Optimising for Significance

It has been a couple of years since I first read John Doerr’s OKR classic Measure what Matters. You may remember my blog post at the time: There will be caveats: Warming cautiously to OKR. What I might not have mentioned then was that I very nearly didn’t read the book – I found the title quite off-putting!

My discomfort with Doerr’s title – misplaced as it turns out – is explained by a catchphrase I later coined: Meaning Before Method, one of two MBM’s which as a pair actually map very well to OKR.  In recent weeks I’ve read (or rather listened to) the book once more and enjoyed it. As for the title, more accurate but less catchy would be Measure things predictive of success in your clear and audacious objectives, taking care to preserve meaning. No issue with that!

I took the trouble this time to follow up on one of Doerr’s few references, in particular Dov Seidman’s How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything (another being former Intel chief Andy Grove’s High Output Management, which I am still to read). This early quote grabbed me, emphasis mine:

Think of it as a shift from valuing size to valuing significance. Conversations about “how much” constantly echo throughout business, politics, and our personal lives: How much revenue can we squeeze into this quarter? How much debt can we tolerate? How much growth can we generate? How big should government be? But “How much?” and “How big?” aren’t the right questions. Instead we should be asking how we can create organizations and societies that mirror our deepest values.

The expanded edition did feel a little long but I was rewarded for holding on until the end (emphasis his this time):

Before we part company, I want to leave you with one more paradox, the paradox of success, and it’s a corollary to the paradox of happiness. You cannot do success; you cannot achieve it by pursuing it directly. Success is something you get when you pursue something greater than yourself, and the word I use to describe that something is significance. All measures of success share one commonality: They signify the value of your passage through life. You can go on a journey of significance—a journey to do, make, extend, create, and support value in the world; and I believe, in the spirit of the Johnson & Johnson Credo, it is this journey that should bring you success, however you measure it.

Pursuing significance, in the end, is the ultimate how.

I talk quite a bit about meaning in work and I am resolved now to do the same with significance. Noting that close colleagues can vary hugely on the meaning they draw from their work (for some the craft, for some the challenge, for others the meeting of needs, for example), I should say that I don’t believe that anyone has the right to dictate how others draw meaning from their work. Helping them find it though, that’s another matter – it’s one bullet of my three-bullet summary definition of Servant Leadership (see the last chapter of my book Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile). Moreover, if leaders aren’t articulating credibly the significance of the work and encouraging others to explore and even challenge it – well that’s definitely a problem.

If optimising for value is a dead end (I can’t be alone in finding much of what is said in Agile circles about value delivery to be empty or even dysfunctional), perhaps we should be optimising instead for significance, expecting meaning (and other good things) to follow. I have a hunch that it’s going to be fun finding out what that really means.


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
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

Pilots wanted

As of the past week or so, Agendashift partners now have access to a new assessment template, a spin-off from the 2nd edition of the Agendashift book. It’s an Agendashift-style (non-prescriptive, non-judgemental, outcome-oriented, trust-building, etc) assessment tool for the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (deliberately-adaptive.org) and a significant development.

It’s a key part of the roadmap for 2021, both in its own right and as a stepping stone to Transforming with Outcomes, the third of three self-paced training modules (the first, Leading with Outcomes, is already up and running and the second, Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes, launches soon). The assessment is highly accessible and requires no special knowledge on the part of participants; nevertheless, the underlying model is super interesting.

The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation integrates Agendashift and the Deliberately Developmental Organisation (see Bob Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey’s 2016 book An Everyone Culture) into the Viable System Model. VSM is Stafford Beer’s classic at-every-scale (fractal) model of systems that “have the desire to meet the demands of a changing environment”, and it’s a model of extraordinary diagnostic power. Combining it with Agendashift creates the opportunity to use it in a dialogic way – not diagnosing and prescribing, but helping the organisation have the conversations it needs to have with itself.

