14 September 2015

Process not product

Over the last few weeks I have experienced frustration that while I have moved to London to set up a UX team to support the rapidly growing Search engineering team here, there has been no commitment to assign any headcount to the team. Also right now is performance management time where everyone gives and receives 360 feedback, at this time promotions and performance scores are given. This time forces you to focus on what you have delivered for the company and this is directly compared to your peers who you are ranked against. Peers who have more team resources supporting them. 

I have been pre-occupied on the lack of commitment to support my UX team, complaining about the problem and trying to practice the classic ninja spirit of endurance.  The word ninja comes from two Kanji characters, shinobi and mono, which can be read in two different ways. The words shinobi and nin mean "stealth" or "quiet action" but they also mean "to endure”. Sha means "person" (Nin Sha). So the Kanji characters mean "a person skilled in stealth" or "one who endures."
Ninja: Stealth or to endure

But I think this has been the wrong approach, too much focus on the end result of getting sufficient support and recognition. While patience is having the capacity of calm endurance, my focus could have been on giving myself time. 

Giving yourself time is actively working towards a goal without setting a limit on how long you will work.

It reminded me of being frustrated when I started to work towards my second degree black belt in TaeKwon-Do. Younger people in the school who did not have the time restrictions of a busy work and family life were progressing faster than me, and I was struggling to remember all the fine details of movement to perfect the necessary patterns (forms). After I was able to eliminate my own deadline from my mind it was like removing a weight from my body.

Mr Suska, 5th Dan, performing Ge-Baek (2nd Dan pattern)

So what can we design ninjas do differently? We can work towards our goals but remove our own self-imposed pressures and give ourselves time to achieve them. For me right now means re-focusing my negative energy to create an environment where UX team members can be successful and being transparent about the consequences of not having these additional resources the team will most likely grow. 

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