Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interviewing the Company Where You Are Interviewing

When looking for a new gig, a manager--heck, anybody--needs to get a good idea of what she is getting into.

During the interview process (and I'll have more posts about actually being interviewed and doing the interviewing in the future), the main point of the people who are interviewing you is to determine if you'd be a good fit (or any kind of fit, depending on their overall desperation) for the role available. This puts a lot of pressure on you to perform for them and assure them that you are a good fit. You did show up to the interview, so you do want the job, which means that most people doing the interview feel as if they are in the driver's chair of the whole interview process.

This does not have to be so.

Maybe its because I'm a control freak, or maybe its just a good idea, or maybe people have been too scared to tell me to do otherwise, but I don't trust the judgment of other people, exclusively, on big decisions in my life (like taking a new job), especially people I've never met before today. Just because you managed through hours of meetings or a 10 minute phone call and they think you're a fit, doesn't mean that these people who've never met you before are experts on your ability to fit in with them. They barely know you.

Its important for you to evaluate if you are a good fit for their company, as well.

This doesn't mean you stop jumping through their hoops, admiring the salary options, salivating at the free coffee, etc. But it does mean that in addition to trying to impress them, you're also trying to let them impress you.

This mindset, when managed properly, can show on your face and in your demeanor. You don't want to operate as if they have something they have to prove to you--that's the quickest way to get booted out the door as prima donna. But people who come prepared, having read up on the company and the industry, and ask good questions that pertain to the future of the job and the company, get higher marks on interviews AND they are satisfying their informational needs about fitting in.

Spending time interviewing them back--in the friendliest way possible--can provide you with clues about the work environment and, for most people you actually want to work for, will impress them.

When accepting a phone interview, set up a time when you don't have to be rushed. Look up the company and the industry before the phone call. Review your resume so you can take a pop quiz on it (which is often what phone interviews are all about). Don't worry about saying "I don't know," but always finish "I don't know," with "I will find out," and an explanation of how you'll do that. No one expects you to know everything, but they do expect you to know how to find out.

You will always be given a chance to ask questions. The first question should always be to the interviewer him/herself: how do you like working there? What are some of your favorite things? People like to be asked about themselves; it puts a plus in your column in their head, which is always good if you're talking to a screener or other person that can stop the interview process if they don't like you. Listen to the answer. The more specific they are about what they like, the more you can compare to what you like. The vaguer they are, the more likely that they are either a) in a hurry or b) not as wildly excited about working there as they hope you'll be. Don't be afraid to ask them specifics about vague answers. Be good-natured and tell them you're honestly interested in what they have to say and think (and be interested--if they continue to hedge or admit they've just been hired, or burst with repressed anger, you will be).

The next question is to ask about the office environment--are people podded together in cubes, or have their own desks they can configure, or do people have doors and offices? What works best for you and how does it compare to what they have? Ask about dress code for the office and for the upcoming interview. In the tech sector most people don't care what you wear, but if you really want the job and someone really does care, you want to be covered. Sometimes interviewers refuse to give details, because they want to see "what you'll do." If that's the case, shy immediately away from wardrobe questions.

Unless you're talking to someone you'll eventually be working with (like a boss or a co-worker), that's it for questions on the phone unless you have some of your own. If it is a boss or co-worker, ask them to describe the team you are joining. If lots of buzzwords are used, Danger Will Robinson. If lots of specifics are discussed and/or you can hear a smile in their voice, you're probably headed for something good. Just make sure that the team environment they describe is one in which you know you work well. Feel free to ask questions about communication--does everyone hang out on IM or do they do everything by shouting over cubicle walls? How noisy it is there?

When arriving for the interview in person, dress as was suggested by the phone interviewer. If they didn't suggest anything, I typically swear at them in my head, and then wear a suit. If things look more casual, I can take the jacket off to blend in with nice slacks and a shirt. It's hard to get dressier once you've gotten to an interview. For men, I would wear a suit and, if you are so inclined, a tie. If you are no so inclined, a buttoned down shirt and a pair of slacks and a jacket are a good place to start; you can then unbutton buttons to show a T-shirt and take off the jacket if the environment is much more casual.

