You may have noticed that the blurb for our workshops and for the new book always starts with this:
Imagine… everyone able to work consistently at their best:
• Individuals, teams, between teams, across the organisation
• Right conversations, right people, best possible moment
• Needs anticipated, met at just the right time
It’s taken from one of our Discovery exercises (chapter 1), an early opportunity for participants to explore different ways of working not from the perspective of prescribed practices, but in terms of what it is like – how it feels, what’s different, and so on.
Some of the groups I’ve facilitated have found the exercise so cathartic that they ask repeatedly for more time. It’s not hard to see why:
- If you feel that you’re rarely given the opportunity to work at your best, your team doesn’t work well, or you’re painfully aware that teams aren’t working work well together, it can come as a relief to be given the chance to imagine a different reality
- Whether you’re a front line worker or a manager, conversations happening at the wrong time (or not at all) can be very frustrating
- For most of us, knowing that we’re meeting needs is crucial to finding meaning in our work
The current text of the book doesn’t identify these words as a True North statement (a compass direction rather than a destination), but it probably should. A True North for Agendashift certainly, and I’d like to put it forward as a True North for Lean-Agile also. It’s consistent with the Lean pillars of respect for people and just in time. Consistent with the Agile manifesto, it elevates individuals and interactions, combining those with a sense of timeliness (I joke that Agile seems to imply lots of meetings, the beginning – one hopes– of true collaboration).
In its favour as a worthy True North:
- It is easy to understand, worth striving for, and will remain always just out of reach. Transformation must be continuous, not a one-off project
- It works at every scale – from individual to organisation, and at scales in between
- In its last bullet, it conveys much-needed senses of proactive discovery (needs don’t get consistently anticipated by accident) and purpose (needs being met)
Also, it’s not specifically about software, or even about product development. That’s a departure from the Agile manifesto, but I have no doubt that this is in its favour too.
So… Does it work for you?
- Agendashift: clean conversations, coherent collaborations, continuous transformation (part 1) – out on Leanpub since May 11th
- Lean-Agile Strategy Days, London – June 7th & 8th, see day 2
- Caitlin Walker’s From Contempt to Curiosity, whose explorations of “working at your best” inspired the Agendashift exercise.
What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?
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