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Using Your Super Powers to Boost Your Career Development



Francisco Jordano talks about the challenges of developing your own career, as it's not easy or clear what the steps are. Even with an experienced career, we do still struggle. But that experience brings other things: knowing ourselves, knowing what we do well, and what our super powers are, as well as what our Kryptonite is.


Francisco Jordano is an engineering manager at Deliveroo. He has been involved with technology for the last 20 years, but it was six years ago when he discovered the joy of helping other developers and teams grow. Previously, he helped shape and build other organizations like Yahoo, Telefonica or Mozilla.

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Jordano: I must start saying something, a confession, I'm very nervous. The reason why is because I'm used to deliver very deep, technical talks, that wasn't a problem for me, but this is my first talk, talking about humans. Humans are harder than software, you cannot compile humans, you cannot debug humans, or not with the tools that we are used. Bear with me, let's see if we can find all the super powers and boost our career development.

I'm going to start with a story first, a story that happened 30 years ago, and happened 30 years ago around this time of the year, I remember perfectly because it was a story about carnival. For those that you don't know, carnival happens exactly 40 days before Easter, it was literally last weekend, 30 years ago. It was me and my mom in the living room of our house, and the phone started ringing. This is that kind of old, chunky phones, really big, and normally while you're in the room, you will hear all the conversation. My mom picks the phone and I identify my aunty's voice, impossible not to identify with this high pitch. "Sole." Sole is my mom's name. "Sole, come on. In two hours I'm going to take the kids and we are going to parade the whole town. Get your little one with a fancy dress and we are going to have some fun there." My mom looks at me, I look at her like and she’s "Well, I don't know, is two hours, we don't have anything ready." Looks to me again, and I use the puppy eyes and my mom says to my Aunty, "Ok, see you there in two hours."

What happens next, this is two hours after that moment. That's me, 30 years ago, pretending to be Superman, I'm pretending to be Superman because it was just pretending. You know what happened there, my mom took my pajama, that blue thing is my pajama, some wellies that I had. I don't know where the "S" came from, I don't know where the "K" came from, but in two hours she managed to deliver a superman, that's amazing. You know what? I paraded the whole town in pajamas. When you're eight years old, you don't know a lot of things, or you are unaware of so many things, but at that age, I understood that parading your town in pajamas maybe is not the best idea.

What happened is that I had one of the greatest moments of my life, I remember it perfectly. The hero of this story is not me, the hero of this story is my mom. I definitely got into going in carnival and enjoying every single year, and she was playing an amazing role there, she was creating all my fancy dresses since then. With more time, more than two hours, with some planification, meeting my aunties, planning all dresses in advance, she managed to create fantastic things. We get at some point where the whole family was dressing together, and she was creating the dresses for everybody. She built up that skill that she didn't have at all, and she managed to create amazing stuff. In fact, the woman that you see over there, that's my mom, joining me and enjoying carnival.

You know even more about me, I'm Francisco Jordano, you know that I parade my town in pajamas, but that's way too much information, and I've seen a lot of things, and I've seen a lot of heroes and a lot of villains. I started my career 20 years ago or so, I started in a small startup in Spain during the dot-com era, very spicy moments, and then I continued working on university, later on I worked for the government, then I moved to UK and I started working for a huge U.S. corporation, then I started trying small startups in UK, jumped back again to a huge Telco here in UK, O2, Telefónica, even moved to a number of organizations working in open source, and nowadays I am EMing at Deliveroo.

I become an engineering manager five years ago, right now I'm here very, happy at Deliveroo, changing the way that people eat, and is amazing. Why I'm telling you all this stuff? Is because I just want to show off? No. I'm not just reading my LinkedIn page just because I want to show off. What I want to tell you is I've seen a lot of heroes and villains in so many different environments, that hopefully, I can share a couple of things with you today.

The Superhero in You

I'm going to start with an affirmation, very simple one. You know what? We all are heroes, yes, we are. At this point you should start picking your super hero name, you should. Why not? You have powers, you have powers that you were born with them, you have powers that you might not know that you have them, or you will have powers that at some point you will train and you will acquire. You are super heroes and we want those super powers to work towards our career development. That sounds incredible, right? We are heroes, that's really good. I have bad news for you, the same way that we have powers that are going to work towards our career development, there are villains out there, villains with powers too, powers that are going to work against our career development, powers that are going to be like a heavy weight and are going to be the opposite that the super powers are going to do.

