The new Leading with Outcomes: Foundation is out of beta

Leading with Outcomes’ updated Foundation module is 26% shorter, much better paced, and today it leaves beta. Academy subscribers who joined before today will still have access to the old one for the next few weeks, but for most people, the new Foundation is where Leading with Outcomes starts.

Today I recorded a new welcome video for the Leading with Outcomes: Foundation landing page (06:29):

What’s going live today comes in the format of self-paced training. There are live, instructor-led events too (it’s not unusual for people to take Leading with Outcomes multiple times and in multiple formats):

If you’re an Agendashift Academy subscriber, check the Welcome pages in your Academy library for your subscription plan’s coupon codes. If you’re not a subscriber, subscribe first and save some money!

Between those two paid events, this free taster event (the first of a monthly series) is open to all:


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Agendashift roundup, October 2022

In this edition: November is Foundation month; December is TTT/F month; The questions that drive us (free webinar series); Coming to Berlin; A quick note from the department of administrative affairs; Upcoming; Top posts

November is Foundation month

Leading with Outcomes: Foundation that is, and in two formats.

The self-paced format first: Coming in at 1 hour 50 minutes in 25 short videos across three chapters, the next and greatly improved iteration of Foundation is 26% shorter, a year fresher, and much better structured than the one it replaces. It is currently in beta and goes fully live this coming Friday. If you plan to start your Academy subscription before then or you have one already don’t worry – we’d be glad to add you to the beta.

Later in the month, we’re running it as an online event. It is already well subscribed but there are still places available:

More:

December is TTT/F month

We’re running our second Train-the-Trainer / Facilitator (TTT/F) in December:

The later timing will be more convenient for the Americas this time round. Again, it is already well subscribed but there are still places available (3 at the last count).

The questions that drive us (free webinar series)

Starting December 9th, we’re starting a monthly series of free webinars, open to all. Initially at least, the format will be as follows:

  1. A short presentation on one of the three questions that drive both Agendashift and Leading with Outcomes
  2. Ask Mike Anything – in addition to the Academy-only AMA sessions (two of those per month), your chance to, erm, ask me anything

To that basic structure we will add guest appearances too in due course.

December’s question (book your place here):

In future months:

  • How do we keep bringing outcomes to the foreground?
  • Where – and where else – could we be developing and pursuing strategy?

Three questions, three principles, three ways in which leaders can help themselves be more effective in a transforming organisation.

For the big strategy occasions, for those everyday interactions, and for everything in between, we help leaders at all levels put those principles into practice:

  • Having the kinds of conversations that too often get missed, fostering authentic engagement on the issues and the opportunities
  • Helping their teams work backwards from key moments of impact and learning, innovation focussed on the right objectives, pursued in the right way
  • Engaging with their organisations in all of their complexity and potential

Coming to Berlin

For my first trip outside the UK since covid, I need to be in Berlin on February 9th. Thanks to my friend Markus Hipelli at Leanovate, we have a venue for a 1-day Foundation or 2-day TTT/F on the day or two immediately beforehand. If interested, let me know, and let me know which of those you’d prefer!

A quick note from the department of administrative affairs

Positive Incline Ltd has officially changed its name to Agendashift Ltd. The old company name is most prominent to mailing list subscribers (for annoying technical reasons it remains so for now); other details such as company number, VAT number, bank account, etc stay the same. The changes will take a while to fully work through but still it’s another nice milestone.

Upcoming

And as mentioned above, watch this space for a Berlin-based event in February.

Anytime (self-paced):

Top posts

  1. Better user stories start with authentic situations of need (October 2016)
  2. Leaders as keepers of context (September)
  3. A leaner, fitter Foundation (October)
  4. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)
  5. Meaningfulness, significance, and direction (October)

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Meaningfulness, significance, and direction

As I mentioned last week, I’m busy working on a leaner, fitter version of Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. This updates the first self-paced study module at the Agendashift Academy and also makes it available in the form of interactive training, productised for use by other trainers.

Since last week’s announcement, I have renamed the middle session (of three). On reflection, “Aspiring to performance” seemed a bit generic – clichéd even. Its replacement, “Meaningfulness, significance, and direction” emerges quite naturally from the content – not summarising it exactly, but those three qualities do correspond nicely to the Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes model – the IdOO (“I do”) pattern that is introduced (through hands-on practice) in session 1 and further developed in chapter 2 (again through practice).

The core of the model goes like this:

  • Ideal – envision a compelling future
  • Obstacles – identify what’s in the way of what we want
  • Outcomes – look beyond those obstacles to something better

As you learn to move easily between those elements, properly contextualise those conversations, and organise what they produce into something coherent, you’re getting better at strategy. This can be “everyday” strategy – quick conversations to clarify the thinking around everyday bits of work – or as the overall arc of the “set piece” strategy occasion – participatory strategy reviews and the like. It’s even a model for leadership!

