AGL 041: Assets


What’s your biggest asset?  Could it be your programming skills?  Your education?  Your experience? For me its the people I surround myself with. At home and in life its my wife.  She’s my biggest asset.  At the office, its my team.  I have a great team of people and they are by far my biggest asset. So, how do you manage your assets?  Well I’m going to list some common assets that we may or may not think of and how I try to manage them to improve my productivity.

Personal Finance is important too.  If you’re struggling with your personal finances, that stress may bleed into your work.  Take care of your assets and liabilities.  Do a debt to equity ratio, like they do before you get a mortgage to make sure you’re not over extending yourselves.  Be sure you’re putting away for retirement, etc.

Some other important assets to you should be managing at work as as follows:

  1. My Team – As I said earlier, at work, my biggest asset is my team.  With any team there are different dynamics and relationships in place. You have to understand them and manage them. One-on-ones is probably the best way I stay in the loop and manage those individual relationships.  But you also have to manage the relationship to the team as a whole.  Team building is important. Regular lunch n learns and group meetings are also a must.
  2. My Budget – When I first became a manager, managing budgets scared the crap out of me.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t know anything about negotiation, contract renews, or planning for capital projects.  I had to learn that over time.  And now that I’ve been in management at a few companies, I see that the process is very different at different places.  What works best for me is to budget a little on the high side of things, because you never know what could come up and as a developer at heart, I’m very optimistic when setting time budgets. I’ve also learned that it takes a lot of work to save money and come under budget, but if you take the time and negotiate properly, there are lots of deals to be found and money to be saved.  I found that just emailing or calling vendors before renewing software maintenance agreements can lead to big savings. Also be honest and up front with vendors about pricing, most people don’t like talking about it, so be pleasant, and talk about it early.  That helps me get the best deal.
  3. My Tech Skills – When you get into management its very hard to keep your tech skills current.  You love coding or server administration, but you know as a leader and manager you have step back and give your team the opportunity to grow and do those tasks. I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep current is to have a side hustle doing the skills that you need to know.  This will help you stay on top of the new changes in technology and bring things from the outside into your company. Another way I keep current is to go to tech conferences a few times a year.  One way I keep my budget in check for these is to apply and speak at the events. If you speak at the conference, you get to go for free!
  4. My NetworkLinkedin isn’t enough to manage your entire network. I mean, its a good start, but there is more to it than that. You need to reach out to those in the area, go to lunch with them from time to time, make phone calls and send text messages. Communicate with your network regularly.  Staying in touch is actually a hard thing, but a text every now and again is a great way to let those in our network know that they still matter and it will pay off big in the long run. They will be there for advice and help when you need it.  But remember, you have to be there for them first.  Give at least 51% in the relationship. If your network is important to you, and it should be, you need to spend the time to stay connected.  This is one of the reasons I’m doing more interviews now, its away I can connect with great thought leaders in the technical leadership space.

There are infinitely more assets that you have to manage, but these are my top 4 for being productive.  Some others you can think about are software, systems, processes, policies, procedures, etc.

If you have more tips on managing our assets, please tweet them to me @johnrouda.

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