I have even more bad news. That villain is not your manager, that villain is not the process of the company or a third party tool, that villain is you. You are both super heroes and villains, you have super powers to do great things, and you have powers that actually work against you. At the end of the day, you are the ones that own your career development. That's a big truth, you cannot expect your company to create your career development, you own that.

I really like this example of Superman and Bizarro. Bizarro is actually some kind of clone of Superman, with literally opposite powers, a bit uglier than superman. If Superman has freeze breath, Bizarro has the fire breath, if Superman has the fire eyes, Bizarro has the frosting eyes. That's what's happening inside us, we have all those fantastic super powers, and as well, we have those powers that actually are not working really well.

Today, what I want to talk is about this, is knowing your super powers and put them to work toward your career development. As well, and very importantly, knowing the villain inside you, at the end of the day, those things are going to work against or in favor of career development.

How Do We Grow Our Career?

Talking about career development growing, there is a huge question. How do we grow our career? I don't have an answer, I don't think that anybody have a clear answer. I might have an idea, what I think that it works or I think that should be working for me. Growing your career development, it is something super hard, is a challenge, and it happens no matter where you are in the ladder.

I remember perfectly an intern working that I was helping around 2012, we were both at Yahoo, this person nowadays is a principal architect in Salesforce, working in San Francisco, I'm super proud of him. As well I met directors of engineering that were super successful as individual contributors, and now they want to change back to become individual contributors, and they are struggling a lot even if they were really successful some time ago. Please, this is very complicated, growing your career, let's acknowledge it. Is as complicated for someone that is starting their career, or someone that is actually in the middle of your career, understanding where you want to go.

I don't know how many of you have been on the previous talk from Trisha. It's been amazing, I was amazed by what she was doing, she was explaining some of the things that you can do for growing your career. She was talking about do online training, do courses, go to meetups with blogpost, being top of technologies, learn new language, try to identify what's the next best technology. We need to keep doing those things, we need to definitely invest our time to be doing all that stuff.

Today I want to talk about other things that we should be doing. We need to be looking at the powers that we have, things that we are naturally good at, and we might know that we are doing very well. I remember when I interviewed for Yahoo, it was seven interviews, in two of them, they asked me, how did you grow your career? We're talking about 2007, I was young, and I was, like, "Yes, I grow my career just reading blogpost or reading books from Amazon," because is the only thing that Amazon was doing at the time. Nowadays as manager, it’s my favorite question. It’s not my favorite question because I have the answer for that, I don't have the answer for that, it’s my favorite question because every time that I ask that to someone, I get a pack of similar answers, like the ones that Trisha was mentioning, and as well someone else tells me something different, and that's amazing. Everybody, every one of us, we have different techniques, different tricks to try to be all careers available. For me, when I make that question on an interview, is not about trying to understand if you know how to grow your career, is the opposite, I want to know more how to grow your career and others' careers. That's very important, let's keep doing the things that we do for growing our careers.

The Superhero Movie

Let's think about these other stuff that I was talking, these powers, these things that we do, and we are natural of them, things that we don't realize but we exceed. They are things that they are very easy for us to do, things that come naturally to us, we need to put them to work to our careers development.

Today I have a proposal for you, we're going to try to improve those things by filming a super hero movie. We are going to do three things, today I will do two of them, and I hope that you do the third one on yourself. I'm going to give you the cast of this movie, and I'm going to give you the plot of the movie. What I want is let you film the movie, hopefully you being the main character, and obviously share as much as possible.

Let's start with the plot of this super heroes movie, this is the easiest part. What do we need on a super hero movie? We need the hero, we need that person that has a lot of potential, that is maybe at the beginning of her career, or maybe is in a different part of the ladder of her career, but we need someone that has potential and wants to improve, who’s going to use those super powers to boost her career development. What else do we need? A villain. Remember, is an inner villain, is the villain inside us, is those powers that are working against us and against our career development. We will figure out what those powers are.