The assessment comprises 35 prompts across 5 categories:

  1. Intentful Knowledge Discovery
  2. Mutual Trust Building
  3. Adaptive Strategy
  4. Between and Across Levels
  5. Self-governance, Self-development, and Self-organisation

I’m looking for potential pilots to test the assessment, complete with its accompanying Agendashift-style debrief and followup exercises.

Further to the fourth of the above categories, Between and Across Levels, I’m particularly interested in contexts where there’s the potential for strategy to develop at and across multiple levels of organisation – in teams of teams for example.

To set some expectations:

  • There are no set limits to the number of survey respondents – typically most will respond online in their own time but scheduled one-to-ones for a selected few can work well too
  • The debrief workshop requires 6-25 participants, ideally representing at least 3 levels of seniority

The debrief workshop identifies the raw materials for an Agenda for Change, a shared organisational strategy:

  • Survey results sliced & diced in various ways
  • Survey prompts prioritised in breakout groups of 3-5 people
  • In those groups, consideration of what those most important prompts could mean for you in context, when they’re working at their “ideal best” for you
  • Obstacles and outcomes, in each breakout group’s own words

The IdOO (“I do”) pattern and very much as recommended in the book (the Exploration chapter specifically), with room also to explore the models behind the new tool. The process for moving forward from there is well practiced; I can get you started in a few hours if you’d appreciate help with organising outcomes strategically, designing some initial experiments etc.

All in all, it comes to a few hours to at most a few days work at heavily discounted rates – I am not in the market for longer engagements. Think of this as sponsored research for mutual benefit. I’m looking to do a few of these between now and late autumn – mainly to test the assessment, to compare results within and across diverse organisations (so there’s no right kind of organisation if you were wondering about that), and later in the year perhaps to pilot the training (interactive &/or self-paced).

Interested? Contact me here!


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
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

Agendashift roundup, June 2021

In this edition: Two podcasts; Self-paced training at the Agendashift Academy; Upcoming; Top posts

Two podcasts

In recent weeks I have done interviews for a number of different podcasts. Two were released during in June:

Self-paced training at the Agendashift Academy

Our most recent change at the Agendashift Academy: you can work your way through Leading with Outcomes as quickly as you wish, no longer are you expected to wait a week between of its each four sessions.

Meanwhile, I’m busy recording our next self-paced training, Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes. It’s due this summer so watch out for its launch in the coming weeks! See meanwhile entry #1 in Top posts below.

Later this year will come Transforming with Outcomes. As previewed at deliberately-adaptive.org and described in the Agendashift 2nd edition, we will explore here the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation. In short, this means plugging Agendashift into the Viable System Model, seeing how it scales both up and down, describing a path towards business agility at every scale. Still some months to go before this comes out but we’ll be publishing at least one new tool in the meantime. Already we have a number of partners reviewing it and preparing to test it – news on that soon!

Upcoming

Just a few days until the next interactive workshop:

And always at your convenience and pace:

Top posts

  1. Inside-out or outside-in? A strategy warmup
  2. Loved Adam Grant’s Think Again
  3. What do I mean by ‘generative pattern (May)
  4. The IdOO pattern as leadership model (May)
  5. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation (October 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
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

Inside-out or outside-in? A strategy warmup

In case you have been wondering why it has been quieter than usual here, we had four night’s worth of respite break last week (long story but it was great, the longest break we’ve had since the pandemic started). Refreshed and energised, by the power of Zoom I was in New Zealand early in the morning of my first day back for a Limited WIP Society meetup and I thought it would be fun to try an experiment.

As per most of my meetup appearances we did a IdOO (“I do”) pattern exercise, three breakouts discussing the Ideal, Obstacles, and Outcomes for a given challenge. Composed for the event, here’s the challenge we used:

Imagine…

…reaching the right customers, meeting their strategic needs*, achieving results in the way to which we aspire

*strategic needs: their needs, our strategy 

(And here is that challenge plugged into the IdOO Breakout Generator announced last month)

There are several things going on that challenge, and I was careful not to steer people towards any particular element. In the debrief afterwards:

To which part did you most respond? Right customers and their strategic needs, or how we achieve them? If right customers and their strategic needs, chat “outside-in”. If you responded mainly to the how part, “inside-out.

