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This is the twelfth posting in the Agile Leadership & Management Series.

I have worked with many leaders in several different organizations over the years, and have come to learn that often times leaders struggle with finding out which role to play in an Agile organization.

Old school leadership was a lot about managing people to fit into your old way of doing things in your organization. A more modern (and Agile!) approach to leadership is to unleash the power that resides in your organization, by focusing your leadership skills on building structures and systems that enable the people’s skills to deliver high value at the right time. Here I have collected some of my learnings that I hope can help you on your journey.

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Each week we meet to discuss a book. We meet for 45 minutes to focus on a chapter. No strict agenda. Those times I didn’t manage to read the chapter, I can listen to those that did that and learn a lot anyway. Sometimes someone brings up a challenge, and then we end up discussing that as well to help each other. 

It is nice to have a very casual conversation with other people. We don’t have the same employer, we don’t have the same office, role, or work situation. But we share the same interest in supporting organizations into a mind-shift change. A change where people and teams will have more space to use their skills and creativity to make great things happen. Great things for both companies, society, and the planet that we so urgently need.

To make this change we need to be stronger. Not individually, but together. This strength is within the network, based on connections, relations and the inspiration we get from each other.

The book club is one way to strengthen this network, and I feel a bit richer, wiser, and stronger after each week.

Beginning November we are to start with our fifth book in the Dandy Book Club. This time we will read and discuss “Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People inside them” by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini. https://www.humanocracy.com/  We will start by reading the preface.

Would you like to join us?! Please do by joining our slack-workspace and join the channel “#BookClub” There you will get the Zoom-link to join and all information about time and date. coffeecoaching.slack.com

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Earlier this spring we got a fun request: to start an Agile Book Club. Such a privilege to be contacted by a competent and passionate agile frontrunner who wants to use the Dandy People Network!

This spring we started an open Slack work space that we named “Coffee Coaching”, to fill the social gap Corona made. We wanted to create a space where we could meet each other as if we were “by the Coffee machine”, offering a space for a small chat with anyone about anything.

But we wanted to see how this could be used for more. Perhaps for an Agile Book club? And it turned out to be so easy! We simply used this space like in the old times, by putting a piece of paper on the Coffee machine, inviting people to join our new slack channel “Agile Book Club”. And the Agile Book Club was born!

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Ofta när jag kommer in som agil coach för att stödja i en agil transformation har organisationen så fullt upp med det dagliga arbetet att man knappt mäktar med att tänka förändring. Förhoppningen är att den agila coachen gör förändringen åt organisationen, men om så skulle vara fallet så försvinner ju också förändringen när den agila coachen försvinner. Ett annat sätt att jobba är att göra förändringen i befintliga roller. Under åren  som jag jobbade med agila transformationer som anställd, hade jag en chefsroll som plattform för förändringsarbetet. Jag experimenterade med nya former, utmanade mina kollegor, coachade mina team och utbildade både mig själv och organisationerna i det agila mindsetet. Samtidigt skedde förändringen. 

-Management teamet som tog sig från att jobba med sina egna agendor till gemensam tavla med backlogg, retrospektiv och självorganisering utan avdelningschef.

-De individuella utvecklingssamtalen, som efter ett antal iterationer skedde gemensamt i teamen med respekt för både teamets uppgift och individens utveckling.

-Organisationens gemensamma dag i varje sprint där alla la tid på lärande och utveckling, antingen genom att lära sig själv eller lära ut till andra.

Att engagera mig som interimschef innebär alltså att jag tar på mig samma operativa arbetsuppgifter som ordinarie chef skulle ha haft. När jag satt mig in i det dagliga, ser jag snabbt var det skaver och vilka experiment som skull kunna provas för att ta ett steg i utvecklingen mot en mer agil organisation. Jag är då med och tar ansvar för de möjligheter till lärande experimentet medför och gemensamt tar vi sedan även nästa steg. Så småningom när transformationen har stabiliserats och förändring har blivit en del av den dagliga rytmen är det också dags för mig att kliva av interimstjänsten. När det tillfället blir kommer att visa sig, kanske faller det sig naturligt att ha en chefstjänst mindre då. 🙂

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2009, when Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, Scania was one of the affected companies. Instead of firing people, the company together with the employees decided to pay 90% of the salary, have a working week of 4 days and 60% of the time in production was spent on education. That gave Scania a stronger position when the recession was over. The employees were more loyal than ever, better educated and ready to ramp up long before the competitors that needed to spend time and money on recruitment and onboarding. 

 At that time, this was an unexpected solution. Today, when hotels and restaurants are empty due to the Corona outbreak, the state is offering a similar solution to restaurants and hotels. The employer will give a short-time layoff to the employees to hopefully be ready to get back to employment when the situation has changed.  

In agile we assume that the reality will change. Methods, principles, the whole mindset is built for an unpredictable future. So let´s use the possibility we have now when we are exposed to so much uncertainty. We can learn more about how we can take new steps of experiment, evaluate, learn, adapt and find a new hypothesis to experiment around. We do already have good examples, stores are offering home-deliveries and companies are redirecting their manufacturing to produce healthcare. Absolut Vodka will produce ethanol for hand sanitizer and flight crew are educated in healthcare. This will give us new experiences and learnings, and give us a better position towards our competitors after the recession period is over. 

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