Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tech Dad Manifesto

On October 3rd, 2017 at 7:13am, I became a Dad. I was preparing for that moment for a long time, but I truly had no idea what the moment would bring. The minute my daughter Victoria arrived, my life changed from being the best me to be the best Dad. Immediately, I started thinking about new improvements to my personal and family process, which would positively impact Victoria and Brandi my wife. I blazed through books such as “Dude, You’re A Dad” and “Dad Jokes”, and believe it or not, even started investigating purchasing a minivan (GASP!). I was away from the office for about a month, and in that timeframe, got used to being #1Dad (I even have a plaque). I cooked, I cleaned, I shopped, and I did a lot of baby snuggling. The time I spent with my new family addition was awesome. 

Unimpressed Baby Is Unimpressed

Then reality set in, and I realized, that in order to continue being #1Dad, I would have to elevate my game at work, both in terms of process and delivery. Now even though our tech team alone added 11 new little humans to our families in the last year (2017), I understand that not all of us are caring for little ones. But I am confident, that all of us on the tech team, struggle with elevating our game at work while having enough time to care for or participate in the things we love.
Whether its kids, puppies, or video games, the struggle of maintaining a balance of consistent high performance and time spent on the things or people you care about outside of work is real! After spending a month at home with my daughter and wife, I realized I needed to tighten up my process to fully utilize every possible second of time toward the things which would provide the biggest gain in personal process efficiency. The below statement of action is what I challenged myself to follow:

The Tech Dad Manifesto

Be Purposeful In All Activities
I refuse to do things without an agreed-upon purpose. Activities that I cannot attribute to a predetermined goal do not lead to my teams or my own long-term success. Goals are established before the tasks are initiated. Goals are prioritized based on some sort of needs analysis. I understand that when finished, some goals may not turn out to be impactful. It is ok to only know what you know, and try and establish the best course of action with the information at hand. Ignore the noise.

Be Disciplined
I will eliminate all unnecessary distractions. Whether it’s closing browser windows, turning off my phone, or aggregating team member questions to a pre-determined “question time”. My time is precious, and I have to ensure it is best used. I will politely exit conversations or meetings which do not have a purpose that relates to my goal or task. I am the master of my own time, and while I understand that I am not perfect, I will strive to improve my time discipline every single day. Every second counts.

Be Honest
I will give and receive feedback immediately and constructively. When I see an opportunity for improvement, I will voice my opinion, even if it uncomfortable to do so. I will voice feedback with the intent of improvement and care. I will change my behaviour to ensure feedback is received as constructive, and not belittling or passive aggressive. When I receive feedback, I will take action on it, and ensure the feedback giver is treated with appreciation, even if the feedback is hard to hear. Do the right thing.

Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
As a technologist, I understand the pace of our industry is very fast. I understand that in order to keep up, I have to always be learning and refactoring. I will not apologize for not being the master of all domains. I will be comfortable, with the fact that I need to keep learning, advancing, and that I may not remember all the things I have learned in the past. I will always strive to learn new things, document, implement and share my learnings. I will not be disheartened by the daunting task of implementing my big dreams. I will not become complacent in my thirst for knowledge and I will not give up. Obsessed with finding a better way.

Be A Team Player
I will believe in my team and contribute my ideas to their process. I will be engaged, and make clear expectations of my team members to be as well. I will not stand for disengagement and will seek to understand the reason behind its occurrence.  I will lean on my team and expect they lean on me in their time of need. I will foster and rely on relationships throughout the team, as a way of solving hard problems. We are the “they”.


Above all else, I will strive to achieve a balance between what I deem most important, and the activities to support said thing. I will not spend all my time on one while sacrificing the other, but I will not use the first as an excuse for not performing at the other. I will be purposeful, disciplined, honest, uncomfortable and a team player. Due to this approach, I will be able to provide for my family, while being the best geek I can be. That is how I will remain #1Dad and a top contributor on my tech team.

My 2017 Gilbie :)

WIFM (What's In It For Me)

I know, not everyone is #1Dad, or #1Mom…or plans to be, or even wants to be. But I am confident that every one of us wants more time to do the things we love, and most of us want to be awesome at what we do.

The above tenants were individually derived from the experience of the Crusaders team, and they have worked really well for us to date. I am a firm believer that they are highly reproducible for each and every one of us, and while not easy to perfect, will improve your ability to strike a balance between doing the things you love, and the thing that allows you to do those things. Ask yourself, what do you love to do? What is the reason you push yourself to be better every day? 

For me, that reason was re-defined on October 3rd, 2017 at 7:13 am.

Mission in life: #1DAD

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