I have been recently observing that one of the prime reasons for constraints in the system, is that we lock ourselves up in many ways.
It could be the lax phrase of "This is our system. It works like this only" or lazy phrase of "I thought other person would be doing it" or dispassionate view of "I did what you told me. You didnt tell me this" or most common subjugated response of "I was waiting for your approval. I was not sure, whether I can do it myself".
Some manifestations can be figured in discussions, while some under currents need careful scrutiny to remove them. In all and many many more ways, these self-constraints harm more than the system, policies, politics, external factors. A recent spate of conversations led to many such revelations.
1. In a open culture, as in IT, addressing "sir" makes you close the vocabulary and subjugate behavior is more prominent. In small teams, this is first culture that needs to be eradicated. Addressing by name, which is the norm in our Industry and if the company policy says so, follow it. Open Up to treat people as peers than as some super power dropping bomb shells.
2. Requiring Administration and Managing over sight is another issue. Why do you need a manager to check on your progress? When you work, make sure the administration and management tasks (read documentation, reporting) are done together. You will take more time, be less productive (if measured, in terms of transactions completed), but at least you open up to better feedback than scrutiny to harp on your less-skilled areas during reviews.
3.Speak up and Often: The biggest under current that is not visible and spoils every chances of success is not following this one. Restricting oneself to do certain set of transactions and doing it till it gets noticed when manager finds time, is a bad move. You need to speak up and often, share the work, be behind to get it reviewed, share the results, so that appropriate course correction is taken before it is too late. Putting a self exile on speaking to people and "I mind my own business" mentality, is sign of fear. The fear factor is the biggest drab in otherwise good profiles.
4. Understand what Managers want, Not do what the manager says: This is important differential between good work and great work. This can be achieved when you have self-mastery over your self. When a manager desires to see a result, it is important more to accomplish it in your style, than do exactly the steps manager says, and not deliver the results.
5. "Think Beyond": I was reserved till recently, with my policy to have a minimum fee to undertake work. But my recent interactions with a customer, changed that. The customer gave his price points for the work scope submitted by us. It was easy to say no to the job as there was a huge difference in price.
But after long thought and waiting to convey the decision, I decided to take the bait for first few assignments. Reverse engineering from the price point, led us to find that there are ways of optimization that we could do to deliver the job with no huge losses. Our previous belief was that we have optimized all we could do and there isn't any major overhaul required, might have lost the opportunity. If we succeed, there is a possibility for a service line, that could be unparalleled in our industry.
Open Up is the parrot line theme currently to tide over the recessionary times.