New from the Outside-in Strategy department

Two things:

  1. The next Leading with Outcomes module, Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for Success
  2. A new Agendashift-style assessment/survey tool, the Outside-in Strategy Readiness Assessment

1. Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for success

This is the third of the Agendashift Academy’s four planned Leading with Outcomes modules, and its self-paced incarnation begins its rollout today. Tentative schedule:

  1. Monday, June 20th: Customer
    “What’s happening when we’re reaching the right customers, meeting their strategic needs?”
  2. Friday, July 1st: Organisation
    “When we’re meeting those strategic needs, what kind of organisation are we?”
  3. Friday, July 8th: Product
    “Through what products and services are we meeting those strategic needs?”
  4. Friday, July 15th: Platform
    “What are the defining/critical capabilities that make it all possible?”
  5. Friday, July 29th: Team(s)
    “When we’re achieving all of the above, what kind of team(s) are we?”

We are big believers in leadership and strategy at every level of organisation. “Strategic needs” brings together our customers’ needs and our strategy – whether we’re a team, a team-of-teams, or something bigger, and whether our customers are inside or outside our organisation.

Here’s a quick introductory video (05:33):

Module-wise, Leading with Outcomes is nicely on track to complete its rollout this year:

  • Leading with Outcomes: Foundation – already live (take this one first)
  • Inside-out Strategy: Fit for maximum impact – already live
  • Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for success – rolling out now
  • Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale – due in the autumn

All go live initially as self-paced, video-based training; instructor-led training (with me) is available right now for all but the last one, and we’ll be announcing a train-the-trainer programme soon too.

All four modules are included in your Agendashift Academy subscription. There are affordable plans for both businesses and individuals, with yearly and monthly options in both cases. If you’re a leader in a transforming organisation, you aspire to that role, or you support others in that journey, then it’s for you.

2. The Agendashift Outside-in Strategy Readiness Assessment

Developed for the above but I’m keen to see how it applies elsewhere, a really short (15-prompt) assessment tool, three prompts for each of the five layers of Agendashift’s outside-in strategy review. It’s free to try (registration required in this public survey mode). Like all the Agendashift assessment tools it can be used as the template for an organisational survey too; if you’re an Agendashift partner, you’ll find it on the templates dropdown.


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Resistance – or feedback?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On values, meaningfulness, and change – parallels with Bateson and Mead

Punchline first:

In the methods & frameworks world, I believe there is only one fight worth fighting, and it is not between frameworks. It is between those who would fit people and organisations to frameworks (branded or otherwise), and those who find that idea intolerable.

From a book I am taking the time to savour, here is acclaimed anthropologist and systems thinker Gregory Bateson, on the work of his former wife Dr Margaret Mead, another acclaimed anthropologist:

[If] we go on defining ends as separate from means and apply the social sciences as crudely instrumental means, using the recipes of science to manipulate people, we shall arrive at a totalitarian rather than a democratic system of life. The solution she offers is that we look for the “direction” and “values” implicit in the means, rather than looking ahead to a blueprinted goal and thinking of this goal as justifying or not justifying manipulated means. We have to find the value of a planned act implicit in and simultaneous with the act itself, not separate from it in the sense that the act would derive its value or from reference to a future end or goal.

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972)

This passage resonated strongly with me. Translating from the social space to organisations, how, as leaders, do we make it easy for people to find meaning in work whilst still respecting their choice in the matter? And if it’s the job of leadership to take people to new places, can we make the process of change more meaningful, again without dictating what form that meaning should take for each individual concerned?

My biggest contribution in the frameworks space was a values model for the Kanban Method (2013). It explained why and how Kanban was meaningful to me, and it turned out to be helpful to other people too – to the extent that it become adopted as part of the method’s formal definition.

But I didn’t stop there. I was on a journey, and it wasn’t long after the publication of Kanban from the Inside (2014), that I found myself detaching myself from Kanban community. There was no big disagreement behind this move, and to be clear, I remain proud of that model and my first book. It was simply that there was a job to be done, and I felt that it would be easier done outside.