Interestingly, the split was roughly 50:50.

Inside-out and outside-in describe two important and complementary approaches to strategy. If you start with developing capability, performance, or culture, it’s inside-out. Whether or not it qualifies as effective strategy depends on a few things: if you identify one or more meaningful objectives (not too many of those – you need focus), some measures of success (how to know that you’re winning), the most important obstacles you’ll likely need to overcome (no point focussing on the wrong obstacles or obstacles that don’t really exist), and other sources of uncertainty (be honest now), you’ve made a good start, but still you’re set up for failure if you can’t back that up with the necessary commitments.

You can get all of that right and still waste a lot of time finding out that it’s all completely irrelevant from the customer’s perspective – a potentially catastrophic problem if left unaddressed. The alternative? Outside-in means starting from the customer and other actors in the changing business environment, and working inwards. In the process, it creates meaning and context for what happens inside, a powerful exercise in alignment when done right.

Don’t get me wrong, organisations absolutely need to balance both perspectives, and it’s good to be skilled in facilitating both approaches. It’s good also to know which one you’re doing, and to recognise when the other is what’s needed or is happening anyway (trust me, it happens, and it can be a good thing).

If you know you have an urgent need to look at things from both ends, my firm advice is to start outside-in. With the right kind of structure you’ll get quickly to a point where you can bounce back out again, and the whole exercise will make so much more sense. Agreeing instead on a load of improvement work that later turns out to be irrelevant is at best wasteful, and at worst, demoralising.

Back from my break I have started recording Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes, the outside-in complement to the self-paced training Leading with Outcomes with which we launched the Agendashift Academy last month. Together with our signature interactive workshops – see Upcoming below for dates – we’re building a comprehensive training programme, all designed to help organisations, their leaders, and their expert practitioners thrive together in a changing environment. For us that means some motivating objectives for the year consistent with our mission, and some new capabilities to develop. And don’t worry, no shortage of commitment!

Related posts:

Resources (agendashift.com/resources)


Upcoming

Always and at your convenience:

Further self-paced training modules in the pipeline:

  • Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes – due summer 2021
  • Transforming with Outcomes – due autumn/winter 2021

Scheduled:


Upcoming

Always and at your convenience:

Further self-paced training modules in the pipeline:

  • Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes – due summer 2021
  • Transforming with Outcomes – due autumn/winter 2021

Scheduled:


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

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Links: Home | About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

Loved Adam Grant’s Think Again

41+9W87E6nL

On Daniel Hulter’s recommendation I grabbed the audiobook edition of Adam Grant’s Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know (Penguin Audio, 2021). Loved it, highly recommended!

Let me share a couple particularly relevant quotes. The first one sits very well with Agendashift’s opening two chapters, the second with the closing two and a bit:

Listening well is more than a matter of talking less. It’s a set of skills in asking and responding. It starts with showing more interest in other people’s interests rather than trying to judge their status or prove our own. As journalist Kate Murphy writes, we can all get better at asking truly curious questions that don’t have the hidden agenda of fixing, saving, advising, convincing, or correcting.

Rethinking is more likely to happen in a learning culture, where growth is the core value and rethinking cycles are routine. In learning cultures, the norm is for people to know what they don’t know, doubt their existing practices, and stay curious about new routines to try out. Evans shows that in learning cultures, organisations innovate more and make fewer mistakes. After studying and advising change initiatives at NASA and the Gates Foundation I’ve learned that learning cultures thrive under a particular combination of psychological safety and accountability.

He goes on to describe something quite similar to my “expectation that learning will be accounted for” (deliberately-adaptive.org).

That’s all! Enjoy!


