Mark Lund introduced me to a concept he called P.I.E. It was something he taught to all his team members. It was an acronym he used to remind them of what it takes to be successful. It has stuck with me because it is simple, easy to remember and so far in my experience has been very accurate. According to Mark, it takes all 3 of these things to be successful:
- Professional Skills – In order to be successful, you have to be good at what you do. In my world, that means being a better programmer and businessman. Being a better programmer starts by becoming a student of computer science and learning new techniques (AF, DQMH, GOF Design Patterns, SOLID principles, etc.) and processes (TDD, Refactoring, CI, etc.). On the business side, it means becoming a business owner instead of an income producer. This is a long-term transformation, but it starts by educating myself and starting to outsource the things that aren’t the best use of my time.
- Interpersonal Skills – It is not just enough to be technically competent, you also have to be a good team member. Have empathy, be a good listener, be a good communicator, mentor others, etc. Basically be the developer everyone wants on their team.
- Exposure – As Fab says part of the hen’s job is to let the farmer know that there is an egg and that she is the one who laid it. For me, this means sales and marketing. As an engineer, I find it very tempting to think “I’m really good at my job and that should be enough for people to hire me.” The truth is that might be enough, but you have to get in front of the right people first. No one will hire if they don’t know who you are.
I really like Mark’s principles because they apply to universally to everyone, whether they are an employee, an entrepreneur or otherwise. As it is a New Year and I’ve been laying out goals for 2020, I have been thinking about these principles a lot.
A plan starts with knowing where you are
The first step to developing a plan is knowing where you are. Here is my best self-evaluation:
- Professional – Solid programming skills is one of my biggest strengths. One of the reasons for that is that I continuously invest in learning new techniques and processes. I need to keep that up, but I also need to not let that dominate the other 2 areas. When it comes to being a business owner, I need to do a better job of getting things off my plate. I spend a lot of time doing things that need to be done, but not necessarily by me.
- Interpersonal Skills – This is an area where I can definitely improve. I can definitely work on being more empathetic and a better listener. I’ve built some very strong relationships over the past year or two, but I feel like I could do a better job. One big obstacle is that I tend to be more task-oriented than relationship-oriented. I need to give as much priority to maintaining relationships as I do to accomplishing the task.
- Exposure – Being an introvert, this is not my strong suit, but I feel like this year I’ve done a good job of getting my name out there. I need to keep that up. I also feel like I need to be clearer and do a better job of communicating exactly how I can help people. I also need to not be afraid to invite people to do business with me.
So what are my goals for this year? I’ve tried to break them down along the lines of P.I.E. They don’t fit perfectly, but it’s close enough.
- I have several online courses I intend to complete this year: 1 on the Agile Samurai Book, 1 on learning Python, and 1 on Refactoring
- I intend to get my CLED at NI Week this year
- I intend to be in a position at the end of the year to hire another engineer. For measurement’s sake let’s say that means having at least 3 months salary in reserve.
- I intend to hire an assistant this year and beginning outsourcing some of the routine office tasks.
- I intend to use the LabVIEW Mastermind group I’ve started to practice and develop more empathy and listening and mentoring skills. I would like to grow it to 2 sessions of 10 people.
- I intend to use my involvement with GDevCon N. A. to develop my leadership skills. I intend to be mindful of the relationship side of things instead of being so task-based, while still managing to get the conference off the ground. The measuring stick will be simply to have the event go off and make enough money to sustain itself, while still maintaining good relationships with everyone involved.
- I intend to have 50% of my income come from teaching/mentoring through a combination of the Mastermind program, teaching NI Classes and teaching DQMH, Unit Testing, and other custom classes.
- Right now I have ~1K followers on LinkedIn. I intend to grow to 1K followers on twitter and 1K members on my e-mail list
- I currently have ~600 unique visitors to my website every month. I intend to raise that to 1K.
- I intend to continue with weekly blog posts.
- I intend to continue with bi-monthly webinars.
- As a result of increased exposure, I intend to double my income this year
Here is my 2020 Reading List – Again this is just my best guess, I will likely call an audible at some point.