People who say nope. nope. nope. nope.

How do you handle negative people?

I've been thinking about approaches to technical issues recently - large issues rather than small 'my laptop is broken' type ones, and it's got me thinking about people's approaches to complex problems. There seems to be two types (I'm sure there's many more, but I'm going with two for this).

1. Keen to work a way to a solution.
2. Nope. Too hard. Risk. Nope.

The former one - people like that I enjoy working with. Working out the correct way to address problems and actually getting things done is a skill in itself. One I've spent a lot of focus on personally, as I think it's one of those things that separates techs. It's not
just about the technology, it's about getting a business requirement done. Knowing the correct balance between perfect/not done, and done but not perfect…..well, it's a skill.

What about the second type? Well, I find these groups incredibly difficult to work with - but it always ends up the same way. Let's consider what I'm talking about with an example:

We have three blocks, numbered 1, 2 and 3. The requirement is at least ONE of those blocks has to be in that box over there. Let's look at how this goes:

  • Ok. Let's put block 1 in the box!
    • NOPE! I need that, I like its colour.
  • Ok - 2?
    • NOPE! Thursday.
  • 3?
    • We couldn't POSSIBLY do that.

So we have a defined requirement, and yet that requirement you have made impossible. What tends to happen is this goes around and around for a bit until somebody gets thrown off the roundabout in frustration. Typically, it then gets escalated to somebody who has some say in stuff.

  • BOSS: Right, we're putting block 1 in the box. There are some issues to fix and some pain, but it's less pain than not having the stuff in the box.
  • Everyone: OK, let's do that.

Tech - Facepalm

The thing is with this approach is it damages relationships as it's so exhausting. It's why I much prefer working with your Type 1s. They work through things, they get stuff done. Type 2s? They just end up being told they're wrong. Pretty
much whatever they do, they're going to be wrong. How people work like that is beyond me, it must be utterly ruinous.

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