Developer Tea

Better 1-on-1s With This Simple Question

Episode Summary

In today's episode we're talking about leadership and having better 1-on-1s with our leaders.

Episode Notes

In today's episode we're talking about leadership and having better 1-on-1s with our leaders.

Today's Episode is Brought To You By: WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open source eCommerce solution, built on WordPress. With WooCommerce you can sell physical products, digital downloads, subscriptions, memberships, services, and tickets - plus offer flexible ways to pay, including Apple Pay and Bitcoin powered by Stripe.

AND NOW, If you are a developer interested in building and selling extensions, a great way to earn extra income or even build out a whole business, they have some good news: the marketplace is open submissions! Learn more about how to submit your extension to Woo’s official marketplace at

They're giving Developer Tea listeners 20% off purchases when you use promo code DEVELOPERTEA at (offer lasts until end March 2018)

Jon's Cup of Tea -
Don't forget to check out Mad Monk Tea! Remember the code "Developer Tea" will get you 15% off your order.

Episode Transcription

If you're listening to this episode in a place where maybe you're not driving, want you to do something really quickly for me. Close your eyes and tell me the last three things that you saw. Maybe it was an object, maybe it was a person. Now, if you're in a familiar place, you might recall something from memory of the place. But if you're, for example, if you are a train, if you're on a train and you're driving past a particular building, can you remember what was in front of you? Now, it's more likely that you're going to remember the answer to this question rather than this next question. What is behind you? Not this seems pretty obvious. The reason that this happens and we're going to talk about it on today's episode of Developer Tea. And then we're going to use this same concept to talk a little bit more abstractly about how you can have a better conversation in your next one on one. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you are listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers connect to their underlying purpose so that they can do better work. And have a positive impact on the people they have influence over. So that's what we're doing on this show and that's what we're doing in today's episode because you're going to be more connected to your purpose. If you connect well with leadership around you in your company or beyond your company, you could look at multiple people who act as leaders in your life. But ultimately, if you're not having good conversations with those people, if you're not being vulnerable, if you're not sharing what you think and what you feel, but also getting some kind of leadership advice from those people, some kind of guidance, some kind of career development. Then you're not actually really being led more you're being controlled or you know some other not really desirable position to be in for you or for that leader for that matter. So how can we have better one-on-ones with our leaders? Well, let's go back to our previous question. After closing your eyes, were you able to name three things that were in front of you? It's almost certain that you could. But if you were to close your eyes and try to name something behind you, it's almost certain that you couldn't. It may be that you can name something but having a detailed image of exactly where things are placed would almost require that you are in an extremely familiar place like your own room, for example. So why is this? We're going to talk about that in just a moment after we talk about today's sponsor, WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce solution that is built on top of WordPress, nearly 30% that's a huge number when you're talking about the entire world of the internet, but nearly 30% of all online stores on the web are powered by WooCommerce. And it's fully customizable. You can build a unique store to suit your specific business needs. And you can keep the full control and flexibility by integrating with whatever e-commerce services you need via their existing integrations or with their API. Now since I'm talking to what are likely capable developers on this show, it's important that you understand the opportunity that WooCommerce has for you. Because even if you aren't looking to build an e-commerce store, there are plenty of people, plenty of potential clients, for example, if you're a freelancer, if you work at an agency, who do want to build an e-commerce store? And statistically at least about one in three of them is going to use WooCommerce. This is a huge number of people and it's growing as new businesses start to use the internet to do business. So this is a growing market. Here's what you can do as a developer to take advantage of this. Even if you aren't going to actually be running a WooCommerce site, because you're a developer, you actually have the opportunity to develop your own extensions and integrations for WooCommerce, the WooCommerce marketplace. If you're a developer that's interested in this and building and selling these extensions, this is a great way to earn income or even build out a whole business. Now they have some good news at The marketplace is totally open for submissions. It's been closed down for two years, but now they are wide open. You can actually get started submitting your extension to Woo's official marketplace at slash develop WooCommerce. It's develop dash WooCommerce. And you can also get 20% off of WooCommerce until the end of this month, until the end of March, by using the code Developer Teaat checkout. Thank you again to WooCommerce for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So we've already illustrated that it's difficult to remember things that are behind us, but not as difficult to remember things that are in front of us. And perhaps it's the most difficult to remember things that are not around us at all, or perhaps to imagine things that we've never seen before. This is a difficult process for our brain, and we can learn from this. It's very easy for you to tell me, as you're listening to this podcast, tell me what you're looking at. You can immediately answer this question. But the moment that you close your eyes, the moment that the thing that you were looking at goes out of your focus, that's the moment that your brain starts reconfiguring and changing to whatever it is that you are focusing on now. And this isn't only for vision, this is also true just for our mental processes. You don't have to be looking at something to be focusing on it. So here's what I want you to do in your next one on one. This principle is very simple. The principle is that whatever is in focus will be top of mind. Whatever is in focus will be top of mind. And more importantly, whatever is visible, not just again, not just actually visible to your eyes, but whatever is apparent, whatever is in front of you, is going to be more easily remembered, more easily noticed than something that is hidden. This should be obvious to us. But for whatever reason, we don't necessarily act in accordance with that obvious reality. So what does this produce? What can we do with this information? How can we improve by knowing this information? Well, in your next one on one with your boss, or if it's a coworker or a mentor, I want you to ask a very simple question and you're probably going to catch them off guard. You're used to asking the questions, what should I do? This is a very common question. And it's kind of a creative and enjoyable question to ask and get an answer to. What should I do? Can also be somewhat of a dangerous question because you're forcing the person that you're having the one on one to come up with something that they have never seen before. Now, some of those answers are going to actually look like the answer to the question that I'm going to give you in a moment. But for the most part, if you ask somebody what you should do, if they give you an answer in that same meeting, they probably haven't thought about that. Whatever that answer is very much. And that's no fault of theirs because it's difficult to do this. It's much easier to look at what is in front of us. So the question that I want you to ask instead is what is one thing or you can ask this in addition to what should I do because it is important to get constructive feedback. But instead of asking only what should I do, you should also ask what should I stop doing? This is such a subtle difference. What should I stop doing? And when you ask the question, what should I do? Allow for a delay. Tell the person you're having a one on one with that you want for them to have the time to answer that question without being rushed. And you're willing to wait a few days if they want to provide the answer to you in an email. But you're going to find that if you ask the question, what should I stop doing? That the answer will be much more specific, much more directive, much more actionable than the question, what should I do? Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. These kinds of things, understanding how other people's focus works and how we can work better with them, understanding other people's biases. These are the kinds of things we talk about all the time on the show. And if you enjoy these types of topics that I encourage you to subscribe and whatever podcasting app, you're using right now to listen to this. Remember, if you subscribe in iTunes, that is the best way to help Developer Tea reach other developers like you. It's even better if you leave a review. And I love knowing what you all think of this show. I love getting feedback and I love refining what we do here on Developer Tea to be the most useful for driven developers. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you again to today's sponsor, WooCommerce. If you're interested in building a WooCommerce-powered e-commerce store or if you are interested in building an extension and making some extra money, head over to slash Developer Tea and use the code Developer Tea, a checkout for 20% off. Thank you again to WooCommerce. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.