Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Why Scrum really works

magicThere are some great things about Scrum. Having a regular cadence for planning how to do work, working together to progress work and regularly reflecting and getting feedback both on how we work together and what was delivered are all great concepts.

But I have come to a somewhat scary hypothesis that it isn’t the practices, the roles and the artifacts that are actually making Scrum successful.

I think it is because you are taking your inefficient, over bloated process and replacing it with a very simple method. It works because you are taking something very heavyweight and replacing it with something lightweight.

You see, the trick to succeeding at Scrum, isn’t really the implementation of Scrum. It is whether you win the culture over process race.

As you get more used to Scrum you find weaknesses, areas where it isn’t dealing with organisational problems and you start to add in process to fill the gaps. Usually what you add in is something similar to what you used to do. At the same time, you are trying to transform the culture by changing hearts and minds towards Agile – to be agile rather than just doing Agile. This is the culture shift. When you have succeeded in this culture shift you would be less likely to introduce the additional process.  Basically you have to be faster at changing the culture to enable pushing back on process bloat over the injection of new process.

This is arguably why SAFe could be a little less effective in transformation and in significant improvements – because to an extent the process is probably more medium-weight and doesn’t do enough to push back on process waste.

So the next time you plan on changing a way a team or organisation works, think about why it may be working and focus on whether every additional step being added in after the change will really add value. I find that 80% of process is added in to handle less than 5% failure scenarios. There has to be a better way.

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For those that have been on the Agile journey for a while this post will hopefully come as no surprise, but if you are fairly new on the journey I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify what I feel is a common misconception about Agile.

In the early days of Agile we made it a Waterfall versus Agile war. It was one or the other. One over the other. This when ‘x’, that when ‘y’. We spent time explaining the pitfalls of Waterfall and why Agile was better. Maybe that was right at the time. Maybe we did it because we didn’t know better. Whatever the reason the concept of an Agile transformation being replace old process with Agile has stuck around.

But I don’t think that the point of an Agile transformation is a process shift.

I have a suspicion that where Agile has succeeded, it did so not because of the process shift but because of something else – a thinking model shift.

What was the problem that we were trying to fix with Agile? Was it really the process or the mindsets that people had? The manifesto articulates it somewhat – “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. It isn’t that process isn’t important it is that the thinking model that process should always trump was broken and that some slack should be given to humans who may have felt that the process didn’t make sense given the complexity of the situation.

Somehow, despite the manifesto, when we began Agile transformations we ignored the “over processes and tools” somewhere along the line. Frameworks and certifications are springing up everywhere – SAFe, Kanban certification, Disciplined Agile Certification, ICAgile, Scrum, etc. How many of these are focused on process and technique over the ability to shift thinking models?

What I feel Agile should be is different now than it once was. What I feel the manifesto should be now, is more along the lines of:

We are uncovering better ways of working together as human beings to deliver value  to shareholders and delight to customers whilst at the same time improving the engagement of employees. Through this we have come to value:

  1. Synergistic thinking over mechanistic/analytic thinking
  2. Servant and situational leadership over command and control management (alt: unleashed human potential over apathetic or toxic environments)
  3. Full value stream optimization over sub process optimization
  4. Process experimentation over defined process
  5. Aggressive feedback controls over prolonged feedback controls
  6. Stimulated neurological pathways over stagnant neurological pathways (alt: learning culture over sole focus on delivery culture)
  7. Breathing space to enable creativity and innovation over 100%(+) utilization

That is to say whilst the things on the right are our current behaviours, we want to shift to the items on the left


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shortcutRecently reading Dan Pink’s Drive, I was mesmerised by a statement of leadership type classifications. I wondered whilst reading it if there was a way to short cut the interview process to get the right type of leader by asking the following question:

We believe here at <Company X> that people fundamentally dislike work and would avoid it if they could. They don’t take responsibility for their actions and badly need direction. We want managers at <Company X> to co-erce, control and direct their staff to put adequate effort to the achievement of the organisations objectives – are you the sort of person that relates to this and can help us with this?

