If in most of the cases when you have a new task, you’re focusing more on opportunities to do it at all cost instead of finding obstacles and reasons why it cannot be done, then you’re a doer-person in my understanding. While others think it’s impossible, you still look for opportunities and find them. But during the way of finding a solution and applying it to life you may create a tension between people. You should bear in mind this while pursuing goals. And this is not about overcoming the wall, but about finding trade-offs, working solutions and synchronization with other people. There is a list of traits which may create the tension on the way.
Being open minded and flexible for solutions, in my opinion, has two aspects. The first one is obviously related to the solution itself, for example, technical solution and the steps which are required to achieve the result. The other aspect is related to the attitude of people involved in working on a solution. The doer-person tends to focus on the first side and forget about the second and this brings the following triad of dark traits. The issue with these traits is you may bump into them even if you think you’re smart enough to avoid them.
Fall in love with the solution
This may be the major dark trait of a doer-person. As the doer you’re putting significant efforts to understand coming problems and find some solution. You brainstorming, put all information in front of you, analyzing every aspect which you see, and trying to fill gaps in your knowledge about the problem. It’s impossible to involve everyone in this process at this phase because it just happens all the time while you’re doing other tasks. At some phase you understand that the solution may depend on other people. So, once you obtain enough information and end up with some solution you initiate a discussion with all concerned parties. During the meeting you see how people tend to discuss things which you’ve already investigated, assessed and found a solution. The things discussed are not always related to people, it can be a discussion about a technical solution that is much less complex and does not take into account some aspects.
At this moment you start to fall in love with your solution. Technically you remain flexible and open minded, but you need facts which proves the solution you choose doesn’t work. But other people don’t give you those facts, they just don’t like the idea, don’t understand your facts or they’re not ready to accept your solution at this moment. Further discussion could increase the tension. Thus, you literally do not fall in love with your solution, but you’re not going to leave it, because you don’t receive facts that could show that it doesn’t work. Indeed, why should you accept a solution that is less effective, more risky and doesn’t take into account aspects that will appear next year?
How would you prevent the tension from being increased? I think you need to remember one rule: people don’t like when someone tells them what they need to do, and people like to work on ideas which have a reflection in their souls. So, instead of sharing a solution, you better share a vision and let go of your solution. People will find a way that they can and want to solve the problem.
Focused on the Solution
In the above example I touched another dark trait which especially becomes obvious when you start to discuss solutions. In short, people don’t want to follow your solution, not because it’s wrong. They just aren’t ready to accept it. This human factor may slip away from the doer-person if you don’t give it attention on purpose. Different people have different levels of knowledge and skills, and more important different scope of problems that they are trying to solve.
First of all, people don’t like changes and don’t like doing anything which they don’t understand the purpose of and agree. In general this is the first wall, which the doer-person needs to break. Unfortunately, just giving facts to people doesn’t work. Attitude, authority, time and way of speaking play, perhaps, even more important roles in overcoming this wall. If from the beginning people don’t like a smart idea, they would deny it. The tricky point here is that more often you won’t hear that somebody disagrees with you. Instead, they will ask you why you think the idea is important. If you try to explain the idea, you will most likely be considered as stubborn. So there was no intention to argue, but it just happens because you started explaining it. Someone asked you “Why?” which means “I don’t agree and don’t want”, and you start to explain because you heard “Why?”, but they listen “You have to accept it even if you don’t like it”. And the reason for such a strange dialogue is the rejection of the idea at the very beginning.
Regardless to how stupid such dialogue might look like, it often happens in life. Depending on the authority of a speaker and type of information this phase of breaking the wall happens in different ways. People need time to think about the idea, to estimate it from a different perspective, and after some time they may accept the idea if it solves their problems. During that period they go through anger and bargaining before ending up with acceptance.
You as a doer-person need, at first, to solve the problem not directly related to your solution. The rule “know your audience” used in presentations also works for finding a solution and applying it to life. Before finding a solution, you need to understand which people will be affected and how they will react to the idea at first, would the idea solve their issues or bring them new problems. Only after addressing such human related points, you can start with finding a technical solution.
Overload with Information
Remember I was talking about such factors as attitude, authority, time and the way of speaking. Another factor which is also important is the type and volume of information which you give to the audience. Bear this rule in mind all the time “know your audience”.
For example, you’re planning a big change in the development process. This includes changes to the development teams and DevOps. As a doer-person, you made an assessment and prepared a “state of art” solution for this. After that you want to synchronize with the teams and present them the solution. The list of things to do includes items not related to a specific team, but your idea is to give them a common visibility. Instead, you, ultimately, explain to them why they do not need it, but they see this point and why it is generally needed. Instead of just brainstorming ideas, you end up talking with the tension and the feeling that the idea is not supported.
The actual problem in the example is that the audience was overloaded with information. Literally, if developers don’t want to work on DevOps tasks, seeing them in the list they will treat them like their tasks and mentally deny by asking the questions “Why do we need this?”, “What is the value?” and so on.
Remember the previous dark trait and slice the information according to the audience to which you represent it. This is rule number one. This can help with the presentation of information, since it will only show important points for people with whom you are discussing a solution. The difficulty is that regardless of the experience of the audience, they think that they are able to work and evaluate any scope of information, but this is far from reality. If they find that you’re not giving the full picture, it will also be poorly perceived. But at the same time, you cannot always give a complete picture. Rule number two — slice the audience. You can give a complete picture if you combine all the relevant teams together, and after that give more relevant information to specific teams.
Regardless of these traits, you must have the ability to throw away your idea. No matter how good it may be, it may turn out that time, people and conditions create an inappropriate moment to bring it to life. In this case, think about synergy and whether you are following your convictions and principles, or trying to please the audience. The second is a short-term goal. The audience changes, its behavior changes, and you have to constantly change with it. The audience can change much faster than you expect, and you may end up in a situation of constant chase for its approval. The first is long-term goals. If you follow your principles and beliefs, then most likely you will achieve your goals, but you may need to leave people. Sometimes it is not easy, but you will need to make such a compromise. And the balance is always somewhere in the middle, there is no “a silver bullet” and ultimate correct methods.