Almost three years ago I walked into a meeting room. It was a casual meeting about a new feature/change I don’t really remember. I had an opinion in my mind, but it didn’t feel right. It was a thought, more of a cover up, a temporary fix rather than a solid brick for a stable product strategy. Anyway I walked into the room hoping that someone would see the issue in a different light. Maybe start a thought that would resonate with us and form the right solution.
I let everyone speak their mind. Different approaches, most of them with the same flaws I recognised in my own approach. I mentioned my own thoughts. I tried to infuse my proposal with a sane amount of doubt, but on the other hand I needed to sound decisive. Thats what I was supposed to do. Decisions.
To my surprise no-one had objections. Everyone agreed that my approach is the best. I let the lack of objections convince myself that another problem was solved.
Thats when the thoughts started. I have been for a long time part of something very special. A company constantly growing, a set of co-workers from the finest knowledge workers but also people I have met. Yet I had manoeuvred myself into a position, where each of my thoughts was accepted without question.
That year I stepped away from my role as Head of UX/Design. I decided that I should move on and put myself again into doubts way.
The marketplace component was ambitious at a time. A long time thought of all the founding team I was allowed to work “on a perfect buying experience”.
A fresh team, doubters, a constant struggle to convince and be convinced. An environment that provided sparring-partners in order to test your thoughts. To formulate your hunch and say it out loud. Does it still sound convincing once if left your thoughts and found its way into the real world? I strive for this kind of discussions. I flourish in them. Sometimes I throw out a weird idea just to discuss it. Sometimes this idea - even spoken out loud - sounds perfect and I was fortunate that I was in a position where I could demand “disagree but commit”.
So what is your definition of success? Do you feel successful if everyone in the room is accepting your authority or do you feel alive when you are challenged?
There is no right or wrong I presume. I have come to the conclusion that nothing in life is. Perspective rules.