Upcoming

Always and at your convenience (and highly relevant to the first of the quotes above, as is Coaching with Outcomes below):

Scheduled:


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

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Links: Home | About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

Latest media and calendar updates

Quick one – already some changes since last week’s roundup!

New on Agendashift’s media page, a followup interview with John Coleman:

With workshops, meetups & webinars, here’s how the events calendar looks for the next few weeks:

And always the self-paced option – time and pace convenient to you:

Hope to see you at at least one of those!


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

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Links: Home | About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

workshop 2x1

What do I mean by ‘generative pattern’?

That question came up recently in our weekly #community Zoom and again afterwards so I thought it would make sense to write it up here. I have two possible definitions, but before I get to those, some lower-level building blocks:

  • Generative and generative process: Generative has two meanings, (i) capable of creating something, or (ii) something with finite rules that when applied repeatedly can produce things of arbitrary complexity (for example the production of language from the rules of grammar; computer-generated art or music). Both of these meanings have some relevance here; I use generative process when referring specifically to the second of those meanings.
  • Generative image: words or images designed both to challenge and to inspire a wide range of possible responses, usually achieved by taking care not to prescribe or otherwise over-specify, perhaps to the extent of deliberately introducing ambiguity or paradox. Two notable examples, beginning with the most famous of them all: “sustainable development” and “Agile Software Development”. Examples from Agendashift include our True North statement, “wholehearted organisations” (best left under-specified), and the assessment prompts (inspired by practice but carefully non-prescriptive); we have others. These examples are all carefully crafted well in advance but they might instead be harvested from the organisation or created through (say) a workshop exercise; one of the earliest exercises in  Gervase Bushe’s The Dynamics of Generative Change (2020) has the objective of crafting a generative purpose statement for the change initiative in question.
  • Generative question: open-ended questions that can be used in a wide range of contexts and generate a wide range of valuable but unpredictable answers, perhaps provoking some insight in the process. Examples: setup questions such as “For this ___ to be really useful for you, it will be like what?” (from Clean Setup) and menus of questions that can be used repeatedly within a generative process, for example “Why is that important?” and “What stops that?” (from Challenge Mapping), and the Clean Language questions (our Clean Language-inspired coaching game 15-minute FOTO includes 8 of the 40+ canonical questions)

Rather like the word generative, the term generative pattern could have several meanings. Literally “things that as patterns recur in different contexts and that are generative”, would do. Then there’s the more specialised, “patterns that combine in a pattern language” – think for example Christopher Alexander’s pattern language for architecture and the facilitation patterns of Liberating Structures.

Agendashift’s usage is tends to be more specific but still compatible with both of those meanings. Usually I’m referring to higher level structures into which which all of the lower-level generative elements mentioned so far can be plugged in. The design community’s double diamond would be an example of that, a recognisable pattern with applicability in a wide range of innovation contexts, within whose overarching structure a wide of generative tools can be used.

The most memorable generative pattern in Agendashift is the IdOO pattern (“I do”, for Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes) and it meets all of these definitions. It’s clearly a pattern (it’s recognisable in different contexts), it combines with other patterns (even with itself – the landscape of obstacles and outcomes is fractal), and it’s a structure into which other generative elements can be inserted:

  • Ideal: typically a reflection on a generative image and often with the aid of a setup question; sometimes it’s just a question, perhaps with the hint of a generative image embedded in it (see the Outside-in Strategy Review template for at least one example of that)
  • Obstacles: “What stops that?” as a generative question or something more elaborate, the TRIZ exercise from Liberating Structures for example
  • Outcomes: SFBT’s miracle question on its own or as a precursor to 15-minute FOTO, generative question and generative process respectively

What it does of course is keep that generative conversation moving forward in a productive direction. Unconstrained, the random walk might be enjoyable for a while but trust in the process would diminish rather quickly.

Postscript 1

It’s about time I announced the IdOO breakout generator tool. I’ve been using it in meetups for a few weeks now. It’s simple online tool to help you facilitate breakout discussions or personal reflections with the Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes (IdOO) pattern. These convenience links will take you to first user-facing page with an Agendashift-related challenge already configured for you:

You can also configure it to use a challenge of your own. Read the tips and gave a play!

Postscript 2

Talking of structure, while this post was already under construction I saw in a community forum this from Ian Phillips . With his permission:

…so I know a few people on here attended the MindShift Conference on ING’s. Am reflecting a bit on Jesko von den Steinen and:
  • “There is intuition in your structure.”
  • “Structure your intuition.”

Love that! It took a while for Agendashift’s patterns to crystallise out but it was well worth encouraging that process. After doing it once with the IdOO pattern (and it took much of the time between the 1st and 2nd editions of the book), it got easier. 2MBM took only hours 🙂

Related

agendashift-2nd-ed-sharing-1200x628-2021-02-10

agendashift.com/book (March 2021)


Upcoming

Listed now on the Agendashift Academy’s Store page are our scheduled workshops:

And my apologies: June’s Deep Dive workshop (Americas) must be rescheduled for family reasons.

Always now the self-paced option (and it’s a great option):

Selected appearances by Agendashift partners, me where unspecified:


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

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Links: Home | About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

Agendashift came of age yesterday

Yesterday was Agendashift 2021, our inaugural conference, and by all accounts it was a big success. I’m hearing words like “inspiring”, “wonderful”, and (importantly) “valuable”, and we got past 400 registrations in the limited number of weeks available for marketing it.

We can truly say now that Agendashift has a life of its own. The conference wasn’t my idea (I always saw it as something that would happen one day, not something I felt ready to instigate), and of the committee members, I was actually the least involved! A heartfelt thank you therefore to Kjell Tore Guttormsen, Andrew Jones, Karl Scotland, and Russ Lewis – outstanding work! My most sincere thanks also to our two keynote speakers Pia Maria Thorén and Gervase Bushe, all our other speakers, and our generous sponsors. So much there, so well presented, and so aligned.

Given that there were two tracks, I haven’t been able to watch every presentation yet. Two quotes of the day stood out for me though. They’re from the Agendashift and Transformation tracks respectively, the first from Dragan Jojic:

Invite people, or invite resistance

The second is from Daniel Mezick:

Agile transformations around the world are epic train wrecks

What ties the two quotes together isn’t just the idea of invitation to participation – Daniel literally (co)-wrote the book on that – but the sad fact that too much of the change industry still sees resistance as something to overcome, not the massive clue that they’re approaching transformative change completely backwards. This is of course Agendashift’s starting point, its big “what if” question and the opening of my introductory talk: What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

2021 is a year not to squander and we won’t be resting on our laurels. The 2nd edition is out, the Agendashift Academy is launched, and the first few participant are approaching the end of Leading with Outcomes, our first self-paced training. Beyond LwO we have a training roadmap not quite ready for publication but it’s already the focus of partner discussions and I’m ready at short notice to do a quick Zoom on it with any prospective partner or corporate client. There’s opportunity too for the partner programme to evolve, allowing partners to deliver a wider range of hybrid solutions with different combinations of self-paced and in-person training, integrated with hands-on client work such that it can be recognised for its developmental value. I’ve no doubt that we’ll see some some real innovation there.

If I may, let me briefly mention another conference, next week’s Lean Agile Global 2021. Not just because we’re sponsors, but because my brand new talk Up and Down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation will reveal more of where we’re headed content-wise. For some hints of what’s in store, visit deliberately-adaptive.org.

So, once again, thank you everyone who participated yesterday. A milestone moment, the day Agendashift came of age, definitely well worth being there 🙂

Agendashift 2021 May 18th Page Image

One last thank you to our sponsors:

Gold

Silver:

Bronze:


Upcoming

Listed now on the Agendashift Academy’s Store page are our scheduled workshops:

And my apologies: June’s Deep Dive workshop (Americas) must be rescheduled for family reasons.

