Attitude Determines Altitude Randy Shoup

GOTO 2018 • Attitude Determines Altitude: Engineering Yourself & Your Teams • Randy Shoup

Growth mindset

I cannot         |   I know I   |              I am not 
get better       | can improve  |             good enough
                 |              |                 

Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford Mindset - the new psychology of success.

Our belief about wether we can improve that is gonna help us actually improve.

Fixed mindset Growth mindset
Talent is static Talent can be developed
Leadds to a desire to look smart and therefore… Leads to learn and therefore a tendency to …
Avoid challenges Embrace challenges
Give up easily due to obstacles Persist despite obstacles
See effort as fruitless See effort as path to mastery
Ignore useful feedback Learn from criticism
Be threatened by others’ success Be inspired by others’ success

We get there by doing. Effort means that we actually care about something.

The expert mind

Philip E. Ross, Scientific American, August 2006

Experts are made, not born.

Effortful study is the key to achieving success in chess, classical music, soccer and many other fields.

The 10,000 Hour Rule

Outliers - The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness

Deliberate practice with constant challenge

Practice isn’t the thnig you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.

The progess principle

The progress principle - Dr. Teresa Amabile - Harvard Business School

“Inner work life” drives performance - constant stream of emotions, perception, and motivations

The way you approach as you are going along.

Making progress on meaningful work most strongly improves motivation and performance

Steady progress and small wins lead to big gains

Focus and attention

Focus and attention - Daniel Goleman 2013

Ability to focus (“cognitive control”) is the best predictor of success and high achievement

Creativity from “open awareness”

  • Daydreaming (great ideas in the shower, runnnig, walking, quiet, driving …)
  • Finding unexpected connections

Execution from focus

  • Goal focus
  • Resistance to distraction

Attention is a “Mental Muscle”

From the perspective of congnitive science, all meditation methods are methods to train attention.

Daniel Goleman

-> yoga, meditation …

It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

Albert Einstein

Trust spactrum

Distrust         |    Trust     |              Naïveté 
                 |              |                        
                 |              |                 

Theory X vs. Theory Y

The human side of enterprise - Dr. Douglas McGregor, 1960

Leadership’s beliefs about what motivate employees

Theory X : people are inherently lazy and avoid responsibility, require extrinsic motivation. As a manager you might want to “micromanage” them.

Theory Y : people are intrinsically motivated, seek ownership, want to perform well. They need to be empowered, to be liberated. As a manager, you want to be out of their way.

Theory X - Theory Y diagram

It is a fondamental belief about what other humans are like. It is very hard to change.

Westrum Organizational Model

Generative organization - Trust and sharing

Bureaucratic Organization - Rules and Processes

Pathological Organization - Fear and Threat

DevOps Handbook - Gene Kim …

Psychological safety

Google study Re:Work - Fixe keys to a successful google team

Does your team feel comfortable, safe, welcoming, inclusive for interpersonal risk taken?

They actually perform better if people feel included in the organization.

If you can’t change your organization, change your organization

Martin Folwer

Confidence Spectrum

Fear             |  Confidence  |            Arrogance
                 |              |                        
                 |              |                 

Whether think that you can or you can’t you are usually right.

Henry Ford

Impostor Phenomenon.

Impostorism affects a wide range of people … 70% of people will experience at least one episode of this Impostor Phenomenon in their lives.

Jaruwan and Alexander, 2011

Confidence and Honesty

Creativity, Inc. - Ed Catmull Pixar.

Ed Catmull was interviewing at Lucasfilm in 1979 to start a computer graphics group.

George Lucas asked “Who else should we be talking to?”

Catmull suggested . He was super transparent about it. He was the only respondent to answer that. And by the way Lucas already had interviewed the other ones (which didn't shared the names).

Overconfidence and Dunning-Kruger

Article about Dunning-Kruger with chart

Beginner : You are the most confident about your skills when you are first introduces to a new thing. It’s because you don’t know that you don’t know. Here they call it the “peak of mt. stupid”

When you start to learn you achieve the valley of despair.

And you slowly mount the “slope on enlightment”

Confidence and Atractiveness

Attraction is about a certain primal magnetisn. Of course we can be pfysically attracted to someone, but we are more often drawn to their confidence, passion and personality.

Cycles of confidence. The speaker thinks that confidence is cubic equation. Vertuous cycle (Flywheel effect) or vicious cycle.

When you are confident you are more likely to try new things and they go well and you get more and more confidence.

When you are not confident you don’t want to try new things, you stay home and you get less and less and less confident.

You have to cross the inflexion point (0 ; 0) From the vicious cycle to the vertuous cycle.

Building confidence

Non verbal expressions of power and confidence.

Postural feedback effect. Adopting a “Poer Pose”

  • Increases feelings of power and confidence
  • Activates approach system instead of avoidance


  • Performance under stress
  • Mood and motivation
  • Assertiveness
  • Physical Strength

Do it untill you become it!

Find your core

Connect yo your core and you’ll find strength. Act from your core and you’ll move mountains.

Gabriella Goddard

It can be walking in the wood, being good at your job …

Use yout core strength to build your foundation

  • Profession
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Relationship
  • Volounteerism
  • Etc.

Strength in one arena helps you be strong in others

Make yourself obsolete

If you are a senior Engineer, a leader of a team, coach, and are not actively working to make your team productive without you, you are literally not doing your job.

You can accomplish this through automation, documentation, hiring, training, etc.

But you do no one any favors - least of all youself - by perpetuating a bottleneck.

Randy Shoup

Well you did an awesome job automating that … you’re fired … said no manager ever.


A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.

Grass Hopper

She invented the compiler among other things.

Written on July 31, 2018
Licence Creative Commons
Ce(tte) œuvre est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.