Love Should Not Be a Four-Letter Word for Software Development Companies
Sometimes in high tech companies, the focus is mainly on the numbers (financial, hours, etc.), but that really misses the fact that human beings – no matter how logical they are – are motivated by the heart. Loving what you do, loving your clients, and loving your fellow employees drives real success.
Love for Technology
We each have one life to live, so best not to spend such a limited resource doing work you don’t care about. If you work for a technology company, but don’t have a love for technology then you might want to consider whether there might be other companies that are more aligned with your ultimate passion.
In my experience, developers who love love technology also love opportunities to learn new skills and techniques. Being asked to consider the benefits of a new language, new design pattern, a new part of the technology stack is a joy, not a burden. The challenge of breaking new ground is a thrill not a fear. The only help most developers need to motivate them towards mastery is making sure they have the time (and sometimes a timebox to avoid over-engineering) and opportunities to do so.
Love for Clients
The point of technology is to provide value to someone. To do this effectively, you have to know them, discover what they truly need, and care about fulfilling the need in a timely fashion; but you also need ongoing concern for their well-being. In a nutshell, you need to show love for them. Loving clients, just like loving anyone else, involves spending time with them and having open communication.
Filtering all decisions through a lens of love for the client helps avoid short-sighted decisions. If you love someone, you wouldn’t:
agree to meet a date if you know you couldn’t make it.
not telling them as soon as you know you might be late.
deliver a half-baked solution.
withhold feedback if you see a better way to serve them.
Loving someone doesn’t mean you just do whatever they want for free. Their best interest is having a mutually-beneficial relationship where both parties deliver value to each other. Giving a discount that can’t be sustained can hurt the client in the long run in terms of setting expectations and potentially under valuing the relationship so that the company decides not to keep them as a client.
Love for Your People
"A great place to work is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.” — Robert Levering, Co-Founder, Great Place to Work®
Employees want to know that companies (or at least their boss) care about them personally. They want to know they are looking out for their best interest – keeping them safe, making sure their compensation is equivalent to others doing similar quality work, and helping them to find opportunities to grow. Once again, this involves an investment by their boss to spend time with them and having open communication.
There should be an emotional connection that feels bad and drives action when an employee is not feeling fulfilled in their work, when an employee has to work overtime, and/or when employee isn’t being paid what they are worth.
By the same respect, we also need to show love by being willing to tell our people hard truths. They need to know where they need to improve. There are times they need to pushed out of their comfort zone to succeed. There are times where we need let them know that they are in the wrong position based on their demonstrated skills.
One of the important tasks those in management is show love to their employees by taking the time to hire the right people, and when necessary letting someone go for the good of the rest of the employees.
So don’t be afraid to talk in terms of love… because it's the passion the drives excellence.