Don't Build Igloos in the Desert: When Following The Rules No Longer Works

Our personal and professional success depends on psychological flexibility. But nobody is teaching how to develop this. Until now.

Sometimes doing what we’ve always done before, or doing what other successful organisations seem to be doing, simply doesn’t work. Similarly, sometimes the technology choices we’ve made in the past, or those made by others turn out to be staggeringly inappropriate, and we’re surprised.

How can we recognise when following what seem to be best practices won’t actually work? And when we find ourselves in that situation, how do we make sure we make the best possible decisions, and stay in the best possible mental health?

It turns out this is question that has interested behavioural scientists for many years.

This talk introduces an important branch of psychology called Relational Frame Theory, and a powerful model that emerges from it, called Acceptance and Commitment Training, and explores how an understanding of these ideas and practices can help us to be more effective individuals, team members, managers, and organisations.

You will come away from this talk with strategies to help you:

Be fully present in your current experience, rather than running on autopilot Observe and notice your thinking, rather than get tangled up in it Open up and accept painful feelings and emotions, rather than fighting them Differentiate between the thinking self and the observing self Clarify what really matters to you, and how that informs what you do and how you do it Take committed action to achieve what matters to you As we look back over ten years of accumulated Devops wisdom, if we’re to avoid the twin evils of cargo-culting and burning out, we need to develop psychological flexibility. This isn’t just something we can pull out of a hat. There’s hard science, and evidence based strategies available to help us. This talk will help you start to use them in your personal and professional life, to make the most of the next ten years.



Stephen Nelson-Smith

Stephen Nelson-Smith is technical delivery coach at Ticketmaster International, where he works to bring continuous improvement in all areas of the technical organisation, covering architecture, ...