If Agendashift is the answer, what’s the question?

If you’ve seen my 2-minute welcome video for our May 18th conference you’ll know the question already:

What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

What if we don’t do that? Well, the symptoms will be familiar:

  • You’re going through the pain of rolling out a solution and no-one can quite remember why the the solution or the pain is necessary
  • Circular thinking – the solution becoming the strategy – business goals out of the window long ago
  • Beyond solutions, the only expressions of strategy that anyone can remember are vague and uninspiring: “improvement”, “efficiency”, and the like
  • You’re stuck in an endless cycle of disappointing solution after disappointing solution – systems, reorganisations, and so on – none of them living up to their promises 
  • For those or other reasons and more, people disengaging, not seeing the point of it all (if ever they did)

Replace “solution” in the above with “Agile process framework” and you’ll understand some of our motivation. But without any way condoning the incongruent, ironic, and dare I say tragic imposition of something that was meant to engender collaboration, innovation, and other manifestations of engagement, the problem goes much wider and we’re not afraid to aim high!

So let’s get down to business:

Imagine you decided that you would be serious and deliberate about that, determined to keep authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of all the rest. The right people in the room agreeing to pursue outcomes that matter – needs met, happy endings, the world changed. Great decision, but now what? How do you make that work? What does it imply for your organisation and its leadership?

For me, four big questions follow:

  1. How do we hold those conversations? Who participates? Who’s invited? How are these new kinds of conversation conducted? How are they focussed on the right things? What keeps them on a productive track?
  2. How do we organise that into strategy? How do organise the results of those conversations into strategy that’s engaging, adaptive, proactive, listening as it learns, encouraging the generation of new knowledge?
  3. How do we turn strategy into action? How do we encourage innovation at the edges, solutions emerging from the people closest to the problem?
  4. How do we sustain all that? How do we make it self-sustaining, self-sustaining, such that is works for people, for team, all levels up from there, business agility at every scale?

This is the point at which I say with a smile “Welcome to Agendashift – these are the kinds of questions we like to answer”. Those four big questions or the topics implied by them – New kinds of conversation, Adaptive strategy, Innovation at the edges, Business agility at every scale – they’re a pretty good way to organise everything that Agendashift offers.

Come to the conference and you’ll hear a range of voices speaking into those challenges. If you’re grappling with any of them, or experience any of the symptoms that suggest that perhaps you ought to be doing so, join us. For the manual, you can read the book (the new 2nd edition). And check out what’s Upcoming at the bottom of this post – workshops and other events, all of them speaking to at least one of these themes.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the Thursday Lean Coffee Zoom group (details in #community in Slack) for input on this iteration, and to Karl Scotland for “solutions emerging from the people closest to the problem” (used with his permission in the book also).

Related:

  1. Join us on May 18th for Agendashift 2021, our inaugural conference
  2. Why the Agendashift 2nd edition? What happened?
  3. Out on Monday, the Agendashift 2nd edition

     

Agendashift 2021 May 18th Page Image


Upcoming

Workshops:

Other events:


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