Always now the self-paced option (and it’s a great option):

Selected appearances by Agendashift partners, me where unspecified:


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

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Links: Home | About | Our mission: Wholehearted | Become an Agendashift partner | Assessments | Books | Resources | Media | Events | Contact | MikeSubscribe
Workshops: Transformation strategy | Outside-in strategy | Short training
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter

The IdOO pattern as leadership model

The IdOO pattern (below) is integral to the first two chapters of the Agendashift 2nd edition (March 2021) and also to our Leading with Outcomes and Coaching with Outcomes training (self-paced and interactive workshop respectively). It hardly seems possible that the pattern is only a year old, but this post from April last year really does seem to be my first mention of it.

agendashift-framework-overview-16x10-2020-12-07-idoo

So what is it? Well, it’s at least four things in one, demonstrating its considerable “stretchiness” in terms of the timescales involved:

  • It’s a leadership routine – three or four quick questions, some quick answers, taking just moments
  • It’s a coaching pattern – a higher-level structure to wrap around your favourite coaching tools to bring some strategic perspective – less emphasis on getting to the next commitment, more on the strategic landscape in which options will be developed
  • For facilitators, it’s the overall arc for a string of workshop exercises, whether that’s an hour’s worth or a day’s
  • For consultants, it’s a way to frame a client engagement – as helping them understand where they’d like to get to, what’s in the way of that, and what they might achieve along the way

When taken slowly enough it’s fractal: there may be obstacles in the way of any outcome, and there is always the opportunity to bootstrap the process and identify new ideals at different levels of detail.

This post relates most closely to the first of those uses, IdOO as leadership routine. Here is the IdOO mnemonic not as the structure of a conversation but as an easily-remembered leadership model:

  • Ideal – sustaining a sense of overall direction, connecting people to purpose, helping people find meaning in their work
  • Obstacles – building trust and empathy by recognising the obstacles that people face – their everyday frustrations, the “struggling moments” of actual and potential customers – everything that stands in the way of performance and success; real, relevant, and representative problems that better-designed organisations or products would alleviate
  • Outcomes – keeping at the forefront the goals around which work is organised and to which streams of work are aligned; remembering to celebrate their achievement and to focus the associated learning (both organisational and individual) to the maximum

It’s not a million miles away from my 3-point summary of Servant Leadership. Here in the last chapter of Right to Left I’m channeling Greenleaf, noting what I describe as his “masterful systems thinking”:

  1. The first responsibility of the Servant Leader is to help others to be successful – removing impediments, ensuring that basic needs are met
  2. For people to remain engaged, the Servant Leader must help others find autonomy and meaning in their work, together discovering, developing, and pursuing the organisation’s values, mission, and purpose in society
  3. For this process of transformation to be sustained indefinitely, Servant Leaders must help develop Servant Leadership in others

Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile, Mike Burrows (2019, audiobook 2020)

I wouldn’t for a moment suggest that IdOO supersedes any of that (IdOO only scratches the surface of point 3, for example), but it could be a good starting point if you find Servant Leadership hard to grapple with.

Sources

I’ve mentioned my Agendashift (2021) and Right to Left (2019) already; let me mention some other books I’ve referenced in one or both of those:

  • Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, Robert K. Greenleaf (Paulist Press, 25th Anniversary edition, 2002) – decades ahead of its time and still an inspiration; I re-read it every few years
  • The Serving Leader: Five powerful actions to transform your team, business, and community, Kenneth R. Jennings & John Stahl-Wert (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2nd edition, 2016) – a recent take on servant leadership and a tweak on the language that some will welcome; I’m grateful to Agendashift partner and Servant Leadership champion Angie Main for finding that one
  • Host: Six new roles of engagement, Mark McKergow & Helen Bailey (Solutions Books, 2014) – a change of metaphor and one that brings new insights
  • Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, L. David Marquet (Portfolio, 2013) – another great book all round; helpful advice here with regard both to obstacles (when and when not to take them away, for example) and to the learning and development aspects of the model

