You

Ivo Peksens
Aug 12, 2018 · 7 min read

How many people do you know who contribute to wikipedia? I mean who create content there. I know none. Vast majority like I, are wikipedia users. Actually I like browsing it now and then as I can rather quickly explore and learn about things. It is amazing how much information is there and how quickly it is possible to grasp a new topic. What is unbelievable is how it has become what it is, the wikipedia.org. It turns out it is never finished, it is under constant change and people who change it also consume it. It is not a service from someone to the rest, it is a service from us to us. That is why wikipedia is so awesome — it is created by people(us) for people(us). But the question still arises: Why so few of us create content? Who are they? How are they different?

Here’s space for your answer…

How many people do you know who create products? Like with wikipedia, almost all of us are consuming them. I am in the count. And that is okay as we live in a world that we’ve built, in a world where consumption of goods and services is a norm. We need a decent amount of stuff to sustain our ways of living. But the question still arises: Why there are people who choose also to create? Why they are far less than the rest?

Here’s space for your answer…

How many people do you know who work for themselves? I mean are masters of their own lives. Probably very similar to previous, majority of us work for someone or in some larger organization. In this way it is obviously easier to sustain ourselves as we get regular often predictable income which is nothing else but good. But there’s also other side of the coin. How many people do you know who hate Mondays or cannot wait for a weekend to come? I know a lot. And this time I am not in the count. There is even a movement (that I am supporting) called Happy Melly that is trying to cope with the situation globally. But I would like to pull us back and ask again: Who are they? Who are those individuals in minority who dear to step off the roll and work for themselves or start a business? How are they different? Why are they far less than the rest?

Here’s space for your answer…

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You

What if for the remaining of the article You could imagine yourself as someone who is creating a content on wikipedia or someone who is a part of product team or someone like a self employed who has just started an individual journey. Can you try? Get into it, think for a while…

Here’s the space for your answer…

How is it going for You in a new role? What is that like creating? Is it matching You? Sounds like a lot of questions, but the most important is yet to come. Do You actually know yourself?

Six years ago I read a book that literally changed my life. I would like to tell You about the three angles from which You can look at yourself and maybe discover something new. Perhaps it will help You align yourself with what’s happening. I was and I am still there, so it is rooted in a real experience of my own.

Y o u a r e u n i q u e. We all look at a mirror at least once a day. What is that we see? Rhetoric question, isn’t it? What happens next? Men and women might have different paths here, but at least one thing is in common — we want to look good, be confident and succeed as the day rolls on. We are sort of connecting with ourselves. But how about having a deeper look and connecting with yourself on another level? I mean exploring yourself from within. For instance, what is that You really like, can, are good at, what are your strengths and weaknesses? These are other kinds of mirrors that You can use. How? There are probably a lot of ways out there, but I can only recommend something that worked for me. Read my full story, including the book I mentioned above here.

You are unique, just discover that and be aware of it, make use of it for your own and other people benefit. That will make you feel a way better and the way we feel is much more than just important. In this regard a fragment from a speech.

Y o u l e a r n a l w a y s. I have spent quite a lot of time studying in a traditional way — schools, university. Many years actually. At some point it stops and You start working or in another words, start applying the learnings in practice. Ups…what we find out? In practice everything is different and everything changes out there all the time. Especially fast the last twenty years. There is a mismatch in general between what you learn at school and what’s on a table today. It is a reality.

No matter what You are doing today, You have to keep going. You have to keep learning. However, traditional form of learning is something You might want last. By traditional I also mean majority of courses, trainings and alike. What You might need instead is as I call it — context based learning, which is: You do certain things to achieve certain goals and You learn what is required on the way. No less, no more, just as much as needed. And when I mean learn, I mean literally everything — learning yourself, learning other people, learning technologies, etc. Why learn everything? In simple words-because world, businesses, our lives become more complex. When things get more complex, it becomes even harder to tell what impacts what. Therefore, taking into account more aspects of our being and coexistence can help You make better decisions about what to do next. In this regard the full speech. How to do the context based learning? Please continue reading…

Y o u a r e n o t a l o n e. How many products or undertakings You know that have been completed by a single person? I know none. There is always some kind of cooperation and collaboration in place. You are not alone and You have to admit that. No matter how smart You are, You still depend on others as well as others depend on You. It might look like things get done or results are achieved because of You, but in reality it is always a result of co-thinking, co-creating, co-delivering. Yes, You are still unique, but the end result is never an outcome of one. And like with learning, You also have to consider literally everything. You not only achieve results together with others, but You also spend time with others. The way You interact — talk, listen, behave has an enormous effect on the way You all feel and your ability to deliver as a group.

What is a team? What does that mean to work together? What does that mean to achieve together so that not only results are awesome, but also people feel great? It is a large theme, but shortly — it is something that is not simple, is changing all the time (people come and go) and mainly — can be designed, observed, explored and adjusted.

I previously asked You to continue reading, so here it is about the context based learning— in the same way You discover (learn) yourself, team can discover (learn) itself. And it can change team’s life in the same way it can change yours (it happened with me as I mentioned). Every team of people is as unique as You are and so is team’s context. What works for You, does not work for me, what works for team A, does not work for team B. And who do You think knows best what works best? You. No, team. Team has to do the learning according to its needs and context.

But how? How to do that context based learning? What needs to be done to help team learn (discover)?

There is a difference between a single person like You and a team of people when we talk about discoveries. A known fact (more from Richard Hackman) is that teams (after those are designed) need an external help in order to self discover, reflect, learn, grow and become great. It just does not happen by itself. One specific example — groupthink is a very widespread pattern and proof why teams need external attention to succeed.

For many years industrial type of management was the only approach to working with people and teams. Nowadays, the approach is more of a mix of a traditional management, leadership, coaching, facilitation, mentoring, training and other. Put simple — every team needs someone from outside that can help it move from where it is to where it wants (can, need?) to be. How to do that? Involve. Ask team a question, listen, ask another one, listen again. Challenge. Bring team a mirror. Help team see. You can do it.

How is it being an imaginary wikipedia writer or a product builder or a self employed? What did You discover? What would You like to do next?

What will You do next?

Me?

Depending on a situation and a context — manager, leader, mirror, reflector, helper — the one who is there for the good of a team.