Correct posture for helping others

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After everyone is promoted to a certain level, they will be required to bring new people. How to bring new people to be successful? When evaluating performance, do you only look at the presence or absence of people, or the specific effect of bringing people? If you look at the effect, how do you measure the effect? This is a problem I encounter from time to time in the process of career coaching. I think I can write down my framework and share it.

First of all, bringing new people and more generally mentoring and coaching can certainly be done well or poorly based on results, but when you’re just starting out, it’s more about efficiency than effectiveness. This is not to say that you don’t look at the results at all, but that you can pass the work on a reasonable level of difficulty without pursuing better results.

This is a bit like the goal of writing code when a programmer is just learning to program: to compile and execute as expected, regardless of performance or elegance. First you need to be able to write code, then you need to write more, and the faster you write, the more you can write in the same amount of time. After you’ve practiced a lot, think about how you can improve other metrics around programming. If you don’t write the correct code in the first place, or if you don’t have enough exercises, no other metrics can be optimized.

After you have the opportunity to bring people, first make sure that others can actually get help from you. Simply asking “Do you think this helped you?” is enough, and most of the time people will say “helpful.” If you find that the other party hesitates to tell you “helpful”, you can ask “what can be improved?” Maybe you shared a lot of information, but didn’t answer the point; maybe you provided a lot of theories, but They still don’t know what to do next. Try to get feedback directly or indirectly, it is not difficult to provide effective help to others.

After confirming that others can get help, the next step is to improve efficiency. We can measure efficiency with a single value: leverage—if you can save others n times by spending 1 time helping others, what is this n. When the efficiency is the lowest, n=1, which means that the other party needs to get help for you to help him, and you are not much faster than him. (If n<1, you should seriously consider whether you should bring someone.) If you bring a new person, you can usually do n=2 or even n=3 at the beginning. After all, you are more familiar with the entire technology stack than the newcomer, even if you help him Do his job, and you should do it a lot faster than he does it himself.

The goal I usually recommend is n=8, which means that if you work 8 hours a day, you can save 1 day by spending 1 hour on someone else. There is a distance from n=2 to n=8, no one can do n=8 instantaneously, but take this as a long-term goal, and keep trying to optimize to improve the value of n. At this time, it is very important to have a consciousness: only help the other party for things that must be helped by outsiders, and do not need to help things that he can slowly learn and improve himself.

To use an analogy: imagine an object on an inclined plane that is not sliding down due to friction. Because static friction is much larger than dynamic friction, gravity cannot offset static friction, so the object will not move, but it is possible that gravity is greater than dynamic friction, and it can be accelerated as long as it moves. All you need to do is provide that force that overcomes stiction in the first place. Without this force, the object can be permanently stationary relative to the plane, but once it is in motion, it can gradually accelerate no matter how low its initial velocity.

This is not in conflict with “teaching a man to fish”. After you teach a person basic fishing skills, you can let him improve his fishing efficiency through training. He should want to catch more fish, so that he can go from hungry to full, and then to Can sell fish to make money. He may not have a good experience at the beginning stage. He can’t eat enough of the fish he catches, and he will go fishing again when he is hungry. But your efficiency is also very important. The higher your efficiency, the larger the scale you can help other people who can’t fish at all. These people are going to starve to death because they can’t fish at all. (Assuming that there are indeed a lot of people who can get value from your help and are all waiting to get help from you.)

In order to achieve this goal, after helping others, it is best to review it yourself, think about where your efficiency is not high enough, and how you can improve the cost-effectiveness if you encounter a similar situation again.

Once the efficiency is up, you can start focusing on the problem. It’s like when you become proficient at programming, you want to find hard problems to solve. Puzzles are hard because you cannot solve them by providing information (including knowledge, data, etc.), and the real obstacles often come from the awareness of the person you want to help. There may be something hidden deep within his values ​​that he doesn’t even know about, preventing him from reaching his goals. You may be able to tell that his goal is to the south, but his values ​​will lead him to the north.

Sometimes you just provide him with information (a map), and he can analyze it logically: either adjust the values ​​so that the values ​​allow him to go south; or give up this goal. Sometimes you’ll run into a very stubborn person who thinks that if you just go far enough north, you’ll get there by going around the globe. You need to dig out how his previous life experiences shaped his values, and then you can decide if you can do something about it. The commonality of these problems is only at this level: you can’t use your knowledge and logic to help him, you need to understand what this person has gone through to become what he is today.

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