And so to meaningfulness, significance, and direction. Not a new model, but capturing some of the intent behind the IdOO pattern and Agendashift more broadly:

  • Meaningfulness – outcomes not as metrics or targets, but things meaningful to us, identified and articulated through authentic dialogue. Often, we set this up in the Ideal part with stories of people making meaningful progress.
  • Significance – instead of falling into the trap of solving problems just because they are there, choosing our obstacles for what they represent and taking the trouble to frame them carefully
  • Direction – our direction is set by the outcomes we’re choosing to pursue, not by monolithic solutions (perhaps sold to us with outcomes), or by plans whose all-consuming execution comes at the expense of what’s meaningful and significant. Outcome-orientation, in other words.

As well as re-recording the self-paced study version of Foundation, I’m also hosting it in the form of participatory online training over the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of November. All sessions 14:00-16:00GMT, over Zoom, and highly hands-on. Price: just £195 + VAT. Ping us for a discount code if:

  • You have an Academy subscription
  • You’re an Agendashift partner
  • You’re an employee of a government, educational, or non-profit organisation, or are currently unemployed – we’re glad to offer significant discounts here
  • You completed September’s TTT/F or are booked on December’s – for you it’s free

Book here:

And if interested in teaching it yourself or in facilitating the related workshops:


Upcoming

Anytime:


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A leaner, fitter Foundation

Big news: I’m switching the Agendashift Academy’s top two priorities. Instead of recording the next self-paced training module Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale, I’m postponing that in favour of a leaner, fitter Leading with Outcomes: Foundation. If you were waiting for the former, expect that now in the new year.

In the coming weeks, as well as re-recording the self-paced study version of Foundation, I’m also hosting it in the form of participatory online training, 22-24 November, three two-hour sessions in the afternoons, UK time. The three sessions:

  1. Tuesday 22nd: Leading in a transforming organisation – introducing outcome-oriented change
  2. Wednesday 23rd: Aspiring to performance – two kinds of strategy and a virtuous circle
  3. Thursday 24th: Moving into action – ideas, experiments, feedback, and learning

All sessions 14:00-16:00GMT, over Zoom, and highly hands-on.

Compared to the self-paced study version, there is of course the experience of working with others in a participatory process. What makes this new version very much leaner and fitter:

  • We engage with the IdOO (“I do”) pattern (Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes) much sooner, reducing the number of new concepts that need to be introduced as part of the bigger strategy conversations
  • We introduce inside-out and outside-in strategy together – one chapter instead of two
  • We lose the Adaptive Organisation chapter altogether; it gets a mention when the rest of the Leading with Outcomes curriculum is covered at the end

Compared to the self-paced study version, there is the experience of working with others in a participatory process.

The three sessions (or chapters, in the self-paced version):

  1. Leading in a transforming organisation – introducing outcome-oriented change
  2. Aspiring to performance – two kinds of strategy and a virtuous circle
  3. Moving into action – ideas, experiments, feedback, and learning

If you can identify in any way with the Agendashift Academy’s strapline “leadership and strategy in a transforming organisation”, then this is for you. And don’t worry if you’re not sure what that means! If you can imagine making a contribution to a strategy process that invites participation – whether that’s for your first-hand experience of your organisation’s challenges, your domain expertise, your sponsorship, your ownership of the change process, or your interest in the process as a facilitator, coach, consultant, or host – you’ll fit right in. And for prospective trainers, Foundation is where Leading with Outcomes begins; it’s your chance to experience it outside of the more trainer-focussed atmosphere of TTT/F.

Price: just £195 + VAT. Ping us for a discount code if:

  • You have an Academy subscription
  • You’re an Agendashift partner
  • You’re an employee of a government, educational, or non-profit organisation, or are currently unemployed – we’re glad to offer significant discounts here
  • You completed September’s TTT/F or are booked on December’s – for you it’s free

Book here:

While we’re here, yet more savings

I’m the opening speaker at The Study of Enterprise Agility Conference (SEACON) part 2 in London on November 7th. Offers:


Upcoming

Anytime:


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Agendashift roundup, September 2022

In this edition: Leaders as keepers of context; Academy update; Agendashift assessments; Patterns of Generative Conversations; Upcoming; Top posts

Leaders as keepers of context

In case you missed it, just to highlight what by some distance has been this month’s most-read post:

Academy update

Our first Leading with Outcomes Train-the-Trainer / Facilitator finished just a couple of days ago and already I’m looking forward to December’s! It was a productive time: in the first of four half-day sessions that began last week, I took the opportunity to debut a slimline 2.0 version of the Foundation module and I plan to have an even slicker 2.1 version ready for the December event.