Now what you are actually seeking here is not a positive affirmation. What you are seeking is the look of shock and horror. The right person is the one that says “I’m sorry but this is definitely not the place for me; thank-you for your time,” and walks away. Most people wouldn’t do this, they would dance around the question, but a real leader is the type of person that will stick up for their beliefs and despite the negative impacts to them will stand firm. It takes juts to say no to this sort of question, especially this early in the process of understanding the organisations culture. It takes honesty to speak true to your beliefs. It takes a leader and not a manager to negatively respond to this question.

What do you think? Would this short-cut work if you were trying to hire an Agile leader?

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I have been pondering lately what the purpose of a Scrum Master or Iteration Manager is.

Many believe that it is a 100% full time role. Some are even concerned that there are formal positions springing up for this role.

Here is my stance (and work in progress model) on the role:

The purpose of the Scrum Master role is to create a self autonomous team through the usage of Agile.

  1. It should never be considered a 100% full time role.
  2. It is a transitory role – there to enable a change in the team.
  3. The change is a change from an environment of Command and Control to an environment of autonomy and empowerment.
  4. The goal is to deliver value to customers frequently and regularly through creation of this environment. The goal is not to have a Scrum Master job for life.
  5. They do this through a series of steps.
  6. These steps are based on Situation Leadership with some tweaking:
    • Directive – The Scrum Master is telling the team what to do and how to do it. This is sometimes common when the team is new to Scrum/Agile and are still learning the rulebook.
    • Facilitative and Advisory – The Scrum Master facilitates cadence activities and advises the team on possible options but is not the final say.
    • Cross Facilitative – The Scrum Master engenders an environment where other team members are starting to facilitate the cadence activities. At this stage the Scrum Master is no longer rounding up everyone for the Daily Standups, instead the team self form and remind each other.
    • Coaching and support – The Scrum Master is only there to course correct and even then only does it through team reflection. They don’t advise on options, instead they engender an atmosphere where the team can come up with their own solutions.
    • Double loop learning – The Scrum Master is ready to hand over the team to itself. The team reflect not only on how they are working together but why they are doing practices in a particular way. It is creating an atmosphere of learning transcendence.

So what, you may ask, does a Scrum Master do as their time with the team whittles down? They do what any good team member in a Scrum team should do – they deliver User Stories!

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Conversations are HardWhen my team gets together as a group of coaches it is always an interesting few days. I say this in complete honesty. I find the conversations stimulating. I find the group passion contagious.

But I know that some don’t find it that way. Sensing the frustration I asked a colleague what in particular they disliked. I was expecting them to say that they found the conversations were too much an argument and less a constructive debate. What I did find instead is that they were frustrated by the lack of actions after large blocks of conversations.

I likened the scenario to facilitating a Daily Standup. Sometimes in Daily Standups the conversation will get off the standard three questions. Often this will end quickly, but occasionally the conversation extends. I find that the balancing act that a Scrum Master or Iteration Manager has to perform one of the most intriguing and difficult aspects of the role. You want to get the value out of the discussion but you don’t want the majority to be bored. Some Scrum Masters offline the conversation too quickly and don’t consequently get the value out of the activity because the real problems and solutions aren’t coming out. Some take too long to offline the conversation and the standup consequently fails to meet expectations which either leads to thirty minute standups or the practise getting dropped because it isn’t perceived as valuable.

For me, if the conversation in the Daily Standup moves slightly away I will let it go for a little while but keep a close eye on the body language of those not involved in the discussion. I will also be constantly assessing in my head whether the conversation is progressing or is stalled. If it is stalled I will re-direct, but if it is moving forward and language indicates an acceptance of the discussion then I won’t halt it. I will be conscious of time. I will be conscious of relevance. Do all conversations have actions? No. Should they? I don’t believe so.

Sometimes conversations are about understanding and not actions. But they need to be valuable. A valuable conversation may result in actions or decisions. But a valuable conversation can be about a common understanding. Take a look at the ladder of inference. These discussions are about aligning beliefs. Unless we align beliefs then we cannot progress into the actionable state. Conversations may align beliefs and create actions, but action doesn’t have to be an immediate outcome for the conversation to be valuable. An action can be a long term change in behaviour as a result of a belief change.

To have changed beliefs is the harder activity to do. It takes longer and can appear to be going nowhere. It is like the tightrope you walk when you facilitate a Daily Standup. But investing in it is the only way that a team will align with a common purpose and truly own the change.

