It’s the Little Things That Make a Big Difference

I’m excited to be back at AYE again this year.  The energy levels and diversity of skills and people that travel from around the world to be here really set this conference apart from the rest.

Tonight I connected with some folks I met last year and it’s amazing after a year what sticks.  Last year I didn’t know what to expect and this year I am opening my eyes to find one thing each day I can learn and take back and use immediately in my day-to-day life.

We as humans often see big problems and feel a need to solve big problems that seem impossible to solve. While I didn’t know what to expect last year, I took away 5 simple things from our gracious hosts that I believe helped me be a more effective person:

Steve Smith: I learned to ask for what I want and stick around to negotiate.

How This Helped: You don’t know what you’re going to get if you don’t ask.  You may feel that you want to ask for less assuming the other side will reject what you are saying, however, ask for what you want and stick around to negotiate.  You may be surprised by the results.

Esther Derby: When I was asking how to approach my team and push all the knowledge I gained in order to help them she replied with “Make it about them.”

How This Helped: This helped me realize I’m not the focal point as a Scrum Master or Coach.  It’s not about me, it’s about them.  It’s helped me become a better listener and also helped me be more attentive to understanding other people.

Johanna Rothman: In context of how to get started as an Agile Coach/Consultant she said “start writing”

How This Helped: Blogging frequently has helped me find my style and learn more about myself all the while giving me the opportunity to share what I know with others.  It’s also a great way to gain more contacts and has inspired me to write a book that’s in progress now.

Don Gray: I missed the warm-up tutorial and Don talked with me and gave me the book “What Type am I” to understand Myers Briggs Type Indicators.

How This Helped:  Most importantly this helped me realize that as an Introvert I’m not just a weirdo that I initially thought I was!  It’s helped me understand myself and other people better by recognizing other types and how to more effectively interact with them.

Jerry Weinberg: If you say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’ your ‘yes’ becomes meaningless.

How This Helped: This has helped me be more honest with myself and worry less about the reaction I’ll get by saying ‘no’.  This prodded me to learn about Christopher Avery’s responsible model which has helped me learn the difference between obligation and responsibility.

These 5 simple learnings have made a profound difference in how I approach my life.  Last year I would have said ‘my work life’ however I also learned, from Jerry Weinberg, that why do we separate work life from home life?  It’s just life.

It’s amazing what sticks and here I am a year later with vivid memories of those conversations and stories of how I’ve been influenced by them.  Can’t wait to see what the next 5 little things will be this year.