Availability-wise, 2.0 is available to trainers now and 2.1 will be available as soon as it is tested (ie no later than December); for Academy subscribers I’ll record the latest available version early in the new year.

More information on the Trainer / Facilitator programmes and details of the next (more Americas-friendly) TTT/F here:

Meanwhile, recording for the fourth Leading with Outcomes module Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale has started. I don’t want to commit to a release schedule just yet but do expect visible (and consumable) progress in the coming weeks.

Agendashift assessments

Two things, both of them the work of Agendashift partners:

  1. Watch Agendashift Assessments (youtube.com) – Agendashift partner Steven Mackenzie interviewed by Dan Gibson for the Add Agility podcast
  2. And as translated by Caglagul Turhan, Agendashift assessments are now available in Turkish

Grateful thanks to all concerned! As mentioned in both, you can try the mini assessments in any of the supported languages for free:

The full version of the Delivery assessment is widely used in private workshops and coaching engagements, and it features in the following training:

Other templates are available; the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation Assessment was tested in a beta programme with multiple organisations a few months ago and it will feature in the forthcoming Adaptive Organisation module (see the Academy update above).

Patterns of Generative Conversations

It’s not quite back to the drawing board, but my current writing project needs rather more rework than I had anticipated. I’ve done enough already to know that it will be worth the effort, but suffice it to say that I am not currently quoting a publication schedule for what will be my fourth book. I still aim to start my fifth earlyish next year, the book of the module Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale.

Upcoming

Anytime:

Top posts

  1. Leaders as keepers of context
  2. A new (alternate) Outside-in Strategy Review template (July)
  3. Agendashift assessments are now available in Turkish
  4. Six commitments: Putting the ‘Deliberate’ into the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (August)
  5. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)

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Agendashift assessments are now available in Turkish

Thanks to the translation efforts of Caglagul Turhan, the following Agendashift assessments are now available in Turkish:

  • As described chapters 2 and 3 of the Agendashift 2nd edition, the Agendashift Delivery Assessment in original, mini, and pathway variants
  • As inspired by chapters 5 and 6, the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation Assessment

For the delivery assessment, that’s language number 14!

You can try the mini version of the Delivery assessment in any of the supported languages for free:

The full version of the Delivery assessment is widely used in private workshops and coaching engagements, and it features in the following training:

The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation Assessment was tested in a beta programme with multiple organisations a few months ago and will feature in the forthcoming Leading with Outcomes module Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale. Recording begins next week!


Upcoming

Anytime:


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Leaders as keepers of context

What if all failures were failures of context? OK, that’s an exaggeration, but as a working default assumption, it sure beats assuming failures of competence or character. Moreover, it can be the beginning of a generative line of thinking, one that puts you in the role of keeper of context.

Suppose that you’re a leader in a transforming organisation [1] and you witness an unproductive conversation. What is the shared context that this conversation is missing? You might intervene and provide some, but that’s not the point. Instead, work backwards. What was the conversation that didn’t take place, the one in which that context would have been established? Look not only at formal meetings but at how activities are sequenced, how their respective conversations happen, and their quality. What opportunities for context-creating conversations are we missing?

Looking at your organisation’s processes, it’s easy to focus on just the formal sequence of activities and overlook the interactions that happen (or need to happen) between them, and in particular, their conversations. When each activity involves different people and the chain of activities is long, it’s not hard to see how context gets lost.

Going deeper into organisation design and questions of meaningfulness, suppose now that you come across some work that failed to delight the customer. What went wrong? Lack of skill? Lack of commitment? These are easy conclusions to reach, but let’s try a different kind of assumption. Could this again be a failure of context? Was that work done with a deep enough appreciation of the context into which that work would be delivered? Where was the opportunity to appreciate the customer’s struggles? Where was the opportunity to explore their needs, to identify measures of customer progress, and so on? And suppose that the work had instead been successful, what kind of feedback would those involved have received? Could it be that our role definitions and process designs keep the people closest to the work insulated from the context they need?

Finally, suppose now that you suspect you’re seeing people lose their sense of what’s important, who they are, and what their team is about. Not so surprising in a transforming organisation! When you see confusion, it doesn’t usually help to ask what people are doing or what they are thinking. Instead, go back to the beginning and let them tell the story. If it turns out that the one who was confused was you, don’t be surprised. Context really is everything.

My perspective on these issues of context has evolved. In my first book, I suggested that you might try the assumption that any failures of process you encounter were rooted in failures of collaboration. If you’re looking for systemic causes – making it easier to adopt this perspective non-judgementally ­– I’ve found that this perspective can be highly productive.