The more you seem like the people at the interview, the more they will like you. This is why mirroring--copying gestures of people you're trying to impress--often gives good results. I don't recommend trying that on an interview, however; you could end up annoying someone who had a kid brother who did the same thing past the point of it being funny anymore. But I do recommend altering your attire--if you can and its appropriate--to match the casualness or priority of those interviewing you.

While you're emulating them, compare what they wear to what you like to wear to work and what you have in your closet. Do they all dress up far more than you do? If yes, and you get the job, is there going to be a problem with your wardrobe (spoken or unspoken)? There's really nothing like going to work somewhere and finding out that the entire high school cheerleading team is the rest of the team, and apparently you're the mascot, which is not nearly as cool, but is easily designated by clothing (and cliques/attitude, etc.)

Answer the questions you're given in the interview to the best of your ability, and then ask questions of your own, of every person that interviews you. The same magic question from the phone interview: How do you like it here, and what do you like about it? You want to avoid asking what they don't like; they're going to lie, be vague, or otherwise fail to answer you, and, on top of that, they'll associate something negative (whatever they don't like about work) with you. So. Skip that question.

In addition to the "what do you like" question, ask them what a typical day in the office is like for each of them. When do they get in, how do they work (what is their work station like), how do they collaborate with others on the team, and such. Most people will inadvertently give you details about their job that they might not have given, from "the coffee is crappy so I always stop at Starbucks" to "We all get in before 9 am because the boss freaks out if we don't."

While they're interviewing you and you are interviewing them, also look for tone of voice and any non-verbal cues. Some people are just naturally nervous, so don't assume that because you're seeing some non-verbal cues that those cues have to do with you or with your interview. But watch them when you ask about day-to-day aspects in the office, and when you ask them how they like it there. Immediately crossing their arms on "what do you like about this place?" is probably a really good warning sign. People who are ONLY vaguely positive about the entire thing--from that they like there to what they do everyday--also a warning sign. People who are interested in the job (even if they're uncomfortable meeting your eyes) and can tell you one or two specific things they like about the job are positive signs.

Anyway. There's volumes to write on this topic. Maybe I'll revisit it again later. For now, enjoy, and remember: the interviewer doesn't have all the power, even in this bad economy. Good skills are worth their weight in gold no matter what the financial markets are doing. Don't be afraid to check for fit, yourself, and if it increases your ability to land the job as well as your knowledge of whether or not you really want the job, you basically score.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Advice to a New Lead

I had been intending to do this post for a while, but it seems most useful right about now; I have an employee who is going to have some employees reporting to him soon.

Here are my thoughts on being a new manager/supervisor/lead:

1) Your job is to make other people's jobs' easier. They will help you, yes, sometimes, but for the most part, you're there for them rather than the other way around. A good team can rely on each other, and as the head of any team--even if it's just two people--you need to be devoted to your teammates to get success.

2) This is different than what you've probably been doing before. You have been talking to people to find out what they need (not just what they want) in order to get your Individual Contributor job done. Now you're going to be talking to someone to find out what they want and what they think they want, so you can help them in the direction they feel they need to go. It's hard for people to know themselves, and a large part of our job is to get to know people, at least in very specific ways, better than they might know themselves.

3) Always ask about them first. When you talk to them, find out what's going on in their lives; family, musical tastes, love of coffee, whatever. I've mentioned it in my blog before, but small talk is the natural bonding agent for teams. People like to be remembered. People like to be important. Help them feel that way.

4) Don't apologize too much. I do this a lot. I'm not going to apologize for that (see, I'm making progress).

5) If you screw up, own up. An apology is in order with your screw ups, but you are neither a better nor worse person than your report. Be human. They like that.

6) Be consistent. They like that even more.

7) Thank them when they deserve it.

8) Punish in private, praise in public.

9) Talk to them even when you don't need anything. Share a little about yourself so they can feel you care what they think of you. Oh, and care what they think of you.

10) Updates, updates, updates. You won't always have the answer they need. They will still want to know you're working for them; even if you're update is "I'm still working on it, I haven't forgotten you, we'll get through this," that is better than silence. Remember that.

For those of you following this blog for some time now, I'm sure these "tips" sound familiar. I really do believe in them. I also plan to tell my report, when I talk to him next, that I believe in him, too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bonus Blog: Twade (Or, what you can learn about business relationships from toddlers)

So, every week my friends get together, rain, shine, snow, etc. (we do dodge out on hail, I'm afraid, as we do not deliver the mail). As the group has been spawning, the small children increase the total size of the group who goes walking or running (usually the kids come with the walking group).