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For a while now I have been discombombulated. The cause of my confusion and desperation has been around the issue of management. 

I am not talking about Leadership. Leaders are people (whether in a position of hierarchy or not) that naturally foster an environment of collaboration, understanding and consensus. No, what I am talking about is the ability to influence creatively or constructively criticise the status quo to a person considered your “superior”. I want to use the term superior loosely knowing how much people will hate it, to represent an authority figure in a command and control environment. After all, Managers who aren’t getting the message about Leadership really do think they are superior (how many sweeping generalisations can I put in one post?).

I have come to the conclusion that a good number of employee frustrations are systemic from the culture; a culture which is powered by management. It is incredibly difficult to change culture from the bottom up. It can be influenced from the bottom up but there is a point where it cannot stretch anymore without management buy-in to the culture change. Failing senior management or C-suite buy-in to seriously throw money into changing a culture (yes culture change costs currency) I have been pondering how it may ever be possible for this problem to fixed in any way.

The C-suite don’t get it. Either they weren’t educated in it, don’t want to be educated in it or are too busy improving shareholder value. They are the Lords of this day and age, and how much did the Lords ever care about their serfs? Middle management are the Courtiers. Lower management are the cooks. Everyone else is working in the field.

Groups like STOOS believe that they can solve this problem through conferences targeted to the C-suite.  It is an interesting approach, but the sort of C-suite executives that will attend are the ones that I think for the most part are already on the journey or starting to question their belief system. It will make some in roads but I fear it won’t cross the chasm and I desperately ache for this chasm to be crossed. More needs to be done.

Others believe that they need to be right-shifted. I am admittedly still looking into this but have yet to get into significant enough depth to see if there is a mechanism to induce the chasm crossing.

I have been relaying this story a lot recently -

When a new person joins your team watch them closely. Watch how they learn and what they say. Watch how people react to what they say. Start to gather a pattern. What you will find is that when people join an organisation they are highly motivated. This is called the “Honeymoon phase”. The organisation is a veritible field of endless possibilities. They have been sold a dream by a HR department and manager.

The new person will listen for a while, enveloping themselves in the culture, trying to best see where they fit. They will start critically thinking early. They will ask questions like “Why do you do <insert task> that way?” They are trying to frame the task around their mind-map of how they have done it before and are judging it for efficiency and common sense. Failing a suitable answer they will delve further. Naturally they will gravitate towards the 5-whys, despite never hearing of Lean.

Eventually their critical thinking will be blocked by the “Monkey and the Banana syndrome” response. A root cause is not met and the first brick on the wall of critical thinking resistance is placed. As their first few weeks progress the same scenarios occur. Their brick wall begins to get higher.

When the wall reaches their knees self doubt sets in. Naturally they try to fight it, but in a different way. Rather than taking a critical thinking approach they will try a different tact. They will try the innovation path – providing suggestions of how they have seen it done elsewhere and the benefits that they had in doing it that way. They will get more Monkey and Banana syndrome responses or “We have tried that before, it didn’t work because <x> and <y>”, then the new person is back to the same lack of response to critical thinking. Innovation bricks now get added to the pile that is up to their knees.

After a few months their wall is up to their eyes and they can no longer see over the wall. There is no vision. No hope. The organisations culture is now embedded in them.

Sometimes I am asked what the Monkey and Banana syndrome is (usually younger people who haven’t heard it before). For those unfamiliar with it this is how it was told to me about fifteen years ago. I haven’t ever read the internet version so it may be a little different for those that have read it:

This is a story based upon a scientific experiment. A scientist puts into a large white room a metal ladder with a finger of bananas hanging from the ceiling. The middle step of the ladder is rigged to set an electric shock through the metal floor of the room. The scientist then lets in five monkeys. The monkeys excitedly see the bananas. One scrambles up the ladder and gets to the middle step. An electric shock is sent through the floor and ladder with all monkeys get shocked. The second time the monkey hits the middle step the other monkeys begin to get the picture. On the third attempt the monkeys pull the hopeful monkey on the ladder down and beat him up.