Not referenced but worthy additions to that list:

  • Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, Stephen M.R. Covey (Free Press, 2006)
  • Demand-side Sales 101: Stop Selling and Help Your Customers Make Progress, Bob Moesta (Lioncrest Publishing, 2020)

I’m currently listening to the audiobook of Covey’s Speed of Trust, good stuff so far. Bob Moesta’s book fits here better than you might guess from the title; it’s a great book on Jobs to be Done, and it’s my source for the the phrase “struggling moments”.

IdOO at the the conferences

Don’t forget the Agendashift 2021 conference on May 18th – not long now! The IdOO pattern will certainly get a mention in my opening introduction (not keynote – that honour goes to Pia-Mia Thorén). And I’m thrilled that Gervase Bushe will be speaking on leadership in the closing keynote. He is the author or co-author of two of the 2nd edition’s key references, The Dynamics of Generative Change and Dialogic Organisation Development.  

Possibly a mention of IdOO in one form or another in my LAG21 talk on the 25th, trust-building being a key element of the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (see the last couple of chapters of the Agendashift 2nd edition). Agendashift Academy is proud to sponsor that conference too.


Upcoming

Listed now on the Agendashift Academy’s Store page are our scheduled workshops:

And always now the self-paced option:

Selected appearances by Agendashift partners, me where unspecified:


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

Announcing 1) our first self-paced training Leading with Outcomes (LwO) and 2) the Agendashift Academy

academy-sharing

Last week’s little announcement (a rename) paves the way for today’s, big enough that I’ll do it two parts:

  1. Leading with Outcomes (LwO) is our first self-paced training offering, and we’re very excited about it, seeing it as the foundation module for a powerful blend of self-paced and real-time/interactive/experiential learning. And it won’t be the last such module – recognising that some of the new material introduced in the Agendashift 2nd edition is well suited to that medium. We anticipate that by the end of the year it will be possible to do a “hybrid” Deep Dive equivalent over an extended period and multiple modules, both self-paced and interactive.
  2. Agendashift Academy (academy.agendashift.com) is both our new platform for self-paced training and the hub for our training workshops and other public events. It has been several months in the making, a collaboration with Agendashift partner Kjell Tore Guttormsen and Humanize, the Norway-based company of which he is a principal. My gratitude and respect for them is enormous.

The Academy has been hiding in plain sight for a while – among other things it hosts the landing page for our May 18th conference. Well done if you guessed what we were up to! Longer term it gives us a new platform for different kinds of participation: people from a range of backgrounds self-funding their (quite affordable) self-development; the ecosystem of Agendashift partners, their firms, and their clients; corporates using Agendashift in their learning & development programmes.

Before we go any further, a launch offer:

Listed now on the Academy’s Store page are our scheduled workshops, the next one only days away:

Coaching with Outcomes (April and July, for EMEA and APAC – hurry if you want to do the EMEA one) is the interactive version of Leading with Outcomes. They’re a great pairing, LwO doing the groundwork and CwO focussing on the experience, facilitation options, and so on. CwO will evolve this year to acknowledge its self-paced cousin but LwO is not yet a prerequisite. That will change.

Strategic Mapping with Outcomes (also soon – early May for EMEA) is our most popular single-session workshop. It is included in the Deep Dive and is a natural follow-on to CwO and LwO.

The Agendashift Deep Dive (June, Americas) still goes strong, and my feeling is that there will always be a place for something as intensive as this. Some however will prefer the hybrid model and take its equivalent over a period of months. And they’re not mutually exclusive – not so crazy when you know that there are people out there who have done multiple Deep Dives!

You may be relieved to hear that this completes the announcements and followups saved up pending the launch of the 2nd edition of the book. So to finish, let me bring them all together:


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