What else do we need on a super heroes movie? The sidekick, the companion, you need to get surrounded by people that you really like, people that have super powers, powers that you can use on your favor too. You know what? We want to get surrounded by those heroes that actually are able to ask you the complicated questions. We don't want to be surrounded by people that are going to always cheer up whatever we do, we want to be surrounded by people with critical thinking, people that are going to able to tell us, "You know what? That's wrong."

Then, if the movie is really good and we find the titles of more than two or three movies, we will end up with a team of super heroes. You know what is important for this cast team? This team of super heroes needs to be diverse, way more diverse than these photos that I'm showing here, and it’s very simple why we need that. We need this team to be super diverse for two reasons, the first one, because it will be a very boring movie if all the super heroes have the same super powers. Who is going to watch this movie? No one, I can tell you that. The second one, what happens if all the super heroes had the same powers? They're going to be beat by the villain if their super power don't work against that villain. We need heroes that have different powers, that are definitely able to tackle different enemies. We need that diversity, it's super important in our teams. This is the plot, we're going to have the super hero, we're going to have the villains, we're going to have sidekicks, and we'll be surrounded by a team of heroes too. I hope that that sounds familiar for you, hopefully. Let's go for the second part.

Second part is the plot of this movie, let's see how the heroes are going to develop their careers. In any super hero movie we start with our main character discovering that he's a super hero. In this case, our main character, she's not been bitten by a spider, she's not an alien, so she doesn't have powers already, but she decides to get into an engineering career, that's a huge step, you need to be a hero already. What happened there? That person is bringing all the knowledge that we were talking about before, technical knowledge, that person is learning new languages, this person is learning how to do pull request, how to communicate with others, it's growing her career, and she doesn't realize that is doing other things apart from the technical stuff that are helping her. This is very important, remember, those are the things that you are really good at. Things that are natural to you, and sometimes you don't even realize that you are doing correctly.

What do we have to do first? First, we need to identify those powers. What could be those powers? Something like laser eyes at work? Maybe, can be useful. If you want to get a pay rise, maybe. I'm talking about different kind of powers, I'm talking about powers that define your personality, and how that personality will interfere and will help you with other personalities at work. I'm talking about things like creativity, honesty, openness, being patient, or being versatile. Those are the kind of powers that I'm talking about, and there are huge of list as you can search on the internet. Just look for what are your weaknesses, or in this case, look what are your strengths. There are lists of what are the traits of your personality, and what you should do is invest the time to define them and saying, yes, I think that I'm honest. It's not just defining what you think that you are honest, find as well an example where having that super power helped you on your career level.

I'm going to share with you two of what I think that are my super powers. The first one, and I'm going to give you the examples of why I think that they were super powers and how they worked. The first one, I think that I'm a person that I listen to people, and I'm ready and open to new ideas, basically my super powers are listening and being patient. Do you know this kind of person that when you are starting to tell them a new idea, before you finish, is telling you, "Oh, that's not going to work. Oh no, you forgot about thinking about this."? Ok, I'm not that person, I don't want to be that person. I'm the opposite, I want to listen to everybody, I want to understand what they have to do, and assimilate their ideas.

An example of how I use this power as an individual contributor, it was around 2012 when I got into a meeting room, I was working for Telefónica, is a big telco, O2, the UK branch, and I got into a meeting with some people from a company called Mozilla. There were literally two of them telling us, "We have this crazy idea, we want to create an operating system based on web technologies or phone. We want to build a phone, a new operating system, new stack for phones based just with web technologies.” I was like, "Tell me more about that." That was really good. It was a success when we did the Mobile World Congress, and suddenly we built two teams. My company, Telefónica, at the time, and Mozilla, we built two teams in order to work together to make this phone a reality.

What happened is that we had two companies that they were coming from two different worlds. We have a very agile company coming from the internet, that has been living all her life on the internet, and a company getting into the internet war. Fortunately, I've seen both worlds, and my role here was actually understanding the needs from the Mozilla team and understanding the needs from the Telefónica team. It was not just me, there were more people obviously, but we were helping us actually to bridge the two companies and bring in the two teams together.

