Developer Tea

Why Most People Fail at Fixing Operations

Episode Summary

How is it that we know the right things to do but often don't do them? In today's episode we'll be discussing internal operations that are so clearly correct but sometimes we fail to do it.

Episode Notes

How is it that we know the right things to do but often don't do them? In today's episode we'll be discussing internal operations that are so clearly correct but sometimes we fail to do it.

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode.

In 2018, Linode is joining forces with Developer Tea listeners by offering you $20 of credit - that's 4 months of FREE service on the 1GB tier - for free! Head over to and use the code DEVELOPERTEA2018 at checkout.

Episode Transcription

How is it that we know the right things to do, but we very often just don't do them? At an organizational level, this question becomes even more important to answer, and as it turns out, many business books that line the walls of corporate offices and bookstores everywhere, especially in the airport for some reason, these books detail these kinds of operations and ways of operating better, but yet our businesses tend to operate the same ways and be somewhat change resistant. So what is it about operations that can be so clear in our minds and yet we fail to implement? That's what we're talking about in today's episode. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, I'm listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers uncover their career purpose so they can do better work and have a positive impact on the people they have direct influence over. And this is important to recognize that operations is a part of what you do every day. In fact, operations may be able to explain what you do every day. There is no charge to the word operations, positive or negative, and the easy way to recognize this is by kind of negating the word, not operating. Well, if you're not operating, then you're not really taking any action at all, right? So sub in the word action. What is wrong with our actions? What is wrong with our way of viewing actions? How do we know the right actions to take and yet we don't do it? Sometimes with programming, this can be as simple as knowing that it's good to test your code and not taking the time to test it. Or it may be things like knowing the right actions to take for your own mental or physical or even spiritual and emotional health and still falling to the same vices or to the same old bad habits that you always resort to. And the answer is not simple. I empathize, I sympathize with you. I've been there. I know that the answer is not simple to this question because changing behavior is one of the hardest things we do as humans. I'm not talking about changing the behavior of others. I'm talking about changing our own behavior. It's very difficult to change our own behavior. So even when we do have insights about what we should do and even when we have pure clarity about what we should do for whatever reason we have this disconnect, right? So what is that? What is the disconnect between knowing what is right or having clarity on what is wrong and actually taking action steps to fix it? We'll talk about that right after we talk about a sponsor, Linode. With Linode, you can spin up a Linux instance on the Linode cloud in just a few minutes. All you do is choose your Linux distribution, the location that you want your node to be launched at. They have 10 data centers. So choose your data center. And then finally your resources. Now, Linode provides all kinds of resources. For example, let's say that you have an application that really benefits from concurrency. It doesn't do a lot of data crunching, but it does have a lot of traffic, for example. Well, you may want a bunch of smaller Linode instances that are connected together. Linode has you covered. They provide a service called node balancer. And this allows you to launch your application on multiple nodes. And then essentially point people's traffic to a single IP. And the node balancer will take care of the rest for you. This is an incredibly valuable kind of thing that Linode can do. And that's one of a ton of various resources that Linode provides. Another one is long view, for example. If you want some analytic power to understand what's going wrong on your server, maybe you want to understand memory usage over time, for example, long view would allow you to handle that. So go and check it out. Linode is going to provide you with $20 worth of credit. You can use that credit. By the way, you don't have to use it just on a Linode. You can also use it on their services. Go and check it out. Respect out of FEMS-Lash Linode. Make sure you use the code Developer Tea2018 and check out to get that $20 worth of credit. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So let's discuss this gap between knowing what is correct or knowing, you know, knowing a direction that you believe to be the right way. And how you come to this conclusion, we can do multiple other episodes on. It's going to be a conglomeration of your personal values, but also things that you believe to be true about the world. So systems and principles, these are things that you will, you know, kind of use in coming to the conclusion of what you should do, but actually taking the action, building the structure that you're going to kind of implement this, this new plan, a new way of doing things, you know, building that structure and actually implementing it, that's where most people get tripped up. And this is what operations is all about. And the missing link, the missing link that we always forget is that we have to take into account human factors, human factors, psychological factors are probably the most important piece of this puzzle, but human factors, these are, these are the biggest barriers to action than any other, any other thing that might prevent you from taking actions bigger than money. It's bigger than time, human factors, understanding why people do what they do. If your operations are not considering human factors and behavioral factors, understanding how to encourage, not only encourage, but enable people to act in particular ways, regardless of how compelling your argument is for why this particular way of doing things is better than the old way. If you are ignoring the barrier of human factors, then you probably will have less adherence. Now, that doesn't mean that no one will adopt it, right? For some people, adoption is a little bit easier. Perhaps the value that you've presented in your original argument is going to be enough for them to go ahead and make the change, right? To follow your leadership, follow, follow whatever it is that you've laid out. But even for yourself, you must consider that human factor. And this comes down to understanding the way that people see things, the way this people perceive things, comes down to framing things in a way that will encourage people to see the value in it. Now, I want you to be extremely careful here because the last thing that I want to do is encourage manipulation on the show or encourage you to present something in the light that isn't accurate, that isn't actually depicting the reality of something. I'll give you an example of this. If you tell one team member that the reason that you're doing something is one thing. And then you tell another team member that the reason that you're doing something, that same thing is a different reason. And you're kind of shaping those reasons for each of those team members. Then it's very possible that you're not being completely transparent with those team members, right? If you're in a leadership position in particular, if, however, you present those, both of those reasons to those people, your real intentions become clarified. And the subtle piece of manipulation that you have to avoid is that misattribution. Now, the reason that you want to avoid manipulation aside from ethical dilemmas or anything else is that people eventually recognize it. In Dale Carnegie's extremely popular book How to Win Friends and Influence People, he identifies the fact that caring for another person, not acting like you care for them, but actually cultivating a care for that other person is perhaps the most important piece of winning the Mover. So you can't play the game. You can't just put on the face and provide the framed version of your story to get what you want. In the long run, people will figure that out. And ultimately, you're going to end up breaking relationships that way. So it's much better to recognize early that transparency is the better option. Again, beyond ethical standards, even for effectiveness, even if you're willing to, you know, lay aside ethical standards and try manipulation in the long run, it's not going to serve you well. And by the way, the people who listen to this show, hopefully you know this by now, but if you're listening to this show, we're calling you to a higher standard than that anyway. Right? We want to do things in a way that is ethical. We want to move beyond just effectiveness and also move into ethics and move into doing things with a greater sense of integrity. So in this process of learning how to take into account human factors, while also balancing that with a need to be transparent and honest, what you'll find most likely is a need to align on a goal, a need to align on a goal or on a value. Essentially, you need to find alignment where you and another person agree. This is mutually beneficial in these areas, for example, right? Or we both believe that heading towards that direction is good. And here is how that's this is going to help us do that. When you present things in terms of alignment rather than some strategic goal, then you're being both transparent and you're considering human factors. Again, the key to implementing better operations changes to your operations and affecting positive adherence to those changes is to present the alignment factors, the ways in which you align with the other person or for yourself, the ways that you align for yourself, the things that you believe in, the things that you are going after, focus on those things for your operational adjustments. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea and thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. With Linode, you can get started in just a few minutes, choose your node location, your distribution and your resources. Like for example, long view, or node balancer, go and check it out. You get $20 worth of credit. If you had a chance to get over to spec.etham slash Linode, use the code Developer Tea 2018 to check out. Thank you again for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.