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Our health is the most important thing we have. Our health is something that we as people, leaders, colleagues, employees and employers should hold as our highest priority. It is not enough to offer a wellness allowance, there must be room for wellness, reflection and recovery during work hours.

My work causes me both stress, anxiety and feelings of not being enough. And how is it right that I need my private time to compensate for that? I believe that my work hours should include everything I need to be able to do my job in the best possible way. For me, this means that I need space between meetings to process what has been said and time to prepare for the next meeting. I need time alone for my thoughts and reflections to be able to work out the best solution to a problem, create a good setup for the next meeting, or think about how to handle a situation.

As a leader, I owe those that follow me to think before I act. I owe them to be prepared for a meeting, to reflect on situations before I make decisions and think trough how I will handle a conflict. I also need space to learn new things, to read about research and new methods of leadership, team and psychological safety. This is important for me to be able to do my job, in the way that I want to do it.

I also need time when the brain can recover and turn off all impressions and thoughts. Where I have the opportunity to connect to my body that carries me through my work day. For me, it is yoga, which I often practice at lunchtime or before I go home. For you it might be a walk in the park, a horse back ride, a run around the nearby lake or to walk your dog. The important thing is that you know exactly what you need to have a sustainable work situation. Regardless, we all need recovery as part of our work day to be able to get through it, and the next day, and the next.

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Agility is about adapting and delivering value. More and more organisations are discovering that they either need to get on the agile train or fall hopelessly behind. 

Many of them turn to frameworks to adapt agile ways of  working. But what they get is another framework that will sit  on top of  the others and cause more confusion and frustration. What they need is to focus on the real problems like organisation, leadership  and culture. I’m going to use SAFe as an example in this text (there are other frameworks trying to solve this out there but I know more about SAFe).

A framework with a clear hierarchical role chart, process arrows, planning cycles and new roles is a way of satisfying the controlling part of an organisation. And it is exactly this part that we need to remove, if we want to be truly agile. To dare go down the agile road you need trust from leaders and in many organisations that is the exact thing they are lacking. So their own fear of losing control drives them to turn to things their recognize, roles and hierarchy, processes and planning, things that are feeding the controlling needs and is satisfying their own fears.

When introducing a framework like SAFe you are forced to focus on roles and planning cycles instead of culture, organisation and leadership. To get the right people in these roles is not an easy task an one that is impossible if there are no people with an agile mindset in the organisation. When people without agile mindset take on these roles what we get is another gant chart and detailed planning that will not adapt to the changing needs of the customer.

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We are exposed to an incredible number of impressions in one day. We are met by advertising on the way to work, pictures on instagrams and ads on facebook, emails about fantastic offers and news from all over the world. At work, we are often met by policies, attitudes, expectations of others and performance reviews. Not being able to sort in this and finding your own meaning and purpose can create stress, uncertainty and a feeling of being overwhelmed. The importance of being able to lead yourself, and others, to create a sustainable lifestyle has never been as big as now.

 

Your values ​​and your why

I see the personal leadership as something that needs to grow when you find your own values ​​and purpose. “Start with why” was founded by Simon Sinek, he says that organizations need to start by establishing why they exist before they can start talking about how and what they do. It is fully applicable to the personal leadership as well,  you need to find your own “WHY” before you know what to do and how.

To find your own WHY, you first need to know your values. What is most important to me? You can do this by listening inwards, by turning off all impressions and expectations from the outside world. To ignore the template that society is trying to put us all into and listen to yourself. There is much talk about meditation and that it is the only way to listen inward, but I think that when you do something that you love, whether it is to meditate, yoga, paint, walk your dog, ride or run, it is your opportunity to hear your inner voice . The one who says what you really like and value. The key is to listen and above all to trust what that voice is saying. Trust yourself, that you know best what is right for you.

Based on your values, the why is easier to find. My WHY statement is:
“I empower myself and the people around me so we can become the best people that we can be”.

Exercise WHY statement

To write your WHY statement, follow these guidelines:

  • Simple and clear
  • Only one sentence
  • Language you use yourself
  • Work both at work and in private
  • Write several until you find the right one

Safety and learning

To feel that your purpose is being fulfilled and developed, our sense of security and learning is important. The human instincts are the same today as they were in the stone-age and our brain is divided into three motivational systems. The model created by Paul Gilbert consists of the red threat system, the blue drive system and the green soothing system.

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Many Agile teams are struggling to connect user experience and the design process with Agile ways of working and often Scrum. In this Poster (and post) I´m trying to describe the connection, and how you can collaborate in the team to learn more about user needs and solutions to solve real user problems together. I´ve been using this poster for over a year in my combined PO and UX training (Build the Right Product – Innovation through Collaboration & Design Thinking) and in my Agile coaching.

Download the Agile User Experience in a Nutshell in high resolution (PDF) >

Portuguese >

Agile User Experience in a Nutshell Poster

My hope is that this poster might give some guidance in how User Experience can work in an Agile setup in combination with the posters; Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell and Agile in a Nutshell (with a spice of Lean UX).

What does UX mean?

UX stands for User Experience. Basically, the expected and needed user experience of the service or digital product to meet user and business goals. To connect user needs and business goals is basic when working with user experience, it is basic to meet users and understand who they are – and involve and understand stakeholders. Any team can work with UX as long as they get to do this, and have the methods and processes to do it in a structured and effective way. (more…)

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Many of our decisions, conclusions and actions in a team come about after a good meeting. But what is a ‘good meeting’? How do we make them productive, informative and how do we engage all invited in order to close it with the expected results. Meetings do come in many different shapes and forms, quick stand-ups, day or two long workshops, planning, retrospective the list goes on.

How do you engage people in effective collaboration? Should you entertain them? When you walk in loaded with your beautiful agenda, prepared meticulously ahead of the meeting, to find yourself demotivated by yawns of few attendees. And you, dear meeting goer, ever find yourself spending meetings daydreaming? Not feeling like your voice is heard? Already planning not to show up on the follow up meeting? Daydreaming? Sleeping?
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To be able to stay focused on what really matters you need to have a clear strategy. When companies are small it is not always easy to have a clear strategy and act on it, but it is usually a lot easier than in big companies. To be able to do innovation and also stay customer focused even in big organisations a clear vision and strategy is essential. And every one in the organisation needs to understand the strategy.

There is a research done by Harvard Business School saying only 5% of the employees know about their business strategy. This is really scary for anyone running a business, and something everyone in a position to make strategic decisions needs to take really seriously. If people in the organisation don’t know about, or understand the vision or the strategy, how can they then make tactical and operational smart decisions making the business go in the right direction? There is only one answer to that question, they cant.

A Collaboration and Visualization tool to make Strategy Transparent

This fall I’ve been doing a talk around the topic “Customer Focused with an Agile Mindset” where I talk about how leaders of organizations need to grow an Agile mindset and make a strategic decision to become customer focused to be able to survive in the fast moving complex world of today, and how that can be done. The Innovation Map is one of the slides of my talk and I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback on it. Something many people feel is missing today is a holistic overview of the different strategies the organization have, and to be able to use it in their daily work making sure they are on the right track.

The Innovation Map is a great tool to be able to visualize what strategic initiatives the organisation have, or perhaps don’t have. Also it can be used to visualize the initiatives TOGETHER, ACROSS the organization. In this way when involving more people we can easier see the full picture of where we are going, and what we can do about it. By involving the people working front line with the customers knowing about their needs as well as those that can create the solutions to help the customers and not only management, you grow both an understanding of what the business strategy is – AND – you get their valuable knowledge of what the customer needs are and what can actually be possible to do or not do today and in the future. Then it will be up to management to prioritize the strategy based on different business scenarios.

Download the FREE Innovation Map Now (.pdf)

innovation map

Debt in any level will eat your business

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This is a dialogue board, created to facilitate good discussions around business strategy and tactics in a startup. At Dandy People we are using it to start up our consulting business, but it can be used by any type of organisation, or part of an organisation that wants to improve their customer focus, culture, leadership and take action as a team.

Building in Illustrator

At Dandy people we like to build our new business in a way that involves and inspires the people in our organization. To facilitate the discussions we wanted to have on our first mini-conference 2 months after starting up our shop, and after hiring 2 new people, I did this Lean Business Strategy & Tactics Dialogue Board. Off course we had already done som strategy and tactics work already before we started our company, but we felt that we wanted to be transparent and bring our new Dandys onboard with the idea of the company to enable them to feel as involved and motivated as possible. And off course, they are smart and experienced people, so why shouldn’t they be able to help us improve and grow? And I can just say that it worked like a charm 😀

Free download of the board here (as high resolution PDF) >

The Lean Business Dialogue Board

Feel free to use the board if you want, also we would be happy to facilitate the workshops with you and your team if you feel a need for that. Thats kinda what we do at Dandy People 😀

The board consist of 3 areas:

    • Business Strategy
    • Culture and People
    • Tactics

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Cross functional teams are complete in expertise but not necessarily collaborative. Sometimes team members hold on to their expertise too much and the team does not perform to its potential. This Lego game illuminates the difference when members allow themselves to take on tasks outside their expertise, being so called T-shaped. Play the game to kick-start your change and create collaboration.

This post was first published on the Crisp blog when Mia Kolmodin was a Crisp consultant.

Collected downloads from this post – updated June 2017
X-team Facilitators Instructions as PDF >
The X team silos game poster in PDF >

Playing the game.

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Target Group: Leaders, managers and everyone who wants personal development.
Teachers: Catrine Björkegren