Apr 01 2010

Enthusiasm Starts at the Top

Some people can get super excited about their projects, and others can’t wait till it’s done. That attitude, that enthusiasm, bleeds into everyone else on the project. Some people might try to argue that everyone controls their own attitude, and to a degree, they’d be right. But this isn’t about whether individuals can overcome a dominant attitude. That’s not the issue at stake. The issue is that by being glum or not-caring about your project will affect others working on it, and why would you bet on them being able to overcome your apathy?

Clients that don’t care

When you get a client manager that just doesn’t care about his project, that project is going to suffer. When that person doesn’t care about details, the workers don’t care about details. When he doesn’t care about deadlines, the works don’t either. When he doesn’t bother to explain expectations at all, the workers don’t want to try to guess at them either.

Basically, if you’re not willing to care about your own project, why should we? And don’t tell me it is our job to care, cause thats bah-log-na.

When the top guy cares

When the manager or owner of a project really cares about it; when he really thinks it’s an awesome idea and that so much of it will be so grand; that enthusiasm filters down to the workers on the project and makes them excited too. When you have someone higher in the company come by and say “Ooohh” and “Aaahh” at your newest implementation or refinement, you get excited about your work. Or before you start, if said person shows how important he thinks this feature will be, and how much better we’re going to do it that anyone else, that rubs off onto you.

Take a look at Steve Jobs. He thinks his products are brilliant. They’re the absolute best. Everything else is crap. He’s excited about his new products, as the come out, like the iPhone and the iPad. And I’m certain that his attitude about how awesome he thinks his products are, and how great the next version will be, is half the reason why Apple’s stuff really is so good. The engineers and designers there start to think they’re making the best gadgets in the world, and so they try harder to make sure it really is.

Britt Selvitelle from Twitter told a similar story:

I remember from years ago at school a professor of mine got down on his knees and spread his arms to the whole classroom of college students and said “I love Algorithms!” and it really stuck in my mind.

—Britt Selvitelle from Twitter Talks About Passion

I’m sure that professor influenced many of the students to care more about algorithms than they previously might have, and came out of that class with higher scores and deeper appreciation of how awesome algorithms truly are.

My boss cares so much

My boss loves our product. He thinks it’s the best website manager in the world. You can’t tell him differently. And you know what? Because he thinks so, we all think so also. He’s always showing new people our product in his office, and we can hear him down the hallway, saying how awesome this is, and how much better that is, and next release, it’s going to do something else even cooler!

If you have project, and you want it to succeed, make sure you think the world of it. Because your enthusiasm will rub off onto your workers, and even onto your customers.

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