Agendashift roundup, March 2022

In this edition: Serving the transforming organisation / Three meta strategies; Agendashift 2nd edition in German; Academy update; Upcoming events; Top posts

Serving the transforming organisation / Three meta strategies

New strapline, new pitch! Agendashift’s “Serving the transforming organisation” complements the Academy’s “Leadership and strategy in the transforming organisation” and expands on the latter’s audience of “leaders in transforming organisations”.

Settling down nicely after several iterations is Agendashift’s new elevator pitch. Check out:

  1. The Agendashift home page, the top section in particular
  2. The meetup video published earlier this month, Leading and transforming with outcomes

Showing some of my working (accidentally published as two separate posts, also a little out of date now):

  1. Updated: Agendashift’s three meta strategies (March)
  2. Agendashift’s three meta strategies (February)

What you’ll see as it continues to develop – and I with it – is more time developing the highs and lows of the pitch. With the help of Academy co-founder Kjell Tore Guttormsen I’m learning to resist the urge to get to the detail of how Agendashift works, instead telling a story that is easily relatable. That urge in me is so strong, so be patient with me…

Agendashift 2nd edition in German

I’m thrilled to announce that the German translation of the Agendashift 2nd edition is out, translated by Björn Jensen and Jennifer Pfahl and published by dpunkt.verlag. That completes the set! Most recent first:

  1. Agendashift™: Ergebnisorientierter Wandel und kontinuierliche Transformation in agilen Organisationen (original: Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation)
  2. Right to Left: Der Leitfaden zu Lean und Agile für Digital Leader (original: Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile)
  3. Kanban: Verstehen, einführen und anwenden (original: Kanban from the Inside)

A sincere thank you to Björn and Jennifer, also to Christa Preisendanz and her team at dpunkt.verlag.

Academy update

Big announcement next month. More than that I can’t say right now, but don’t worry, it’s going well 🙂

Upcoming events

Top posts

  1. Video: Leading and Transforming with Outcomes (March)
  2. No longer doing business in Russia (March)
  3. The 1967 Manifesto for The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (October)
  4. Updated: Agendashift’s three meta strategies (March)
  5. Out of beta, Leading with Outcomes: Foundation goes fully live today (February)

What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

Agendashift™: Serving the transforming organisation
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Updated: Agendashift’s three meta strategies

[Updated March 10th: tweaked the headings, replaced the image]

Or if you prefer:

  • After Rumelt, three guiding policies – thank you Oren Golan for the reminder
  • Less grandly, three things to keep working at if you’re doing anything strategy-related (which, if you think about it, should be a lot of the time)

For now at least (this is a work in progress) I’ll go with meta strategies. They’re strategies for getting better at strategy, in particular the kinds of strategy that tends to motivate transformation. And forgive me if I drop the meta once in a while.

Meta strategy 1. Keep asking the “agreement on outcomes” question

Which is to say, keep asking this question and learn to really mean it:

What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

Authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes. “Authentic agreement” meaning the right people in the room, agreeing on things that matter, expressed in their own words. “Meaningful outcomes” meaning not just numbers, not just targets, but needs met, happy endings to stories, the world changed for people in meaningful ways.

Solutions second, outcomes leading the way – literally “leading with outcomes” [1] – solutions emerging from the people closest to the problem [2], people already motivated to find them.

All of that is a 180 degree turnaround from those 1990’s models of managed change, a different paradigm entirely. Instead of using outcomes to sell solutions (and very often solutions of the wrong kid of scale), we use outcomes to find solutions. Not just game-changing for engagement, a completely different game.

Meta strategy 2. Change the game’s objectives to keep outcomes in the foreground

The trick here is to change the meaning of ‘done’:

  • You’re ‘done’ only when needs have been met
  • You’re ‘really done’ only when you have fully accounted for all the learning

Outcomes don’t go away once we start thinking about solutions – quite the opposite. Outcomes change what ‘done’ and ‘really done’ mean. When we account properly for learning, it creates certain expections, helping to keep ‘done’, ‘really done’, and all the outcomes they represent in the foreground. Solutions are kept in their proper place, just a means to an end, held much more lightly.

We’re done when “someone’s need was met” [3], the outcome demonstrably achieved. This implies that we know whose need we’re trying to meet, what need, and how we’d know that we have indeed met it.

We’re really done when we’ve fully accounted for all the learning that goes with achieving the outcome. To be sure of not missing any, work is framed in the right way (as hypotheses and experiments, whenever that’s appropriate), the right things are monitored, and regular reviews are in place. The regular rhythm of review and the shared understanding of what each review entails creates containers for learning. If you know that the learning will need to be accounted for, it really changes how you work.