I will say that it was a success, after two years, we delivered a completely full stack from whole firm, which is incredible, is our record time, and I'm very happy. Actually what ended up happening is that Mozilla hired me, they saw me working, they saw me interacting with other people, and they hired me. That's an example of how I use these powers.

As an engineer manager, I use this power all the time, the power of listening and being patient with people. It is my day-to-day, every single one-on-one is listening to people, understanding where is the problem, and helping them. Helping them as well understand what the company needs from them, so it works both ways, that's one super power.

What's my other super power? I get excited, excited about new ideas, is that a super power? Yes, it is. Getting excited about new ideas for me was key, actually, when I was working at several companies, I can give you an example. It was 2010, I think, I don't remember exactly the year, but I was working at Yahoo and we didn't have a lot of people in the London office. We had our product manager who knew that I was going to be excited about the idea that he had in mind. He wanted us to deliver all the information about the World Cup. He thought, maybe the people in Europe are more familiar with the World Cup and maybe we are going to do a better job delivering this rather than the headquarters team, because they are based in U.S. and they don't have all the knowledge that maybe they should have for delivering this feature.

This product manager started to run this idea through my team and through myself, we got super-excited, we build on top of this idea, and we manage to deliver amazing product. That was fundamental actually for the headquarters to say, "Oh, you know what? You did an amazing job. We're going to give you more products, we're going to give you more ownership of stuff," and we had it, that was amazing, seeing how suddenly instead of becoming a regional team, we become owners of co-products of a company like Yahoo, that was really good.

As a manager, I use that power too a lot, getting excited. As the manager, I need to get people excited, I need to get people to buy into why we are doing this or that, or why we are changing, or we should know what should be building. Can you imagine that you get your manager telling you, "Hey, yes, you need to throw away the work from two months and focus on the new stuff." That would kill me, what I need to do is communicate to the engineers why we should do that. I need to communicate, "You know what? If we need to stop the work here, is because we saw this opportunity that is going to be huge how you are going to impact the company if you do that work, and literally, we can move on with this kind of things that you want to do." I need to get people on board, I need to get people excited, I need to transmit that. Those are two of my super powers, I hope that I have more of them, but they’re the ones that I wanted to share with you.

Let's continue with the plot of the movie. You're a super hero, you're discovering your super powers, you're doing great, you feel nice, and suddenly you're doing the typical super hero stuff. Saving a kitten, you're doing your expenses report, you're doing a pull request, and suddenly you realize there is another hero, next to you, doing pretty much the same things that you're doing. You realize as well that you like the way that that person works. You realize that is a person that you can trust, that has critical thinking, and you really like how that person is working.

You need to find the sidekicks, you need to find these people that actually are going to help you to develop your own career. You know why you need to find them? Because these people, the sidekicks, those people walking next to you, they know you better than yourself. You may think, "Oh, I'm really good on my pull request. Look, I have seen your comments." Maybe people are scared of you of commenting things, you project some stuff that you believe that you are good at, that doesn't mean that you are really good at. Others, people with critical thinking, are going to be the ones telling you, you are good at that or not. Maybe they're going to tell you that you are good at other things that you are not aware.

When I was talking about this concept with Sally, she was telling me, "Oh, you should take a look to this article from Anash Mam, where she talks literally about this." Is like, others might know you better, the way that she tries to discover that is through a technique called Johari window. I don't know how many knows what is a Johari window? No one? Me neither, I have to look for it. At the end of the day, the mechanism doesn't matter, a Johari window is a way of mapping, what are your weaknesses or what are your strengths, and how others see those things. I don't care what you use. You can use a Johari window, you can use Google Docs, you can use a Google Form, but at the end of the day what you need to be sure is that people tell you how they think your powers are. You will get some surprises, when you think actually that you are doing something well, and suddenly people is like, "Uh, you know what? Maybe you're not that good at that." Unfortunately, we will find out surprises and it’s important that we discover them. That's the real thing, it’s important to know what we are good at and what we are not good at.

Let's move on, what happened next on our movie? We are working really nice, we are learning a lot, we are growing, we are doing nice projects, we are surrounded by sidekicks that we really appreciate, but there's something happening. We don't manage to grow as we want, there is something that is not working, there is a hidden villain there that is not allowing us actually to progress as we want. Very first step, identify the villain, understand what is not working for you, understand what happens within you that you are not good at.

I'm not going to give examples of what are those weaknesses, because probably are the lack of powers, or way too much of those powers that we saw before. I'm going to give you two examples, and this is hard for me to talk about these two examples that I'm not good at, two of my enemy, inner villain, super powers. I don't know if you realize, but talking about things that we don't do really well is very hard, right now I feel vulnerable here when I talk about things that works against my career, things that I'm able to solve, and some of the things that I cannot solve no matter what, but I need to be aware of them.

What are my villain super powers? The first one, I get very easily distracted. I know this has been happening since I was a child, things last in my mind 10 seconds, maybe more like 2 seconds. This is terrible for my career, the productivity, my performance, everything, it's affected by being distracted. I haven't solved being distracted. What I try to do is different techniques to avoid getting distracted that often, I tried the Pomodoro Technique, I've tried several things, and nowadays what works for me is every morning I just create my to-do list and it's a software that I have on my screen, on the top left corner of my screen. Is always visible. I don't have to read it, just with my peripheral view, I know that it's there, it's like a constant reminder that I need to go back and focus. That's my villain super power, it’s really good, maybe I won't be able to actually completely fight and beat that villain, but I know how to work around, or I expect to know how to work around. Sometimes this is really hard, there are days that I cannot concentrate at all, I need to go back to my habits, what can I do to beat the villain?

You know another thing that I'm not really good at? I'm not really good at delegating. Francisco, you're a manager, how you're not good at delegating? That's a good one, as an individual contributor, not delegating, put me by several bad moments of my career. I'm not really good at delegating because I don't trust others, I trust others, I definitely trust others, I'm not good at delegating because I want to do those things, because I get overexcited. You see, there is a power that is working against me, to be the one that does those things.

I remember our conversations with my manager, he's amazing, Danny. "Francisco, you need to build high performance teams." "Yes." "You need to delegate." "Yes." "They need to be autonomous." "Ok." "You need to remove yourself from the equation." "Oh my goodness." I did it, I managed to do it, I understood that I cannot just build my teams, and I cannot be on top of absolutely everything, it’s not possible, because I don't have the time to be on top of absolutely everything. For me was like a survival thing, I needed to delegate. From time to time, I fall back to that bad habit.

Two months ago or three months ago I wrote a slide deck for an incident that we had in the company, so I wrote what my team learned from that incident. The academy is what we have at Deliveroo for new joiners, when you join, just spend some time, that you actually don't work with your team, you just spend time on lessons, how the company works, how our architecture system, etc. The person that runs the academy told me, "You know what, that will be amazing for the academy, an amazing session for understanding what happens in an incident." "Oh yes, that's a fantastic idea." I got super excited. "Yes, that's a fantastic idea. I will do it” One month later, "Hey, Francisco, you are going to do it?" "Oh yes, it's super important, I will do it." "It's done?" "No, it's not done." This person called me and that told me. "Ok, Francisco, you know what? Someone is going to do it." I was like, "Oh, face bomb. Yes, please, let's get someone else to do it." For me was just ok, acknowledging, sometimes just acknowledge something you are not good at and say, "All right, you're completely right, let's just make someone else do this."

Anyway, that was hard, talking about things that I'm not good at. I'm not going to ask you what you're not good at, because that's a very personal question. I would like to ask you, what do you think is your super power or are your super powers? Anyone wants to share what are their super powers?

Participant 1: Yes, I'm usually able to see the good in any situation.

Jordano: You're able to see the good in any situation, that's a really good power, especially when we are in stressful situations. Imagine that we are in an incident, the system falls down, how is it possible to see the best in such situation? Well, I prefer to be surrounded by you, but someone is going to be super stressed, like, "Oh my goodness, the world is going to end." No. What did we learn? You're seeing the good in that situation. Everybody has super powers.

