Unlearning is one of the hardest parts with any transition. You bring with you many years of experiences, expectations and biases. These have built up over time through different work situations you have adapted to. Past experiences allow you to hit the ground running when it comes to work and communication. They can also be heavy baggage, slowing you down. In a startup this baggage could be the very thing that’s holding you back. You’re looking at completely new problems with views that don’t match your situation.
Here at Dolittle, we’re hitting refresh on many of our previous assumptions. Looking at old problems with fresh eyes. How we approach our coding practices. How we are working with customers. How we are approaching contracts. How we are building products. We’re re-learning, and allowing our culture to grow.
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ” -Shunryu Suzuki
An example is communication. Coming from a very distributed team, a few of us wanted a more formal process. More documentation, more written communication. This is important down the line as we grow, but not so much in the beginning when priorities change almost daily.
Hitting refresh is an important part of starting anything new. Making it explicit that you need to take a step back and reconsider your expectations. You’re going to have new problems and you can’t deal with them if you’re focusing on solving the problems you had in the past. At the same time, it’s important to leverage universal learnings and principles. It’s also important to recognise the context in which those are valid.
Are they really valid to you now?