Meta strategy 3. Keep developing your understanding of where all this happens

Where rather than how, because the third meta strategy of the three is not about practice or process, but organisation [4]. It’s about working to eliminate a common organisational dysfunction, also working to develop a kind of organsational agility that’s about so much more than mere speed.

If instead of keeping outcomes in the foreground you allow yourself to be distracted by solutions and how you’re rolling them out, you are managing for progress (or worse, activity), not impact. Compounding the error, one group manages things that people closer to the work could easily be managing for themselves. And it works in the opposite direction too: one group second-guessing the needs, priorities, and strategies of another. In short: the wrong people managing for the wrong things. Totally dysfunctional, so common, and don’t be so sure that your branded process framework or your PMO will fix it for you either!

Often this dysfunction happens between levels of organisation (up and/or down), but the trick is to think less in terms of hierarchy or process and more in terms of identity and purpose. For an outcome, what’s the group of people most closely identified with it or that you would want to see organising around it? Conversely, for any group of people with an identity of its own and the apparent will to develop itself – team, team of teams, something bigger, something cross-cutting, whatever – what are the outcomes that it is pursuing? What, in other words, is its strategy, and has it been afforded the opportunity to develop it for itself and in its own words?

That way of looking at organisation has a dynamism that’s simply not there in the org chart or the process diagram. People participating in multiple circles, circles that overlap and rapidly share learning, insights, and intelligence because they also share people. For as long as they’re needed, circles that have lives of their own. Structures that by themselves and in their relationships support both the development of people and the development of the organisation. Structures rich and dynamic enough to meet the ever-changing complexities of the business environment.

With this third meta strategy, the preceding two don’t just have a home, they have many homes. Strategy becomes something fractal and emergent, living in the conversations not just within circles, but between them.

3 meta strategies

[1] This section drawn from the first video in Leading with Outcomes: Foundation (academy.agendashift.com)
[2] Thank you Karl Scotland for that wording
[3] See Done (agendashift.com/done)
[4] See the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (deliberately-adaptive.org)

For further reading, my two most recent books:

  1. Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (2nd ed 2021)
  2. Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile (2019, audiobook 2020)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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No longer doing business in Russia

Praying – and not without hope – for a swift, just, and lasting resolution to Putin’s war of devastation in Ukraine, I stand with Ukraine’s people and its elected government.

No longer doing business in Russia means no new partners there, no renewals, no partner listings. Relative to the abomination that is Putin’s invasion this is a tiny thing, but it’s done.

For the record, I fully support the sanctions regime. As a past visitor to Russia, I take no pleasure whatsoever in the impact it will have on its citizens, but by its immoral actions, Putin’s government lost the right to participate in the global financial infrastructure. Denied the means to sustain the war and perhaps to repeat its pattern of behaviour elsewhere, I hope that it comes to its senses soon. Enough is enough.

Mike
agendashift.com/mike

Video: Leading and Transforming with Outcomes

Recorded yesterday at Agile Hartford, thank you Larry Bock for hosting!

Our media page has several meetup talks with this same title, but as I mention in near the beginning, I spent the day yesterday doing a complete rewrite. The recent blog post that sowed the seeds for that rewrite is this one: Agendashift’s three meta strategies and I’m very pleased with how it came out.

Most of the links mentioned in the video you’ll find at the bottom of this (and every) blog post. Apart from this one:

Enjoy!


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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Agendashift roundup, February 2022

In this edition: Leading with Outcomes: Foundation is live!; Agendashift’s three meta strategies; Upcoming events; Top posts

Leading with Outcomes: Foundation is live!

As announced earlier this month:

The short version: The “old” Leading with Outcomes (online self-paced training from the Agendashift Academy) is replaced with a foundation module, the beginnings of a new three-track curriculum. We’re very excited about it! Two and a half hours of video in tasty bitesized chunks taking you through 18 practical exercises. If by any definition you could describe yourself as being (or aspiring to being) a leader in a transforming organisation, then it’s for you – and for many of your colleagues also.

Sign up here:

Very happy with feedback so far. Happy also to report meanwhile that recording of Inside-out Strategy: Fit for maximum impact is going well. And to complement it in the Inside-out Strategy track we’ll be announcing an interactive workshop soon.

certificate-079mZeQ-07RXRNG-1920-1080

Agendashift’s three meta strategies

Or less grandly, three things to keep doing if you’re doing anything strategy-related.

