The last few pieces of the jigsaw

Just 8 days until the September 14th and the official launch of the Agendashift partner programme! It seems a good time to review what we have and take a look at some of the most recent changes:

  1. The Agendashift values-based delivery assessment: Not your typical consultant’s practice-centric checklist (forgive me if I sound cynical here) but a non-prescriptive, non-judgemental, methodology-neutral tool, based initially on the last chapter of my book and refined repeatedly through use and collaborative, community-based review over the two years since. No emailing of spreadsheets (horrible!) it’s all online, and used to support one-to-one coaching, team exercises, and organisation-wide surveys.
  2. The Agendashift debrief/action workshop: This is packaged as a Lean-Agile strategy deployment workshop (an accurate but jargony description) but it also helps convey Agendashift’s coaching and change management philosophy to new partners and to demonstrate how 21st century tools such as Clean Language, Cynefin, and Lean Startup can be integrated into a coherent and pleasing whole.
  3. The Agendashift transformation strategy framework: our 10,000-foot view of the Lean-Agile transformation challenge. Just the ‘6+1 strategies’ of our white paper’s title serves as a reminder that it’s a multi-dimensional challenge with a lot to consider! It serves me well also as a structure for organising thoughts on leadership.

The last few pieces of the jigsaw lead to a better integration of #2 and #3.

I’m very happy with how the introduction of Clean Language and Cynefin helps us elicit and explore outcomes at both the strategic level (at the level of the long-range objectives and challenges that participants bring to the workshop) and the immediate (at the level of the priority areas and actions that the workshop largely deals with). I’m indebted to Karl Scotland and Liz Keogh for helping this to crystallise in the way that it did, and to Karl again for experimenting with it and sharing his experiences.

At last (I’m still kicking myself for not spotting the gap and the opportunity sooner), pathways, a term I shamelessly borrow from my Hivemind colleagues Ian Carroll and Dave Clark.

Here’s why pathways matter: The tools and the techniques are great, the values and the thinking behind them make sense, the prompts are helpfully revealing and thought-provoking, and we’ve learned to generate, frame and develop a handful of actions around which we have deep agreement on underlying needs, desired outcomes, and how we intend to achieve them. Wonderful! Now what?

Pathways are a rough – or not so rough – guide to the territory ahead. Our online tooling includes one already (based on the Reverse STATIK model) but many practitioners already have their own (which is fine – we’re methodology-neutral after all). Our template starts with the basics of process management, adds some sophistication, then works its way up to organisational stuff. It’s a simple starting point for agreement on a way forward over a period of weeks or months, whether what’s needed is a detailed transformation plan (Ian is working on tools to track this) or some high level agenda, perhaps just the agreement to revisit each category in turn in successive retrospectives.

Have the right people in your organisation reconcile the pathway agreed in the workshop with the strategy framework and you should have some confidence that people are suitably aligned and most of the bases will be covered in due course. That’s the theory anyway!

Don’t panic, we’re not about to go all top-down on you. Pathways are way to meet the needs of sponsors and participants alike – a credible plan-for-a-plan, the product of a facilitated process, and the fruit of agreement (value #8), where buy-in is an early outcome, not a problem to be overcome at the end.

It’s really happening

8 days isn’t long but it’s not too late to join us if you’d like to have your name included in our partner directory on launch day. Interested? Check out the programme or simply hang out in our Slack community, get a feel for the place, and join the conversation when you’re ready.

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