What is commitment?

To succeed in anything meaningful takes commitment. It’s only when you tackle something difficult that you discover what it means to be so committed that you will do whatever it takes to achieve your goal.

For something to be difficult doesn’t necessarily mean that you lack the capability. It might be difficult because you’re busy with other things. It might be difficult because it conflicts with other priorities. It might be difficult because it’s actually quite a dull job, but you’ve promised someone that you’ll do it.

Real commitment is what keeps us going late into the night, working on something that HAS to be finished and there isn’t another opportunity before the deadline. It’s what keeps us focused and motivated even when we’re tired and ready to sleep. For some people, it’s what gets us out of bed unusually early in the morning or gets us to break a routine for the sake of the important task.

So today, ask yourself, what elements of your business or job are you so committed to, that you will do whatever it takes to see them done properly? And what elements of the work are you less committed to, so that you will allow them to be done late, badly or not at all?

Then consider, what can you do about the areas where you lack commitment? Can you delegate? Can you change your attitude? Can you change the product or service you offer?

Think about it. Lack of commitment is infectious. If you’re not really committed to what you’re doing, it might rub off on your customers, colleagues or staff…

Just do it!

Here’s a simple way to get yourself motivated on Monday morning – or any time. This process is useful for focusing your energy and attention on a specific task. It can help you overcome habits of procrastination and also to motivate you to do something that you do not enjoy.

It takes practice to get the very best results from this, but most people can derive benefit from it straight away.

Here’s what you do:

1. Identify the specific task that you want to complete – now.
2. Think about the task and notice the picture you have of it in your mind’s eye as you think about it.
3. Adjust the picture in your mind’s eye – it’s not its content, but its structure that we’re going to change:

• Make the picture bigger
• Make it brighter
• Bring it closer to you so it’s really ‘in your face’
• Add a stirring sound track, a piece of music that makes you want to get up and move

4. Go and complete the task!!!

Soft Skills for IT

I recently saw this question posted on LinkedIn and it got me thinking…

Question from:
Roger J.

Is the increased focus on soft skills within IT providing a climate where people no longer are good at hard skills?

Compared to old developers, new developers do not make the effort to learn to become better developers and think that good is good enough. Code quality and pride in work seems to be rapidly decreasing. Developers no longer code outside of work nor do they buy books to help them get smarter. They aren't even reading articles online while at work. 

How many professionals are hiding behind the gift of gab and if the focus wasn't on soft skills would be immediately out of a job?

My answer:
(From the perspective of a provider of 'soft skills' for IT professionals) 

This is a great question and one that really got me thinking. Is there really an emphasis on soft skills for developers at present? Most of the groups of IT professionals that we work with include PMs, Analysts, PMO and a few testers but rarely any actual developers. 

I would also add, that in my experience developers tend to be smart people and if they want to increase their interpersonal skills they usually pick up relevant ideas and useful skills very quickly. One of the biggest issues is that colleagues elsewhere in a business tend to disregard the opinions of technical professionals, assuming that they only know about technology. 

The net result is often not that developers can't relate to non-technical colleagues but that they are unwilling to because of the way they are treated – as 'geeks' and freaks who have no interpersonal skills. 

The soft skills needed to bridge the gap between business and technology have to be built from both sides of the divide.