In waiting for all parties to assemble (exercising on a Saturday morning involves a little patience for everyone to arrive and more than a little hesitation in leaving the warmth and comfort of the house for a walk in the weather, I was watching two of the little ones interacting. A had brought a beautiful toy boat to play with, which he loved. He had, however, put it down, and, per the rules of the toddler jungle, E had picked it up and was playing with it.

A wanted that boat.

A used his words (bless his three year old soul), but his argument was unconvincing to E (2.5 years old and almost as big): "Give me the boat."

The little incident reminded me of other incidents, substantially less little, at work, where person Z has grasped that he needs something from person X, but rather than give a logical explanation for what Z wants and needs, Z just demands the thing. This typically makes X somewhat cross (sorry about the pun, really)--especially if X is having a great time with whatever it is, such as a racing boat--and in the work world, while we often work for the same company with, at their deepest roots the same successful intent for such a company, that is not usually enough to get a really cool toy out of X's hands, just because Z asked for it.

Back to the kids. A's mom has been working with him about not only using his words, but actually building situations where he can get what he wants without conflict. Yeah, A is 3 and understands this; his mom and/or A are genius(es). In any case, she demanded he acquire another toy (not currently in use, so fair game per the toddler jungle law), and then offer it to E in a Trade.

A reluctantly complied, shoving a green wooden caterpillar into E's face and half announcing/half questioning with the word "Twade?"

E, startled by this tactic, handed the boat right over.

I have said so before, and I'll say so again--adults have a lot in common with toddlers. Managers and upper management (executive management), even more so. We have to share our toys. We have to make decisions that can result in tantrums (on our part or the part of others). We have to gain independence but not at the cost of collaborating with a mom figure.

And we can also Twade.

I mention in the concepts of Transactional Communication that you should offer something for what you are asking, and this little example of a blonde and a red headed toddler (which you didn't know until now, but hey, they seem cuter in my mind's eye already identifying them as such) is a great example of how transactions--trading--can get you what you want with a minimum of fuss. Its best, of course, to have laid the groundwork ahead of time, but sometimes that's just not possible. Sometimes you hit the ground running and all you have is a green wooden caterpillar. Sometimes, though, unlike this poorly abused metaphor, that's enough.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flaws: Live 'em, Love 'em, but most of all Admit Them to Yourself (and other people)

I'm from Millington, Tennessee (as is evidenced by my ability to spell Tennessee). Its a suburb of Memphis.

I'm not sure if all girls raised in the south grow up to be southern belles, but I can be certain I carry a lot of belle traits, both good and bad. I will say, "yes, sir," and "no, sir" and "thank you, ma'am" and do it without a trace of sarcasm or fear the other person will believe me inferior to them. I do it because it is polite, and polite was how I was raised.

Along with polite, I was raised to be sociable. Not in the derogatory term--"She's too sociable with all those boys"--for example, but in terms of liking being in groups of people, talking, and holding my own. When I was little, I was still among the generation being taught that girls shouldn't out talk boys, that boys were more important, and that being sociable was as recognized method for young women to hold control over household and society when men were otherwise expected to appear as if they did. Sociable was how a woman became the power behind the throne, and polite was why no one mentioned she was doing it.

With power, comes great responsibility. Also, bad habits. I am therefore very bossy. Assertiveness is expected, nay, demanded in the part of the south where I was raised, as was the deep need to be polite. This leads directly to bossy, do not pass go, do not acquire 200 sweat teas (although I am a heretic and don't want TN sweet tea, anyway, because of my hatred for lemon in it).

I am also from a heritage of the spoiled southern belle. Educated and trained to be released to become my husband's problem, while my parents were quite strict on many things--wanna know how big a switch to be spanked with to cut to assure least amount of pain but maximize chances I won't be sent out to cut another switch because this one is not good enough?--I was expected to excel at many things and was often praised for doing so, even if I didn't put that much effort into it. Thus, when questioned...I become, shall we say, prickly? I, personally, do not handle criticism (constructive or otherwise) very well.

So, to recap: I'm overly polite, bossy, a bit aggressive, manipulative, spoiled and I don't take criticism well. You all following along? Good.