It’s early days, but it seems likely to me that these will supersede the principles that in the Agendashift 2nd edition were already de-emphasised:

Upcoming events

As mentioned, we’ll start scheduling workshops again as the new Leading with Outcomes curriculum gets up and running.

Several private speaking engagements happening – can’t talk about those of course but one public one is imminent:

Top posts

This month’s top five most-read posts are the three already mentioned plus a couple of old favourites:

  1. Out of beta, Leading with Outcomes: Foundation goes fully live today
  2. Agendashift’s three meta strategies
  3. Agendashift Academy has a community on Circle
  4. The 1967 Manifesto for The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (October 2021)
  5. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model
Links: Home |
About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
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Agendashift’s three meta strategies

Or less grandly, three things to keep doing if you’re doing anything strategy-related (which, if you think about it, should be a lot of the time).

Meta strategy 1. Keep asking this question: “What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?”

Authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes. “Authentic agreement” meaning the right people in the room, agreeing on things that matter, expressed in their own words. “Meaningful outcomes” meaning not just numbers, not just targets, but needs met, happy endings to stories, the world changed for people in meaningful ways.

Solutions second, outcomes leading the way – literally “leading with outcomes” [1] – solutions emerging from the people closest to the problem [2], people already motivated to find them.

All of that is a 180 degree turnaround from those 1990’s models of managed change, a different paradigm entirely. Instead of using outcomes to sell solutions (and very often solutions of the wrong kid of scale), we use outcomes to find solutions. Not just game-changing for engagement, a completely different game.

Meta strategy 2. Keep outcomes in the foreground; you’re ‘done’ when needs have been met, ‘really done’ when you have fully accounted for all the learning

Outcomes don’t go away once we start thinking about solutions – quite the opposite. Outcomes change what ‘done’ and ‘really done’ mean. When we account properly for learning, it creates certain expections, helping to keep ‘done’, ‘really done’, and all the outcomes they represent in the foreground. Solutions are kept in their proper place, just a means to an end, held much more lightly.

We’re done when “someone’s need was met” [3], the outcome demonstrably achieved. This implies that we know whose need we’re trying to meet, what need, and how we’d know that we have indeed met it.

We’re really done when we’ve fully accounted for all the learning that goes with achieving the outcome. To be sure of not missing any, work is framed in the right way (as hypotheses and experiments, whenever that’s appropriate), the right things are monitored, and regular reviews are in place. The regular rhythm of review and the shared understanding of what each review entails creates containers for learning. If you know that the learning will need to be accounted for, it really changes how you work.

Meta strategy 3. Keep developing your understanding of where all this happens

Where rather than how, because the third meta strategy of the three is not about practice or process, but organisation [4]. It’s about working to eliminate a common organisational dysfunction, also working to develop a kind of organsational agility that’s about so much more than mere speed.

If instead of keeping outcomes in the foreground you allow yourself to be distracted by solutions and how you’re rolling them out, you manage for progress, not impact. Compounding the error, one group manages things that people closer to the work could easily be managing for themselves. And it works in the opposite direction too: one group second-guessing the needs, priorities, and strategies of another. In short: the wrong people managing for the wrong things. Totally dysfunctional, so common, and don’t be so sure that your branded process framework or your PMO will fix it for you either!

Often this dysfunction happens between levels of organisation (up and/or down), but the trick is to think less in terms of levels or hierarchy and more in terms of identity. For an outcome, what’s the group of people most closely identified with it or that you would want to see organising around it? Conversely (and more powerfully), for any group of people with an identity of its own and the apparent will to develop itself – team, team of teams, something bigger, something cross-cutting, whatever – what are the outcomes that it is pursuing? What, in other words, is its strategy, and has it been afforded the opportunity to develop it for itself and in its own words?

That way of looking at organisation has a dynamism that’s simply not there in the org chart or the process diagram. People participating in multiple circles, circles that overlap and rapidly share learning, insights, and intelligence because they also share people. For as long as they’re needed, circles that have lives of their own. Structures that support both the development of people and the development of the organisation. Structures rich and dynamic enough to meet the ever-changing complexities of the business environment.

