A guide to discover Potential, Trajectory and Performance

Potential: currently unrealized ability. From Latin “potentia” meaning “power”.

A person’s ability to perform is based on their potential to succeed. Potential is the ability to be effective long term. Trajectory is the progress one has made on the path to reaching his or her potential. Performance is the act of tapping into our potential — it’s a side effect of potential and trajectory.

We use contractors to increase our short term performance. We hire so that we can increase the long term potential of our company. So why do we focus on performance when we interview candidates? …


Have faith in your co-workers, they give you hope. Always have the courage to execute. My epiphany on the keys to my career success as a leader.

View from Mt. Washington February 2005

I stayed at, or left, companies because of the faith I had in what I couldn’t control. When my faith was challenged, waning, or lost, it was hope that kept me from giving up and leaving. The source of that hope was almost always in people that had the courage to be the catalyst for change. They were the ones who led the way and tried to show us that something better was possible.

Throughout my career I didn’t consider myself “better” than my co-workers. I was certainly never the smartest person in the room. If I wasn’t better or…


78 days, 43 Interviews, 18 companies, 1 job

On August 18, 2016 the NYC startup I was at had a restructuring and I suddenly found myself in the market for a new job. I went from Senior Director of Engineering to Director of Job Seeking within an hour. While I wasn’t surprised there was a restructuring, the timing was unexpected, and I did not expect to be a part of it. My entire focus had been on the startup and I had let my people network grow cold. I was unprepared.

Over the next few days I revived my network. Within hours I reached out to a retained…


A strategy for understanding purpose, perspective, scope, and impact

What are you working on?
Why are you working on it?
How is it going to have an impact?

These are the 3 questions I always ask the engineers I work with. Knowing the answer to these 3 means they are more likely to be engaged, show more initiative, and have greater understanding of the end goal. It helps guard against over/under architecting, prevents unnecessary work, and helps manage tech debt. It ensures that collaboration and knowledge sharing occurs in the planning stages.

In Agile software development, the what is usually defined in the stories for the sprint. The part…


Transitioning from managing technology to leading people

Congratulations, you’ve proven your mastery of all things technical and are promoted to Tech Lead. You’ve tackled numerous software and hardware challenges that you had little to no experience with. You’re now ready to tackle people. How different could leading people be? Your boss doesn’t seem concerned. Your boss would have given you advice if there was any concern about your ability to lead people.

Don’t worry, leading engineers is just like writing code. Just like apples and oranges are both round. Allow me to enumerate some of the differences:

  1. You can’t write tests. An occasional survey is ok.
  2. Abstraction…

Brent Baisley

Architect of systems, people, and teams. Leadership mentor. I connect the dots of code, systems, and people.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store