Resistance – or feedback?

This week I came across blog post that categorised resistors to “Agile” (actually to Scrum) as “diehards, sabateurs, followers, and skeptics”. I couldn’t let that lie and I responded on LinkedIn, but my post is now unavailable, possibly – though I speculate – because the one I responded to in an important way misrepresents Mike Cohn’s original. So here it is again, and slightly longer.

To those who take a solutions-first approach to change, resistance means:

  1. You’re not selling hard enough, and
  2. It’s the fault of those resisting that they’re not buying (and hence those shamefully blaming labels)

Never mind the contradiction, it simply does not occur that maybe it’s feedback, a quite reasonable response when you’ve failed to involve people in the right way early enough, failed to recognise real systemic issues, or most likely both. But that would mean admitting that the solution and/or the change paradigm are wrong. For different reasons, both are difficult things to admit, so it doesn’t happen.

And they wonder why people disengage when Agile, Scrum, or <insert framework here> are inflicted on them! As far as I’m concerned, in frameworks-land, this is the only fight worth fighting. Forget fixing the the process frameworks, our relationship with them needs to change. In a healthier relationship, we would see them not as solutions to roll out, but as resources to draw on as people up and down the organisation find fitting solutions to strategic goals agreed authentically and in proper context. Not solutions-first, but outcome-oriented.

Outcome-oriented change is both practical and teachable. If you want to be a more effective leader in a transforming organisation, you aspire to that, or if it’s your job to support others in that journey, check out the Agendashift Academy’s self-paced training programme, Leading with Outcomes. We help leaders at all levels succeed at developing and pursuing the kinds of strategy that go hand-in-hand with transformation. Membership is now by subscription, and with plans for both businesses and individuals and monthly and yearly options for both, you’ll find a plan that suits you.

What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

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