With this third meta strategy, the preceding two don’t just have a home, they have many homes. Strategy becomes something fractal and emergent, living in the conversations not just within circles, but between them.

deliberately-adaptive-image

Summary

Agendashift’s three meta strategies, things to keep doing if you’re doing anything strategy-related:

  1. Keep asking this question:
    • What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?
  2. Keep outcomes in the foreground:
    • You’re ‘done’ only when needs have been met
    • You’re ‘really done’ only when you have fully accounted for all the learning
  3. Keep developing your understanding of where all this happens:
    • Less in terms of hierarchy
    • More in terms of identity

[1] This section drawn from the first video in Leading with Outcomes: Foundation (academy.agendashift.com)
[2] Thank you Karl Scotland for that wording
[3] See Done (agendashift.com/done)
[4] See the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (deliberately-adaptive.org)

For further reading, my two most recent books:

  1. Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (2nd ed 2021)
  2. Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile (2019, audibook 2020)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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Agendashift Academy has a community on Circle

For students and supporters of the Agendashift Academy (“Leadership and strategy in the transforming organisation”) there is now a community on Circle. Regardless of your role or level of seniority, if by any definition you’re a leader in a transforming organisation, you aspire to be one, or you support others in that, then you are most welcome.

Currently, it has two main areas (we’re calling them ‘circles’, each with their own more topic-specific  spaces within them):

  1. The Welcome circle is open to all logged-in users, a shared space for public Announcements and Public Events, also Member guidelines (please read) and the latest progress on Curriculum development. If you’d like to invite interested colleagues to this shared space you are welcome to use this link.
  2. The Foundation circle is a private, invitation-only space for students of Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. Invitation is automatic on signing up to the course, and every post in the course invites community commenting – you can do it without leaving the course but naturally you’ll want to join the conversation afterwards 🙂

Over the course of 2022, the three tracks of the Leading with Outcomes curriculum will get their own circles, as will members of the Academy’s affiliate programme and training community.

For mobile users on iOS there’s an app for Circle, this community’s host platform. Highly recommended! We’re told that an Android app is in the pipeline.

Should I join?

The new Circle-based community doesn’t replace the LinkedIn group or our Slack community – audiences overlap but they’re not the same. It is primarily for Agendashift Academy students and (soon) for other kinds of participants, but if for whatever reason, you’re interested in seeing how the Academy develops content-wise or ecosystem-wise, you’d be most welcome. Join here.

If you sign up for any Agendashift Academy training you’ll be invited automatically and added to the relevant private space. Currently that means the Foundation space for students of Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. If by any definition you could describe as a leader in a transforming organisation, you aspire to that, or you support others in that unique challenge, then it’s for you! Two and a half hours of bite-sized video content and 18 short exercises – great value at €99.

The next two Leading with Outcomes modules – one self-paced, one workshop – will be announced soon. They’re from the same track and you’ll be able to take them separately or together. The Foundation module will be a prerequisite for both.


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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Out of beta, Leading with Outcomes: Foundation goes fully live today

Too many organisations are habitually and perpetually distracted by solutions – often clumsy and inadequate solutions, solutions aimed at problems of little relevance to the business’s real challenges. Those solutions rarely live up to expectations, but still the organisation keeps paying the price – the pain of implementation and the business cost of all that distraction. What an expensive habit!

Up and down successfully transforming organisations, leaders in all kinds of roles have broken that habit. They know to lead not with solutions but with outcomes, inviting and sustaining engagement on what the organisation needs to achieve and on what it needs to become. And they have learned to keep those objectives integrated and relevant as things change and understanding evolves, a process that’s happening continuously at every level of organisation.

So if you’re a leader in a transforming organisation, whatever your level of experience, whatever your role, whatever your scope – team, team-of-teams, or something much bigger – Leading with Outcomes: Foundation is for you.

Yes, it’s here at last! It took a little longer than expected, but we leave beta proud of what we have created. If you participated in that beta, thank you!

certificate-079mZeQ-07RXRNG-1920-1080

What to expect

  • In bite-sized chunks – we take “self-paced” seriously – nearly two and a half hours of video instruction, no video more than a few minutes long
  • Four “chapters”:
    1. Inside-out strategy: Fit for maximum impact – the biggest chapter, as it introduces the Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes structure, Agendashift’s IdOO (“I do”) pattern
    2. Outside-in strategy: Positioned for success
    3. Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale
    4. Innovating for performance: Ideation, experimentation, and feedback
  • Over the course of those four chapters, 18 exercises taking you through that process
  • A student workbook in a choice of convenient formats
  • A student community where you can ask questions, share insights, and meet other leaders

All of it is designed for leaders at every level of organisation. Whatever your level of experience or authority, whether you’re a leader in a team, a team-of-teams, or the whole enterprise, you’ll find it relatable, fresh, and with just the right level of challenge. All for €99!