Because telling you that, in the way I told you, is something I get around to telling every group I work with. Not because it is an excuse for my behavior, but because it is effective fair warning. Nothing excuses bad behavior. Some things explain it, but don't mitigate the damage done. If you have a flaw, and you know you have it, step one is telling other people about it so they can help not step into the bear trap, and step two is moving the bear trap away from them if they stumble towards it.

You have a responsibility to your flaws and your team. Obviously you will constantly improve on those flaws so that, hopefully, when I'm 90, I'm not politely bossing the CRAP out of people taking care of me. But there are things that stick with you, things which have been successful, but aren't always...such as difficulty with criticism.

See, in my youth, raising my brow and giving "The Look" ended discussions of any flaws in my personhood that might have been revealed by such criticism, thus making "shutting other people down" an effective tactic. Note, it's not an effective tactic in the work place. If I will get more from an employee by short sentences in an email, I need to know that so that I don't keep writing flowery dissertations that only annoy him or her and waste my time. In effect, I know that I have the flaw that I will feel hurt and desire to inflict uncomfortability on others when I receive criticism, and thus its my job to either (a) fight myself and not react that way or (b) find other successful strategies of accomplishing what needs to be done that are successful for everyone, and not just me, that don't involve being criticized. I have become an expert at (b), but sometimes, no amount of (b) will save you. Sometimes I just have to take (a) on the chin.

Now most people will advocate for (a) every time. Confront your flaws, face your fears, and end them. I've been in the business for over 20 years, and so far, the psychological technique of de-sensitization (which is what they're suggesting) hasn't actually helped much. I've given hundreds of presentations and speeches, but I still quake 15 minutes before I hit the podium. This isn't to say that people cannot learn and grow, it's just to say that sometimes, instead of slighting yourself for not making progress, you should work with what you have. Really, that's what flaws are all about--how to not negatively impact your work, and, if possible, spin things to have a positive impact.

One of my efforts at avoiding direct confrontation led to a criticism discussion among my 14 person team...doing it as a group reduced overall direct issues and we were able to come together and come up with group techniques to resolve issues that had been critiqued.

You are not always going to know your flaws; they're sneaky like that. Sometimes you'll only find out if someone is brave enough to tell you. Your natural reaction to that person is likely not "Thank you," but it should be your automatic reaction. If you feel yourself getting emotional or lost because a flaw is being exorcised or triggered, excuse yourself and take a few minutes with some water or the bathroom. Walk around. Think about what is going to happen immediately afterward that you can look forward to, and then get back in there, get back on that horse, and go. Note: I am not advocating that team members are horses on which you can climb (although I suppose if you work in a stable the amount of constructive criticism is greatly reduced if your team is significantly comprised of horses).

I have been desperately wanting to get this phrase in, and so if it seems shoe-horned, that's because it is. I used to have a manager that said, "Its not as if our shit doesn't stink." Basically, everyone has flaws (or, in that case, excrement), and everyone's flaws cause problems (or, in the case of excrement, smells BAD). Everyone has flaws, its what you do about having them that differentiates you with employees and to your own managers.

So, take a few minutes to know yourself. Then let that part of you be part of your team, and, don't let be an excuse for poor behavior or performance, but instead a way of improving overall productivity for you and your team.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Women and Men - We're (mostly) all humans

There's a song by They Might Be Giants called "Women and Men." Its about people and its silly, but I always think of it when I poke around the topic I'm going to talk about today.

There are huge stacks of books out in the world about the differences between women and men. From suggesting different interplanetary homes to someone just not being into you, I'm not sure if the total number of those books makes anything anymore clear in the difference between women and men.

There are different books with different ideas about how to motivate employees, often divided by gender. There are even articles and blogs and, yes, more books, that suggest there is a real difference in the way the brains of men and women operate, and thus you use different tactics to get the best out of either gender.

I don't believe that treating women and men differently provides a better outcome. I don't deny there are differences--I'd have to be blind and unable to manage touch not to grasp (sorry about that pun) that there are different bits poking out of different places for women and men. But treating them differently as a matter of workplace environment to try and get better outcomes is a giant recipe for disaster.

First of all, HR departments will look at you "in that way." You know, the low, over the glasses look; if they're really upset, you'll get some pursed lips and maybe a "tick ticking" disapproval noise. Practical applications of treating women and men differently just don't seem to exist; this is because it is frequently considered to be gender harassment/sexual harassment, etc. By the nature of treating employees differently, you can open yourself and your group and possibly your company to all kinds of lawsuits.

Most books/articles/blogs that recommend different approaches, however, do not recommend a regimen of systematic and obvious differences; for example, they don't suggest segregating your employees and then appealing to the men with "hands on" approaches and women with "visual" learning styles specifically. That spells discrimination.

Instead, they recommend you alter your interpersonal style based on the gender of your employee. That you give more approval to female employees, and less eye contact to men, for example. While it's true as a woman I crave attention (HELLO BLOG!), and statistically they may have it measured somewhere that the bulk of my gender likes it, there will be at least one woman, somewhere, who doesn't. While you are playing the odds in your favor, you are still gambling with the relationship(s) in question if you tailor your approach based on the gender of the person.

So, I disagree with those people, statistics, charts, and graphs be damned.

What I do recommend for women and men is the same approach, and here is what it is (which is kind of cheating because basically my approach tailors by individual, and not by gender):

1) Talk to the person and find out how he/she likes to receive info: written, verbal, hands on, visual pictures, etc. Always pick two methods (one that works for them and one that works for you), and emphasize those for communication.

2) Talk to the person about non-work related items. Do they flee? Do they stick around and you hear more than you ever needed to know about their 9 year old, three-legged dog? Take what you learn from talking to them outside of the work context and extrapolate that to work. Specifically: some people do not do small talk. Other people require it in order to get to more serious matters. Some people are quiet until they get to know you. Some people are quiet FOREVER...both types will have to play well in a group to be successful. Find out what you are working with in a non-threatening way.

3) Take an interest. As noted earlier, being a manager is not about lying, and while it sometimes has to include sucking up, prolonged sucking up never works out the way you want it to. So. Find something about that person you like, in which you are interested, and make sure that's an available and safe topic to bring up. When they get anxious and need to be talked down, or quiet, and need to speak up, pull this topic out and get them rolling.

4) Group decisions should be based on individual preference. So basically, instead of promoting top down group standards (ie: you laying down the law), encourage the individuals to voice what they want and what they like, and get them together to discuss how they can agree to what they all need. Ownership in the process of determining the rules raises compliance and satisfaction with those rules, even (and especially) when individuals don't always get everything they wanted.

5) Find out what they are good at. Even the worst employee is good at something. An easy way to be the best manager ever is to make it possible for employees to do what they are good at and succeed--it pretty much makes everyone (you, the employee, your boss, the company, etc.) happy when this happens. You likely will have to get creative sometimes--I had one employee with ADHD that the other developers thought they might kill, but we discovered the feature in that diagnosis: ADHD causes you to have a lot of energy and to be able to move between subjects very fluidly...which made this person the most awesome demo person EVER.

There will be times when you can't let everyone do what they are good at, or that you do, but there's still work to do. But making sure that you mix in something that they can feel good about in EVERY assignment means even the stuff they think is kind of lousy is likely to get done, and done well, so they can get on to the next assignment and that helping of praise for doing what they are good at (my apologies to my mother and English teachers everywhere for continuing to end sentences in prepositions).

6) Give it freaking time. People change. People have things on their mind. People have specific hormones in their system or low blood sugar or are coping with the death of a pet. Treat them all like adults and take your time about it. If you are honest in your expression of your intentions to make this work and make everyone successful, it really doesn't matter if they're men and women or apes who know sign language (or some combination of those things).

Individuals make up a group. Give individuals respect and encourage integrity, and it doesn't matter that they belong to groups other than the one you manage; when they are with you, your group will be the top of their list in terms of importance.

Why do so many articles and blogs and lions and tigers and bears (oh my) worry over the differences in gender? Because there are some clear statistical data that back the fact that women tend to be more social and language oriented and men more science and math. They suggest these as a starting place to make people comfortable so that you can build your team from there; my issue, however, is that I hate stereotypes. Encounter one person who doesn't match that stereo type and the whole house of cards can collapse.

This doesn't mean you can't use the data in other ways, however. You can use these studies to make guesses about what people are good at; then you can take those guesses and ask people if they are, in fact, good at those things. It gives a reference point to which they can agree or which they can refute, and provides ample conversation fodder to help you help them find something they like to do/are good at doing.

At the end of the day, though, relationships with an employee-woman or man--is the major factor in how productive and efficient that person is; it just happens to also link to their overall happiness, which is just an awesome bonus.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Iron Triangle and Sacks of Model T's

This is not a World War II reference.

Yes, I'm getting fancy and trying images. Phear my l33t Paintshop skillz, yo.

But, you know, the point of the very badly drawn picture is that the triangle is often called the Iron Triangle or the Project Triangle.

The theory behind the triangle is that the three components--scope, resources and schedule--make up any successful project. However, at any given time, you cannot change any of the lengths of the side of the triangle without impacting the other sides of the triangle in some way.

So, reducing the schedule will have an impact on resources and scope, whereas decreasing scope will affect resources and schedule...etc.

Examples: I have 2 resources on a 2 week project and a scope of work that can be completed in those two weeks. I receive a request to add additional features to the scope of the work. This effectively lengthens the scope side of the triangle. My options to manage this imbalance are to increase the schedule, remove scope from elsewhere in the project, or to add additional resources (or some combo of these three) to take the change to the project.

I liken it to explaining that you have a 5 pound sack. You can put anything you want in the sack that equals five pounds. Once you get to five pounds, one ounce, though, things won't stay in the sack--something has to go, a larger bag has to be gotten, or more than one person has to help carry (or some combo of these things). A lot of people defining scope for a project (or your team) can't actually see the sack, however. They don't know the size of the things they're asking you to put into the sack, and so they can't understand when the sack overflows, why it overflows, or how it affects their project.

Typically, people removed from your team don't know the implications of the changes they make to the work your team does. Your job, as a manager (and when you're managing a project instead of directly managing the people), is to communicate those implications in non-confrontational, clear-to-understand terms.

The triangle, and the 5 pound sack are methods for communicating the total amount of work that a team can take on. These metaphors are easier to understand that the complex calculations that you and your team use to determine how much work can be done in a specific time frame.

Now in order for the metaphors (and the team) to work, you need to know the size of the triangle and/or the bag, and the only way to know that is to work with the people who are represented by that image. Different methodologies use different ways to assess how many units of work can be completed in relation to time or task. I may go on more about these types of methods in another post, but in this one, I'll just suggest you review several different ways to do that type of estimation, then let the team pick the one with which they are most comfortable.

Then. Stick. With. It.

That was its own sentence because a lot of teams (a lot of companies) want to "try a lot of different things." The problem comes down to being able to consistently assess the amount of work over time with the available resources, and changing the measuring tool regularly makes that nearly impossible. Obviously, if something isn't working, change it or dump it, but everyone loves consistency: knowing what to expect can make work a much better place for you and your team to be. So, find something that works and stick to it.

Once you know how you are measuring things, asses the amount of work that you can do in a given week, two weeks, and a month. As noted, there are a lot of systems out there on how to do this, and they might even suggest you go further out to six months or a year. My generally experience has been that things get pretty shaky past two weeks of work estimation, and past a month your team is pretty much guessing in the wind. Your mileage may vary, but be aware.

Also, people who work with you and for you who have not done any estimating before in their lives will be BAD AT IT. Some people who have done it before are still bad at it; I had one Dev who responded to every request with "it'll take two weeks," and I would have to question him at length (and tell him jokes, etc.) to narrow down if "two weeks" was "two months" or "two weeks" was "two days."

Test out your methodology over time to confirm the accuracy of people's estimates and your own. Now you have the shape and size of the triangle and the size of the sack. Now you can tell people how much will fit, how much can be carried, how much can be moved around. You have these things in plain terms--you can write the thing out in numbers or draw pictures to communicate the limitations and boundaries of your team. In so doing, you protect yourself and your team from having their boundaries violated. This is huge for team morale, respect, and, you know, actually getting the work done. It also works extremely well to control scope creep and drastic reductions in schedule or resources because you can show people exactly what the effects of those changes have on the work at hand.

Ford once said that people could get "The Model T in any color, as long as its black." Being a manager (project or people) is much the same thing. The sack can only hold so much. Know what your team can do, offer that, and protect it against people who ask for their Model T with racing stripes.