The same rookie mistake I made on my transformation journey into marathoning is one that I see a lot of organizations make on their Agile journey: not taking the time to find the right shoes. Let me explain.
“Doing” agile is not enough
I thought I had a solid start on my transformation from couch potato to marathoner by focusing first on the routines and habits of runners. I felt like I was a runner because I was DOING the things runners do, like running 5-days a week, eating healthier, and strength training. Many organizations fall into the same trap. They think they’re agile because they’re going through the same motions and copying best practices. But then my mother saw me running out in the neighborhood and pointed out something that changed everything. She gave me the same perspective that I’ve given clients looking to become agile, and it blew my mind.
We asked Paolo Damelio, one of our experienced Agile coaches at Dandy People, to share some of his best tips and tools on how to maintain sustainable and High Performing Teams, now that many of the team members are working from home.
Hi Paolo! What are your thoughts on the situation right now?
This is a challenging time for everyone. For us as individuals, for organizations and for the collaboration inside teams as well as cross-team and cross-organization. And it is a challenge that, I believe, will take us to a place we only could have dreamed of just a few months ago. There is no going back to where we were before.
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. 🙂
Why we do things is the underlying foundation of our motivation and development. And when you work in an organization and in a team you need to feel that the organization’s and team’s purpose, vision, values, and mission is connected to your own foundation. “My leadership canvas” is a way to see if this is aligned and act as guidance in your personal development.
To resonate further with your purpose in everything you do you can start by formulating your own WHY statement. The method is from Simon Sinek’s book “Start with why” where you can get deeper into the significance of starting with why.
To find your WHY statement you can follow these guidelines:
Simple and clear
Only one sentence
Languages that resonate with you
Resonate both with work- and private life
Write several until you find the right one
As an example, my WHY statement is: “I empower myself and the people around me so we can become the best people that we can be”.
When the pace has been picked up and everyday life spins at its highest pace the increase of sick leave caused by stress will increase. And those affected are your most valuable loyal employees that turn themselves inside out to deliver at work and in their private lives.
Sick leave due to stress of unhealthy work environments has increased to the double in the past ten years and is now the most common reason for sick leave in Sweden, and women are overrepresented in the statistics.
Facts from Försäkringskassan:
Sick leave due to stress has increased by 359% in the years 2010-2017
25% of those that have been burned out is at risk of relapse, which means that 1 in 4 people fall back into sick leave
10% of elite athletes are on sick leave due to stress
Stress-related illness costs Sweden 70 billion in socio-economic losses every year
Once a person has been burned out, it can take up to 10 years to recover, it is one of the longest recovery periods, even longer than some cancer diagnoses. Therefore, it is extremely important to detect and slow down this development in time. As a fellow human being and as a leader, it is important that you see signs of unhealthy stress.
These are some examples of signs of unhealthy stress.
Aggressive tone and behavior Aggressiveness and short tone are signs that the brain has turned on its flight and fight behavior, to protect against dangers, and should be taken seriously. Sit down in a quiet room alone with the person and describe how you experience their behavior, without judging it, and then ask how the person is feeling.
Sleep problems If a person repeatedly shares that they have slept poorly, have difficulty falling asleep or wake up very early in the morning and cannot fall back asleep, these are signs that the stress has gone way to far. When a person doesn’t sleep, it means our natural recovery system has stopped working.
Stomach problems, weight gain or weight loss When flight and figh behavior is activated, several of our physical functions are turned off. Including the stomach and metabolism. If a person complains of stomach problems or has increased or decreased weight quickly, it may be due to prolonged stress.
Concentration problems Just like above, the brain’s capacity will be gradually reduced. One behavior that can be noticed is if someone starts to forget about meetings, tasks or doesn’t contribute in the same way as before.
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.
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.
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.
Les équipes multidisciplinaires sont des équipes avec toutes les expertises néecessaires pour créer un produit et le mettre en production. Cependant, il ne suffit pas de rassembler un groupe de personnes différentes et de s’attendre à ce qu’elles agissent en équipe. Ce jeu essaie de montrer les conséquences du maintien d’une expertise et d’un rôle unique par les membres d’une équipe.
Vous avez besoin de 48 morceaux de lego par jeu et par équipe, et ils doivent être dans 4 couleurs différentes, jaune, blanc, rouge et bleu. (more…)
Our popular free Pattern Cards for successful Agile Change are now updated with 5 more patterns, totally 27 cards.
So far over 500 downloads + handouts of 400 physical printed cards and reports from people using them shows they bring value and enable structured conversations in leadership teams no matter what type of organization.
I was very happy to get invited to Agile Days Istanbul as a speaker by my friend Ilyas Varol. The topic for the conference was Agile Leadership, and 500 curious participants joined.
Ilyas har previously translated my Agile in a Nutshell to Turkish, and he told me he has during his trainings and talks here in Turkey probably been giving away hundreds of copies of the poster, making me a little bit famous i the Turkish Agile community… and making me just a little bit nervous 🙂
It was a great day with lots of interesting speakers and topics, as well as many great discussions. The conference had 3 tracks with both International speakers like Tom Gilb, Joanne Perold and my self, and Turkish speakers. Turkcell with tales from their scaling adventure, with Chian Yildiz, Digital disruption & Leadership, with Gizem Moral Kunter and Assess your Leadership Mindset with Ilker Demirel to mention a few.
Organizations today need to find new ways to organize to faster deliver customer and business value. In this presentation I share with you some of the symptoms you might see if your’e not organized for complexity and without a customer focus, why this happens and what you can do about it.
Discover how you can get organized around customer value instead of in silos and around systems and how much more value and happiness you will get from this.
I also share some examples of activities and results from the clients we at Dandy People have been coaching the past years to do this transformation.
Target group: Curious Leaders, Management and Change Makers
This presentation in English was originally held at Agile Days Istanbul, April 2018, but its based on a Swedish presentation first presented at Sundsvall 42 in September 2017.
Many times while coaching people we want to be able to quickly give people new perspectives, food for thought and bring people together around shared understandings and common goals. Thats why we created these pattern cards for successful Agile transformation, to enable engaging discussions. Please feel free to download and use them you too if you feel they can help you to create valuable dialogues too.
The different cards are visualizing patterns that we have seen to be the most important to succeed with Agile transformation and scaling Agile organizations.
Suggestion of how to use the pattern cards
You can probably use them in many different ways. Here is how we have used them with leadership teams most of the times.
Group people in smaller groups, 3-5 people. Give them a time box of 10-15 min to prioritize the 5 cards they find would bring the most value to focus on in the next period (3 – 6 months perhaps). (more…)
When Agile becomes something for the whole organization leadership needs to adapt to support Agile values and principles. Let the new year give energy to grow a leadership that supports an organization fit for the future. Let’s build an Agile Mindset that can change how leaders act in their daily activities, how they lead people and business, form organizations and governance.
EDIT 18/1: The poster is now updated to ver 1.1 with some spelling correction and some other great improvements. Thanks to all of you who contributed 😀
This poster is for me a way to visualize key concepts for how to lead with an Agile Mindset. At Dandy People we use it in our Agile coaching and training. We hope you as well can have use for it in your work. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions on this poster.
To Lead in Complexity
The basis for Agile leadership is that we need to have a leadership that works in complexity – that support flexibility, transparency, collaboration and authonomy to enable the “workers” to make smart tactical and operative decisions to reach well defined impact goals. There are several common leadership concepts that support this kind of leadership;
Three leadership Styles
In the poster there are three leadership styles visualized;
Catalyst Leadership (Best for Agile)
The infographic contains numerous of illustrations to visualize some of the behaviours of each leadership style. I believe (without perhaps any support from research) that you can change leadership style to become a Catalyst Leader if you make this decision, practice and work on it. I also believe that the environment we live and act in shapes how we behave and what we might see as good leadership.
Agile Mindset and what it might mean in Reality
When you understand that Agile actually is a way of thinking, a mindset, and not a process ot tools, it usually unlocks the “next level” in your game. But many leaders might find it quite difficult to put the Agile mindset to practice in reality. What does it really mean for governance? How do we build organizations, create good salary models, plan our projects, grow our staffs knowledge, build teams…? I have covered just a tiny part of that in this poster, the list could go on forever I know.
Need Coaching and Training for Agile Leadership?
If you need help to reshape the leadership in your organization to support your Agile journey, let us know and we’ll happily join forces with you to coach and train your managers and every one else who can become leaders. (more…)
For all Leaders interested in building an Agile mindset and enable organizations fit for complexity and innovation.
Are you a Curious Leader?
During the fall of 2017 we at Dandy People have set up a series of seminars and meetups for Curious Leaders, exploring different areas of interests in what an Agile mindset and an Agile Transformation could mean in other areas than what usually might be perceived as Agile by many mainly involving IT and development teams.
We call this series “Curious Leaders” and we invite all leaders who’s interested in growing that Agile mindset and finding new ways of building strong and flexible teams and organizations fit for humans that can manage complexity and enable every day innovation and quality. This applies in any business or service who are digitized within the organization and sell digital services or products.
What does this really mean for leadership, organization, recruiting, procurement, business strategies, marketing, projects, deliveries and our ways of working and processes?
Don´t miss this great opportunity to learn from the best and become an organization for the future!
Free Seminars and Meetups for Curious Leaders
December 7 – Next Session
For Curious Leaders – Beyond Budgeting
With Bjarte Bogsnes, Senior Adviser at Statoil
Bjarte Bogsnes has a long international career, both in Finance and HR, and has been heading up the implementation of Beyond Budgeting at Statoil. Bjarte is Chairman of Beyond Budgeting Round Table (BBRT).
We welcome curious leaders to this exciting seminar in Beyond Budgeting! The well known speaker, author & teacher Bjarte Bogsnes, Senior Advisor at Statoil, shares his insights in dynamic forecasting, no traditional budgets, the KPI trap & Statoil’s “Ambition to Action” model. Beyond Budgeting is also known as “Agile Budgeting”. (more…)