What’s new

What makes Leading with Outcomes: Foundation different to anything we’ve done before:

  • Our audience, “leaders in transforming organisations”, a description we hope many will be able to relate to, likewise the Agendashift Academy’s new strapline, “Leadership and strategy in the transforming organisation”
  • Compared to our workshops, it is unequivocally a training product, designed and delivered as such

To that first point, my empathy towards leaders in transforming organisations is very real, because I’ve been there myself. During the banking crisis I led a global department that found itself uncomfortably close to the centre of the storm. I’ve been a CTO in a startup, looking for its exit, needing to transform itself in the process. I’ve had hands-on leadership roles in two government digital transformations and advised others, much of that at the kind of scale that kept me in mind of what it was like to lead teams or to manage managers for the first time. More recently, it seems that Agendashift, its community, and its ecosystem are constantly evolving – something I’m glad about and a different kind of leadership responsibility perhaps, but still I feel it.

That second, training-related point is important too. Up to now, Agendashift has been largely a workshop-based product. But many workshops – including some very enjoyable and productive ones – should not be understood as training. The Leading with Outcomes curriculum will of course include the workshops for which we are best known, but LwO:Foundation is designed from the ground up as training. Its primary goal is clear: it is to greatly increase the number of leaders at all levels of experience and authority who are equipped to participate thoughtfully and effectively in the processes of strategy and transformation. Helping leaders increase their impact is how we increase ours.

What stays the same

What stays the same is the question:

What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

At a minimum, Leading with Outcomes: Foundation demonstrates the practicality of an outcome-oriented approach, all students having the opportunity to practice some basic strategy development themselves (and no, that is not above anyone’s pay grade, nor a job only for specialists). We hope that this will whet the appetite to develop fluency in the language of outcomes, whether that’s to enhance their leadership skills at their place of work or to support others.

What’s in store

After the LwO:Foundation prerequisite, Leading with Outcomes branches out into three tracks:

  1. Inside-out strategy – working on the experience and capability of the organisation (or your unit thereof), creating new possibilities, gaining fluency in the language of outcomes
  2. Outside-in strategy – keeping your organisation/unit well positioned in its business environment, meeting strategic needs, creating the right perceptions, developing product offerings, building a platform, creating advantage
  3. Adaptive organisation – helping the organisation become the organisation it needs to become, addressing its imbalances, disconnects, and other structural issues within and between levels, developing its people, and accelerating its learning

Each has modules in two formats, study (self-paced or classroom-based) and experiential (the workshops, in other words). As with Foundation, nothing is only for specialists; nothing is above (or below) anyone’s pay grade. Always, we start with the context that matters, yours.

The tracks will roll out in the above sequence over the course of 2022. Once they’re all in place, you’ll be able to take modules in whichever order suits you best. They will feature some of our best-known tools: Celebration-5W, 15-minute FOTO, the Agendashift Delivery Assessment, the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation Assessment, multiple mapping tools, Changeban, and more. The dual-format approach of each track means that you’ll have the opportunity both to experience these tools as a participant and to understand them from a more expert perspective.

What does it mean for Agendashift’s practitioner community?

Many in the Agendashift community are practitioners – consultants, coaches, facilitators, trainers, and so on. What does Leading with Outcomes mean for them?

Honestly, it is early days, and for me, 2022 will be dominated by the development of the three tracks. We don’t have all the details defined yet but we are making it possible to participate in more ways:

  1. Participating in the same training that your clients will take
  2. Participating economically as an affiliate
  3. Participating as a connector of communities
  4. Delivering certifiable training and/or workshops yourself

The first two of those options exist from day 1, with generous discounts/commissions for affiliates. The third option however isn’t yet well defined at all, and developing the pathway to the last one is a significant piece of work in its own right. We do know though that there is significant appetite already, and we are very open to working with others. With the right participation, perhaps it will come together sooner rather than later.

Let’s do this

Sign up today to Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. And bring your colleagues!

If you need to explore with us what it might mean to bring Foundation, the Leading with Outcomes curriculum or parts thereof into your organisation – perhaps as part of your leadership development or organisation development programme – don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us via support@agendashift.academy, the Agendashift contact page,  or you can contact me directly at mike@agendashift.com. Likewise if you see yourself participating in some of the other ways I have described – there is plenty of opportunity there!