We saw our powers, we try to identify what are our powers, we try to identify what are our villain powers, but let's keep going with the movie. What happens when we fight the villain the first time? When we fight the villain the first time, usually, we fail. We need to go back to our cave, we need to go back wherever the super heroes go together and try to understand, what the heck happened there? Why the villain beat us? How did you do that? How did you understand actually, what didn't work? In my case, my recommendation is to do that by honest, immediate, and candid feedback, that's very important. Do you know what I'm talking about pretty much? I'm pretty sure that some of you, you know, I'm talking about radical candor, this way of delivering feedback in a way that you try to in an immediate way, so the person that is receiving the feedback knows clearly what you're talking about, because you have an example that happened just two minutes ago. You are direct and you are honest, because it's very important to be direct and honest and explain things, like, this didn't work, this can be done better, or this is the way that we can do better. It needs to be done in a candid way. If we are too harsh, people actually will get defensive.

How many of you are familiar with "Radical Candor?" If you're not familiar with it please, read the book, it’s a book by Kim Scott, and it’s a book that definitely changed my way of line. Not just doing engineering management, but approaching people at work in general.

Talking about feedback, how many of you are doing any kind of feedback process of their companies? Like 360? How many of you are doing that process more than once a year? How many of you actually do it constantly without having to be on official cycle? For me that's definitely the way, that's the way of growing others, that's the way of others understanding, what are the things that we can do better? Real example just happened less than five minutes ago on what can we do in a better way?

We continue with the movie, we try to understand what happened, and what I want to ask you as super heroes is that, whatever is your kryptonite, or whatever is your power, be very open because you have teams around it, this is very important. What it means is that sometimes we even acknowledge our enemies' powers, but if we are open and we talk to our teams about, “this is what happens to me in these situations”, or “I don't handle pressure very well”, or “you know what, I cannot do this kind of thing, this is hard for me”, a team or super heroes can accommodate those problems. They are aware and they can navigate together what's going to happen, so please be open and be very informative to your teams. It's very hard to talk about what you are not that good at, but is really worth it that the people working with you are aware of.

Let's continue in the movie, we failed the first time that we were fighting the enemy. We go for the final battle, all the super heroes together, we are in the final battle. What happens? We are feeling strong, we are feeling that we grow, we have our powers on our side, we understand how we can grow, but sometimes in that battle with other super heroes, a friendly super hero is injured. A friendly super hero falls into the power of their enemy. You know what? Is our duty to help them, we need to help our colleagues, we need to help our sidekicks to grow their career too. I find this something that we must do, no matter what, if we want to grow our career.

Have you ever been on a situation where you are mentoring someone or you are giving a talk or you actually need to be an expert or something? The fact that you need to be ready, be prepared to helping others, that makes you become better at that. Growing other careers works exactly in the same way, the more you help others to understand what are their powers, the more you help others to develop their careers, the better for your own, so please, help others.

Find, Test, Grow, Repeat

I have a slide here that is not a super hero, yay. This is the line motif of my team, of the growth team at Deliveroo. Find, test, grow, repeat. What it means? We apply this to new ideas, new things that we want to do, find that idea, test it as fast as possible, understand if it’s viable or not. If it’s viable for the company and it brings all the wins that we expect, grow that idea, scale it, make it work for the whole company or the whole product. Then, once you're an expert there, that idea is working, repeat the process, get the new thing, master it.

This line motif applies to your career development too. Find what you are good at, put it in practice, grow that, and get to the next super power.

That's it, we are ready to beat the inner villain, and we are ready to use our super powers actually to grow our career development. Remember one thing, we are all super heroes here, and we are villains too, be aware of that. It’s very important to know while those things are playing against and in our favor.

Questions and Answers

Moderator: That was both honest and candid, so thanks very much.

Participant 2: How do you start this discussion with the members on your team?

Jordano: It’s not a start of the discussion, it is continues talking. I start when I see some behavior that I think that can be improved. For example, if I see a member of my team doing something that I think that it can be done in a better way, I immediately just go and say, "Hey, this thing that happened to me weeks ago, you know what, maybe it’s better if we do this thing this way, because maybe think about how other people were feeling, etc." Now, you see the situation and immediate give feedback about it as well.

Participant 3: How did you start a discussion about identify your strengths?

Jordano: That happens in my case and it happens in different ways. The first one is when I see something that is really good in a person, I praise for that, and I actually talk about it, so it's like, "Oh, these things that we are doing, you are helping this person to grow, that's fantastic. Do you imagine if you do this for the whole company, how you will impact the company?" I talk about specific things on the super powers, when I praise someone and they're saying when I see the bad behaviors, I try to make them understand what happen. It doesn't have to be a conversation that you need to start from scratch, like, "Let's set up a meeting where we are going to talk about your strengths." No. Just something that you're incorporating on your day-to-day, it’s just giving continuous feedback.

Participant 4: Thank you for the presentation, very nice. I don't really like super heroes movie, but it's a very powerful example. In my personal experience, but not only personal, also for what I observed in other people, usually super powers comes with a tradeoff, and I can give you lots of examples. Let's say you're a person that gets along with everyone, that's your super power, usually your manager will put you with people that do not get along with anyone, and we all like to be with people that are nice and are able to get along, so that might be a bit uncomfortable. Or you are a person that can always keep it cool, and if things goes wrong, you are cold-blooded, your manager will end up always giving you the critical job, and that might get stressing. I have a huge amount of examples, in my experience, super powers comes with a tradeoff. How do you deal with that, with the bad side of your super power?

Jordano: With someone abusing your power.

Participant 4: Yes, because we live in a society, you have a super power and people want to use that, but then the bad side is that can be abused and you end up in a situation that you are not really comfortable with, or you don't enjoy, so how do you deal with the bad side of your super power?

Jordano: First thing I mentioned, being open. I do that with my team members, I have someone that is really good at something that I need to solve, I put that person. What I expect from that person is to come to me and tell me, "I am fed up of doing this, I cannot do this anymore." Or, "This is helping my career." Is like, "Ok, you know what? I'm putting you to do that because is really important, is going to affect your career in this way." I try to convince you why it's important. I need, and everybody needs, all the managers and all the people in organizations, they need to know where you're going to go, they need to understand how you're feeling about things. We don't have magical powers to understand how you're feeling, you need to tell us back, and you need to be honest about it. I'm very direct, like “You know what? I've been doing this for too long and I need to do other things”, and it's your manager responsibility actually to find those things. Participant 5: Sometimes, heroes that have super powers and they are really good at, they struggle to pair with junior super heroes. Sometimes for the interest of the company, that's not very good because then there is no way to grow the team in some ways. How do you deal with that?

Jordano: The way that I deal with it is actually trying to make that person understand, or that very senior person to understand what are her roles or his roles in the company. A very senior engineer, responsibility for that person shouldn't be just code, it should be part of your company's goals or company principles that the more senior you get, the more then you have to get involved and actually train those. I will say that it’s a cultural thing that you need to implement in your company, is not just about, I need you to train people. The whole company needs to understand that senior developer's mission is just being there for guide people and spending time training them, and it should be part of your engineering principles, so everybody understand that you have to do that as part of your work. It’s not that you had to do this, no, as a company we need you to do it.

Participant 6: What if one of the villainous properties of us is being indecisive, so we cannot decide on our super powers?

Jordano: What I would say there is that you definitely have super powers. Find people, the sidekicks that can tell you which one are those, or try to train new things. You feel quite indecisive, that's not bought at all, it’s something that you have with yourself. People knowing that is very important, asking for help and asking others just to say, "You know what? I'm in this situation. How do you think that this can help our team?" Well, if I'm your manager, maybe I will put you to pair with a more senior person on the company to architect the new service that we had to do. Maybe I will tell that person, actually, your work is not just architect this, I want you to help this person actually to build that confidence. It’s important that you talk to your manager, to let the manager understand what you need. It’s very important.

I mentioned at some point, your career development is in your hands. Your manager or the company are those who actually facilitate that, but you are the one that need to say, "I want to go here. This is where I am right now and I want to go here." Use your manager actually to get there.


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Recorded at:

Jun 14, 2019