Bateson goes on:

This then is the type of discipline which has enabled Dr Mead to point out that a discrepancy – a basic and fundamental discrepancy – exists between “social engineering”, manipulating people in order to achieve a planned blueprint society, and the ideals of democracy, the “supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual human person.” The two conflicting motifs have long been implicit in our culture, science has had instrumental leanings since before the Industrial Revolution, and emphasis on upon individual worth and responsibility is even older. The threat of conflict between the two motifs has only come recently, with increasing consciousness of, and emphasis upon, the democratic motif and simultaneous spread of the instrumental motif. … Are we to reserve the techniques and the right to manipulate people as the privilege of a few planning, goal-oriented, and power-hungry individuals, to whom the instrumentality of science makes a natural appeal? Now that we have the techniques, are we, in cold blood, going to treat people as things? Or what are we going to do with these techniques?

Again, parallels. In the methods & frameworks world, I believe there is only one fight worth fighting, and it is not between the frameworks. It is between those who would fit people and organisations to frameworks (branded or otherwise), and those who find that idea intolerable.

I am on that second side. My fight is against those so convinced of their rightness that they’re sure that the ends justify the manipulative or coercive means, or they lack the imagination, curiosity, or courage to consider that there might be alternative approaches to change. And there really are alternatives. Let no one tell you that change-by-imposition – legitimised the change management industry despite its repeated failures – is the only model. That wasn’t true even 20 years ago – Agilists take note – and it definitely isn’t true now.

That fight is what has energised me in the 8 years since my first book and I expect it to continue to sustain me for the rest of my career. It has taken me from method to values and then to outcomes, meaningfulness, wholeheartedness, leadership, and strategy. They’re integrated into a participatory approach to change and transformation, one that is more than capable of reconciling sophisticated thoughts on organisation design with utmost respect not only for the person but for the organisation that people create together.

It’s hard enough being a leader in a transforming organisation without your approach to change making things worse. If that’s you, Agendashift Academy is there for you. And if your organisation is entering into a relationship with a process framework, make sure that the relationship is healthy one*.

*That’s my recent article on InfoQ: Adaptability by Agreement: Valuing Outcomes over Imposed Solutions. It’s the most complete written treatment yet of Agendashift’s three strategies model. Watch out for videos too, in particular from last week’s Lean Agile London (#LALDN22).


What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?

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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?

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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

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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?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model
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Agendashift roundup, November 2021

In this edition: Leading with Outcomes: Foundation; 15-minute FOTO, version 11; New video on Agendashift assessments; Top posts

Leading with Outcomes: Foundation

As announced this morning to current and existing students, the “old” Leading with Outcomes will be retired soon, and its replacement will look and feel strikingly different.

Leading with Outcomes: Foundation goes into limited private beta this week, to be launched in full around the end of the year. We’re aiming for a much broader audience – all “leaders in transforming organisations” – and as the name suggests, it’s also the starting point for more. Henceforth, the name “Leading with Outcomes” covers a whole curriculum that reorganises the Agendashift Academy’s existing offerings (both self-paced and interactive) into three parallel tracks, for which the highly accessible Foundation module will be a prerequisite.

For more detail than that, you’ll have to wait for the announcements. Remember meanwhile our guiding principle: Agreement on outcomes before solutions – literally, leading with outcomes! If you share our desire to see more of that, up and down transforming organisations everywhere, then you understand the level of our ambition. We’re going to make it easier for more people to participate in the realisation of that vision, so if you’re with us, get ready.

15-minute FOTO, version 11

The latest version of our Clean Language-inspired coaching game 15-minute FOTO was announced this week, and the announcement drew a lot of interest. Read it here:

15-Minute-FOTO-cue-card-2020-09-v16

New video on Agendashift assessments

Added this month to our media page:

Top posts

  1. Announcing 15-minute FOTO version 11
  2. Get unstuck and get going: Starting small with 5% and 15% outcomes (August)
  3. The 1967 Manifesto for The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (October)
  4. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)
  5. Up and Down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (September)

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
Academy: Home | Store
Blog: Monthly roundups | Classic posts
Community: Slack | LinkedIn group | Twitter