to protect your interests.

In the absence of a contract, and both parties honouring the spirit and letter of that contract, you can get burned.

It’s really important that we have tools, processes, systems, plans, and contracts.

It’s really important that we are able to act, decisively and fairly, should someone fail to honour their agreement or contract. So, don’t allow yourself to live and breathe the agile values in the hope that others will take these values and principles and philosophies to heart in the same way that you do.

Without contracts, tools, processes, systems and other critical elements of running a business, you aren’t a professional, nor will others treat you like a professional.

Authenticity

There is a tendency to focus on the text book, the subject matter experts opinions, and to follow the curriculum or best practices to the letter when you start out.

It isn’t that helpful. People could simply read those things themselves, and they wouldn’t need your help or expertise to move forward. You need to be present.

You need to bring your human-ness, your expertise, your experiences, and your insights to the table.

Your work matters and your contribution can be significant. Remember that.

Be authentic, true to yourself, and dig deep to ensure that your contribution allows someone else to move forward or learn something valuable to them.

You will be far more effective, in whatever you choose to do, if you bring your whole, authentic self to the table.

It takes courage, but it pays off in spades.

It’s more than okay to be your authentic self, it is absolutely essential.

So, take off the mask and show up as your authentic self, it is a game changer for your career, your clients, and the people who work with you.

Those would be the two things I wish I knew back when I started.

  • The need for professionalism and professional business practices.
  • The need to be authentic and true to myself.

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