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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Agendashift roundup, January 2022

In this edition: Leading with Outcomes: Foundation launches next week; Celebration-5W version 7; Upcoming events; Top posts

Leading with Outcomes: Foundation launches next week

We’ve been in beta a few weeks now, reworked a couple of things that didn’t land quite as well as I would have liked, and now we’re finishing off the final touches. We have a launch day in mind, but if it’s a day or two later, that’s ok!

If you’re a subscriber, you’ll know when it’s ready. A taste of what to expect meanwhile:

  • A Foundation module (launching next week) that will be the main entry point to the rest of the Leading with Outcomes curriculum, available initially as online self-paced training, later as classroom training (online or in person, public or private)
  • Primarily for “leaders in transforming organisations”; if you think there’s a chance that this description might fit you, your colleagues, and/or (if you have them) your clients, then it’s relevant – likewise if it describes something you could aspire to
  • Applicability at all levels of organisation, with something fresh and accessible to offer leaders at all levels of authority and experience
  • Plenty of practical exercises relevant to your context – 18 in Foundation alone! Spoiler alert: you will be doing some actual strategy work
  • Over the course of 2022, modules both study-based and experiential (public or private) for each of the following three tracks: Inside-out Strategy, Outside-in Strategy, and Adaptive Organisation

Celebration-5W version 7

More than just a version announcement, this post reveals some development work that I’m already testing privately and will include and explain in the Outside-in Strategy track of Leading with Outcomes:

Celebration-5W deck 2022-01 v7

Upcoming events

We’ll start scheduling workshops again as Leading with Outcomes gets up and running. A couple of planned speaking appearances will hit the events page in the next few days.

Top posts

  1. Celebration-5W version 7
  2. Leading with Outcomes: a cheat sheet (March 2021)
  3. Get unstuck and get going: Starting small with 5% and 15% outcomes (October 2021)
  4. Celebration-5W version 6, “your next big breakthrough” (September 2021)
  5. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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Celebration-5W version 7

Spot the difference:

The v7 deck of our context-capturing kickoff exercise Celebration-5W now has two sets of slides, one (left) with the What as “Key accomplishments, objectives, goals, your next breakthrough”, the other (right) with the newer “Your next big breakthrough and all that it makes possible”.

OK, if there are two variants, why not more?

Celebration-5W is actually pretty easy to change, even while you’re doing it! And it’s Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA); with appropriate attribution and under the same licence, you can even publish your version.

Some possible tweaks:

  • What: You’re celebrating the end of the project (not a variation I ever plan to try, but it’s easily done)
  • When: The earliest you dare celebrate the breakthrough upon which this upcoming period most depends (a good one for January, and I have done this one twice already this month)
  • Where: At which Prime Ministerial residence are you celebrating? Kidding, though I do say “have some fun with this one” – practicality isn’t the point here

What’s with the breakthough thing?

See Celebration-5W version 6, “your next big breakthrough” (September 2021).

Beyond that, I am actively exploring this kind of progression, which works as an extended kickoff or even a whole discovery workshop:

  1. Breakthrough – from Celebration-5W
  2. Adaptive challenge – the adaptive challenge that makes the breakthrough important
  3. Purpose – the purpose that makes the challenge meaningful and worth pursuing
  4. Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes – ie the IdOO (“I do”) pattern:
    1. envisioning a compelling future
    2. identifying what gets in the way of what we want
    3. looking beyond those to what’s better
  5. Organise the strategy* – from the preceding conversations, representing impactfully our understanding/expectation/theory of:
    1. what impacts what, and
    2. where to focus our efforts first

*Language not from the book but familiar if you’re participating in the private beta of Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. Think Mapping, OKR, Theory of Change, etc.

Compared to a typical Agendashift discovery workshop, stages 2 and 3 above replace Agendashift’s True North or similar generative image, minimising the amount of foreign material introduced and any biases that they may bring. True North is great – cathartic even – when you’re about to do something that’s mainly about internal experience and capability, but when you’re about to do some kind of outside-in strategy (say), it may set up the wrong expectations.

Inspiration: Gervase Bushe’s Generative Change Model, as featured in his book (highly recommended) The Dynamics of Generative Change (2020). You may remember that I reconciled this model with Agendashift in the 2nd edition of Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (2021). Not only did I find a remarkable correspondence between the two, the thinking didn’t stop there.

Bottom line: Celebration-5W is a fun and highly reliable kickoff exercise. I never regret using it, and when I didn’t use it but could have done, that was usually a mistake. To make it even better, consider it as more than just a standalone exercise.


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model
Links: Home |
About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
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Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter