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MAINSTREAM MODELS MAY NOT BE CUTTING IT

Mainstream coaching models don’t fully account for the unique processing styles that are prevalent in the systemic thinkers that organizations rely upon for creativity and innovation. As a result, we’re not tapping into and releasing the remarkable creative and innovative potential of today’s talent in roles involving creative knowledge work. Moreover, research suggests that many of these systemic thinkers often have attributes of ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, or other atypical ways of thinking. Given that everyone falls somewhere on the ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s spectrum, we posit that unleashing creativity and innovation in today’s workplace requires a coaching model that accounts for multiple processing styles. We all think differently, and we need a coaching model that fits everyone.

In this blog post, we present a model designed to leverage the processing strengths and mobilize the brainpower of today’s entire (organizational) collective, which we’re currently calling the Grow/Plow Coaching Model.

POPULAR COACHING MODELS

All the mainstream coaching models we’ve come across are variants of the popular GROW model, which involves establishing a Goal, examining current Reality, exploring Options, and determining what Will happen next: 

The GROW Coaching Model

Such approaches presuppose that the coachee’s processing style prefers to start with concepts, such as goals or the big-picture aspirations often discussed while coaching, before diving into the details. This processing style is known as top-down processing and accounts for how most people think. Top-down thinking is driven by cognition where the brain applies what it knows from experience and what it expects to perceive and “fills in the blanks”. 

SYSTEMIC THINKERS THINK DIFFERENTLY

Systemic thinkers, on the other hand, often have neurobiological and cognitive attributes that result in a bottom-up processing style that prefers details before concepts. A bombardment of sensory information comes in and their brain takes in these details before moving into conceptualization. This processing style is often connected to what’s known as the Weak Central Coherence deficit. In our experience, such thinkers prefer using problem-solving approaches to coaching that welcome the sensory details underpinning the need for change early in the process where the desired future state can be emergent and shaped by data rather than presupposed at the onset. 

THE “PLOW” PROCESS

We took the basic steps involved in problem-solving to create an acronym we call PLOW. The PLOW process involves defining the Problem (i.e., state the problem as clearly as possible and be specific about the situation, behavior, circumstances, and timing that make it a problem); Learning as much as possible about the problem (which includes gathering data like facts, feelings, and opinions); exploring Options; and determining what Will happen next:

The PLOW Process, which can be thought of as a generalized 4-step problem solving model
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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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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.

Me with some of the tools that set my foundation to become a marathoner.

“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. 

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My client is still happy. 

My goal is to coach myself through a transformation from couch potato to marathoner (well, a half-marathon). It’s been life-changing. 

Behavior science is the secret sauce

The barriers and obstacles I experience with “becoming a marathoner” are similar to those experienced by organizations wanting to “become agile”. The secret sauce lies in behavior science. Through this marathoning process, I’ve uncovered my own behavior-based twist of the Deming cycle and Lean Startup and am using them to inspire a Lean Performance Management model for teams and organizations. It’s always fun when personal and professional worlds collide!

The Behavior-Change Cycle

Below is the Behavior-Change Cycle I created for myself inspired by the Deming Cycle and how behavior scientists approach organizational change:

The Behavior Change Cycle I created for my transformation
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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.

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The need for adaptability and innovation have probably never been bigger, and we need to use the force from our employees. We need to connect the people in our organization using new formats, perhaps being forced into some of them. Also, the distancing has affected all of us, some are suffering more than others. The need for us as human beings to maintain and build trustworthy relationships is being put to test now that we have replaced the small talk by the coffee machine with Zoom meetings. 

We are perhaps seeing the world through new eyes, and maybe even reevaluate our business as well? Can we continue as we did before and still survive? Or, are there ways to move us forward and actually help us be better? And, can the use of a Buddy System be the help we need to help us do this?

Adapt and Excel – it´s All About the People 

To be able to survive in today’s business climate our focus needs to be on our ability to adapt – and to act fast. But that is not enough. Our organizations have to continue to grow and excel to stay alive, and not standstill.

A prerequisite for us to adapt and move fast is to secure that people are responsible for workflows, decisions, actions, and have the authority to make the rapid changes needed.  The type of organization that meets these demands best is a learning organization where it is possible to create endurance and the speed needed in a complex (VUCA) world.

Learning Organization. For many, the traditional top-down management organization has reached its maximum capacity and is unable to obtain, plan, develop, implement and follow up its operations at the pace needed in a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

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In the same way as Aesop’s Fables from Ancient Greece talked about serious matters but transferred them into the world of animals, this game lets all participants play in a friendly environment where nobody is in their ordinary job role. Instead the whole team is challenged to draw randomly selected wild animals well enough so the “customer” can guess what animal is is. The challenge can only be overcome through learning about- and improving how the team is organized and how it works. Two to three hours of laughter, serious learning and quite silly-looking animals can be expected.

The game has been used in one of the largest companies in Sweden to give hundreds of employees a “hands-on” feel for the difference between resource optimization and flow optimization. Especially counter-intuitive ideas need to be experienced to really win acceptance and nothing beats having done it yourself. It also clearly illustrates the value of small rapid improvements in a complex situation (like when working with flow) where you can’t analyze your way to the perfect solution. Sometimes groups of more senior participants try to discuss for a long time before playing another 5-min round. This results in fewer rounds being played, less reality feedback being generated, a slower learning cycle and a lower final score. The team that has the global high-score in the game is a group of junior engineers who could decide rapidly what to try next, play more rounds and thus learn quicker what ACTUALLY worked best. A healthy atmosphere of wanting to change many things compared to the original (and really bad) delivery process was certainly to their advantage too. (more…)

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Vi träffades en kväll i Crisps lokaler på Sveavägen ett gäng intresserade agila UXare, coacher och utvecklare för att prata om något som vi alla tycker är spännande, vill dela med oss av och lära av varandra – hur man kan arbeta med att upptäcka och utforska produkter och tjänster i ett agilt team – Product Discovery. Ett Product Discovery-team innehåller oftast tre roller, där ingår en person med fokus och stenkoll på de affärsmässiga förutsättningarna och målen (PO), en person med användbarhets och upplevelse-kompetens (UX) och en person som kan avgöra hur enkelt eller svårt det är att implementera (Utvecklare/Arkitekt).

Vi pratade om vilka metoder man kan använda för att utforska och lära sig mer om målgrupper och behov och hur detta kan kopplas mot effektmål och visualiseras. Men också om hur man skulle kunna gifta i hop Discovery och Delivery-processen till en helhet utan överlämningar och vi och dom känsla. Vilket vi kallade “Continuos Discovery” – kanske myntade vi ett nytt begrepp? (more…)

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Agil HR – Certifiering – 2 dagar
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