Tuesday, June 28, 2016

That was a great solution!

What would it feel like to be acknowledged for a solution you suggested, implemented, or supported? I guess that would depend on who you are, how you interpret feedback, and perhaps what the circumstances were during the time you were acknowledged. People respond to feedback differently, including positive feedback. The reason for these different responses can be generalized into many categories, but we will use three main ideas in this example; self-perception, perception of others and environment.

Self-perception (i.e. life experiences, self-perceived value, expectations) is how you view yourself. It affects how you interpret situations. For example, maybe you’ve experienced a tough situation at home where a family member was hospitalized, maybe you’re mentally preparing to run a marathon, or maybe you feel self-doubt about your ability to meet the standards of others because you’ve experienced failure in the past. These life events affect how you view yourself and they influence how you interpret feedback from others.

Perception of others (i.e. body language, authority figure, appearance) is how you interpret others. The presentation of others could include the way they dress, the facial cues they communicate, a fragrance they’re wearing, their tone of voice and other verbal and non-verbal cues. All of these human to human signals could remind us of past situations where we experienced a positive or negative emotion. When these emotions are triggered, good or bad, it could affect how you perceive others and this in-turn could affect how you interpret feedback.

Environment (i.e. timing, location, events) can be easily explained by using scenes from a movie. For example, the hero in a movie is saved by a girl who managed to stop a bad guy from getting the hero. The hero dialogues with the girl about how thankful he is that she saved his life. They talk about how if it was only seconds later it would have been too late. Meanwhile other people are trapped inside a burning building, the other bad guys are getting away, a top secret device is being stolen and the audience is yelling at the TV screen to get on with it! Seriously…! Was that the time to take a 5-minute break from all the havoc just to acknowledge someone for the value they added to the situation? Couldn’t a simple “thank you” suffice for the time being and then after all the events have cooled off come back and spend the same 5-minutes to express gratitude? Maybe the hero could offer to take her out for coffee or lunch, give her a thank you card and emphasize the real value that her actions brought to the successful outcome of the situation. It’s been said that timing is everything and in situations for offering feedback, the environment can affect how you interpret feedback.

We can’t always anticipate how positive feedback will be interpreted. Sometimes a simple “thank you” will suffice. However, if it’s followed by “you’re doing a great job, let’s get together for lunch this Thursday” that would be an entirely new level of awesome. Acknowledgments go a long way. They offer a boost in someone’s confidence, it motivates others to keep up the good work, and it reminds others that they are important. It’s critical that we engage and acknowledge others for their efforts. We can only hope that the message will be well received.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Technology drives Human Factors

How far will the advancements in technology take us? I remember when I first attended college I became passionate about understanding people. I wanted to identify how and why people respond differently to given situations. Technology has played a significant role in helping me to evaluate the data and with the ever increasing amount of new technology, which allows us to capture more and more information, the opportunity to evaluate data, make correlations, and identify cause and effect is becoming more readily available.

Analyzing data has always been fascinating. I remember during one of my psychology classes we were discussing the behavioral approach to psychology; the belief that environmental or external factors influence and shape our behavior. In this approach observation is a key element to understanding why an individual will respond a certain way to a given situation. For example, if there’s a fire in a bedroom one person will run out of the house for safety while another will find a fire extinguisher, return to the fire and attempt to put it out. Identifying and understanding why these two individuals respond differently to a situation could assist in determining what jobs would be the best fit. However, this is just one factor and it doesn’t exclude someone from a career. If, for example, the person who ran out of the house for safety wanted to become a fire fighter, then having the knowledge that they run away from fire could provide insight into the type of training they will require in order to help them overcome their behavioral response to fire.

With the advancement of technology, it’s possible that we could improve our understanding of how and why certain behaviors are triggered. Technology will enable us to analyze more variables and correlate other factors which influence human behavior. Technology will help us to more accurately determine cause and effect. This information will enable us to improve a behavior response so that a person could improve their skill sets and perform tasks that might not otherwise be possible in given situations.

Advancements in technology will continue to improve our ability to apply new methods for assessing human factor variables. These analytic processes will advance our understanding of human behavior and assessment tools like the Data Driven Approach to Hiring Talent, screening process for selecting Private Astronauts, and team development designed to improve organizational performance.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

It's Not Me, it's You

Isn’t software development just like a relationship? We either make it work or we dump it and move on. So what is it about development that makes us push beyond those tough moments and overlook the little things? Is our long term vision of what we’re developing the key factor that pulls us forward? Is it our common purpose at work that helps to create our organizational culture? When like-minded people are pulled together because they share the same vision they become a support group for each other, they become the motivation, the drive and they protect each other from outside distractions; a culture develops.

Having a clear vision, a common goal, gives us direction.

So what happens when we reach our destination? What happens when we achieve our goal? Do we marvel at the success of our work? Do we take a deep breath and smile? Or do we dwell in the hard times that we had to overcome in order to achieve our goal? In my own personal experiences it’s usually a quick celebration that could last a few hours over sushi and beer or a weekend break to reflect on the long awaited success. However, it doesn’t take long before I begin thinking about the next project and I start to feel the pull of wanting to get back to the adventure of working with my team and pursuing the next goal.

What is the vision that you share with your colleagues? Do they share the same vision?

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.