Going back a few more years to when I was a global manager of managers, I would see failures of leadership. Confrontational perhaps, but again productive when the failing collaboration involved an imbalance of power or experience, and the more senior party involved needed to understand their additional responsibility in the relationship.

Failures of context, collaboration, or leadership: three closely related perspectives yet quite different in tone. When you’re a manager dealing with these issues daily or an external practitioner sensing one for the first time, which perspective do you choose? I remain comfortable with all three; the right one on the day is the one that leads to the insights needed via a safe and productive conversation. And if you’re not sure, you can always ask!

[1] Leaders in transforming organisations are the Agendashift Academy’s focus; this post expands on two end-of section reflections from Leading with Outcomes: Foundation and Inside-out Strategy: Fit for maximum impact.

Related


Upcoming

Anytime:


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Agendashift roundup, August 2022

In this edition: Patterns of generative conversations; December TTT/F; (The Deliberately) Adaptive Organisation; Upcoming; Top posts

Patterns of generative conversations

Something to celebrate: This morning I delivered the manuscript for my fourth book, working title Patterns of Generative Conversations, a shortish (100-page) commission for Gervase Bushe and Bob Marshak’s BMI series in dialogic organisation development. If you’ve read the Agendashift 2nd edition, it expands on the “one model to the tune of another” reconciliation I did between Agendashift and Gervase’s Generative Change Model. If you haven’t, it will be an accessible and (I’m told) energetic introduction to both. As soon as I have a publication schedule I will of course announce it here.

December TTT/F

We have a quorum for September’s Leading with Outcomes Train-the-Trainer / Facilitator, so December’s is now open. It will take place over Zoom in the evenings UK time, beginning 17:30 GMT, 12:30 ET, 09:30 PT. If that’s too late for you, the September one begins 13:00 BST (places still available), and the February one (to be opened in due course) will take place in the morning, UK time.

More information:

To go directly to the booking pages:

And don’t forget to use your discount code! 30% off for partners, 25-40% off for most Academy subscribers (according to your subscription plan), 40% off for government, non-profit, education, etc also. If you don’t have your code already, ping me.

(The Deliberately) Adaptive Organisation

August has been a strangely productive month – that’s what a diary mostly empty of meetings does for you! Over September I’ll start recording the fourth module of Leading with Outcomes, Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale, and as part of my preparations, some blog posts:

There’s a book there too, my next big writing project.

The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

Upcoming

Anytime:

Top posts

  1. Six commitments: Putting the ‘Deliberate’ into the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation
  2. Open AMA (Ask Mike Anything) sessions
  3. New! Authorised Facilitator and Trainer Programmes for Leading with Outcomes (July)
  4. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)
  5. What does it mean to lead in a wholehearted organisation?

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December Train-the-Trainer / Facilitator is now open

We have a quorum for September’s Leading with Outcomes TTT/F so December’s is now open. It will take place over Zoom in the evenings UK time, beginning 17:30 GMT, 12:30 ET, 09:30 PT. If that’s too late for you, the September one begins 13:00 BST (places still available), and the February one (to be opened in due course) will take place in the morning, UK time.

More information:

To go directly to the booking pages:

And don’t forget to use your discount code! 30% off for partners, 25-40% off for most Academy subscribers (according to your subscription plan), 40% off for government, non-profit, education, etc also. If you don’t have your code already, ping me.


Upcoming

Anytime:


Agendashift™: Serving the transforming organisation
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Open AMA (Ask Mike Anything) sessions

Just for the months of August and September I’m opening up the Academy’s AMA sessions to all. If you have any questions at all about Leading with Outcomes, the new Trainer & Facilitator programmes (see Upcoming events below for the first TTT/F training), or anything else for that matter, join us!

If you knew about these already, please note that this week’s is pushed back to next week due to an ongoing medical thing family-wise which means that I can’t be sure to be able to make it. I am however contactable and would be glad of a catch-up if you don’t mind the possibility of life intruding a bit!

Open AMA sessions

For the Zoom link, check the email version of this post if you’re on the mailing list, the #community channel on Slack, or Public events in Circle, or ping me.

  • Wednesday, August 17th, 10:00 BST, 11:00 CEST (not the 10th as previously advertised)
  • Wednesday, August 24th 16:00 BST, 17:00 CEST, 11am EDT, 8am PDT
  • Wednesday, September 7th, 10:00 BST, 11:00 CEST
  • Wednesday, September 14th, 16:00 BST, 17:00 CEST, 11am EDT, 8am PDT

Upcoming events


Agendashift™: Serving the transforming organisation
Agendashift  Academy: Leading with Outcomes | Facilitator and Trainer Programmes

Links: HomeSubscribe | Events | Contact | Mike
Resources: Tools & Materials | Media | BooksAssessments 
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter