“As you move higher and higher in the world of success, more and more of your job becomes “people development.” Ask, “What can I do to ‘add value’ to my subordinates [ed: or peers]? What can I do to help them become more effective?” Remember, to bring out the best in a person, you must first visualise his best.”
David Schwartz, in “The Magic of Thinking Big.”
When chasing down the source of a quote recently, I came across this source of five classic books that are now public domain. I’d already read four of the five, but hadn’t come across “The Magic of Thinking Big” published back in 1959.
It has a surprising number of insights and quotable quotes about thinking big, which I’m finding motivating. As an industry, we still have so much to accomplish with the OSS we develop, implement and use. We sometimes have a tendency to lose sight of the big goals and get stuck in the minutiae, so despite not discussing OSS once and having an element of “rah-rah” to it, I think this should be a go-to book for any OSS exponent looking for inspiration.
Anyway, the main point of today’s blog actually relates to the quote above from David Schwartz. OSS is too big for any person or even any organisation to know it all. To do it better, we have to make everyone around us better. The best I’ve worked with have not only been technically brilliant, but have had the ability to lift those around them.
Henry Adams stated, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Our organisations require a culture of teaching. It slows us down in the short-term, but builds perpetual improvement in the teams around us for the long term. As indicated in “Who are your teachers?” your teaching culture can represent your biggest potential competitive advantage in OSS.
The longer we each remain in this industry, the more time we need to spend adding value to the people around us. The question for all of us to think about though is “How?”
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