Subsequent attempts to climb the ladder result in beatings. The scientist then takes out one monkey and replaces them with a brand new monkey. This monkey sees the bananas and proceeds towards the ladder. He only gets two steps up before he is pulled down and beaten. He never knows why but after the second attempt he knows that if he tries to get up the ladder his peers will exert physical pressure.

The scientist continues to rotate the original set of monkeys out one by one and replace them with new monkeys. Eventually the room is filled of monkeys that have no understanding about why they are not allowed up the ladder but that if someone ever tries they should be beaten up.

“That’s just the way we have always done it around here.”

So you can see by my thought process that unlike some other thought leaders, I actually don’t think the ability to critically think is a lost art despite many years of behavioural conditioning supposedly beating this out of us. I believe critical thinking is a subconscious ability that we all have and continue to have despite command and control overriding it almost every single day. It is there. We have just given up trying to use it because no one is listening.

To get out of this endless rut I see a few possible solutions:

  1. Managers get better listening skills. Right now that you are done laughing, what are the other options.
  2. People get better persuasion and communication skills. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being highly unlikely to work and 10 being certain to work I probably rate this a 3.
  3. Have scientific metrics that prove empowerment, innovation and critical thinking are advantagous to the bottom line of an organisation. I am pretty sure the information is out there, but this depends on solution 1, and well, there goes that idea.
  4. Revolt. This is essentially option 2 but done on a less individualistic scale and more ganging up. This does happen naturally in teams but this method seeks pre-emptive goal setting. Despite being able to do this it will only work for one level above the team and from there will fizzle to get any traction, unless you get many teams to revolt at once and that is getting beyond the realm of possibility. Someone suggested to me that as an analogy it is like the monkeys ignoring the ladder and hopping on top of each other to form a monkey pyramid to get to the bananas.
  5. Teams get better facilitation skills and all team sessions have a pre-set, well skilled facilitator. In a team environment I give this a 5 to work, but outside of a team environment we are back to the original problem. That said you could encourage an environment where all suggestions of process change and innovation are raised through a facilitated team environment (sounds very Agile doesn’t it?)
  6. Enable a way to give a singular voice a pedastal. I am toying with an approach for this. I don’t think this will realistically happen inside of an organisation but I wonder if there is a means to force more social pressure for the C-suite to change their belief system.

What do you think? Are there other options to open up the eyes and ears of management?

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I have been pondering since reading Steve Denning’s on Fighting the Kool-Aid of Stock Based Compensation  and Umair Haque’s Harvard Business Review’s The Economic Roots of your Life Crisis about perilous journey that we might be on. Take a step back for a moment and consider some cause and effect.

When my parents worked it was pretty much considered a job for life. Most of my friends around the same age had similar experiences for their parents.

When I entered the permanent workforce in 1997 this mentality was beginning to peter out. Big organisation after big organisations that I worked for all went through regular retrenchment periods. Some were as short as every six months, others in two yearly cycles.

They called them different names – offshoring, outsourcing, departmental restructure, voluntary reduced hours; but the intent was always the same – cut the bottom line.

Thankfully I have never been directly impacted by such acts but it has led me to a feeling of constant insecurity. I have never felt safe in a job.Our clock is ticking down

Does anyone else think that this is crazy? What is the point of ever being a permanent employee if you cannot feel safe (naturally excluding performance issues)? At least a contractor knows when their date is going to end. The rest of us that were after secure jobs to pay our mortgages and support our tribe of kids wanted something that we could depend upon. But we cannot depend upon it. We are like a character of “In Time“, our clock is ticking down, but we have no idea when the timer is going to reach zero.

Because of my parent’s experiences within companies I was raised with the belief “You look after your company because your company will look after you.” Extra hours was sometimes part of that deal. Towing the company line as well. But what I was experiencing was something considerably different. It didn’t appear like the organisations cared about its most long term employees (they were commonly the first ones to go). It shattered my illusions. It left a void in my belief system.

I am not the only Generation X person who has been left feeling like they are in the Matrix. Companies no longer care about their people, they care about the almighty shareholder seemingly above and beyond any other competing priorities.

So as anyone with a dysfunctional belief system does, they find a new belief to fulfill this empty hole. We believe that if the company doesn’t care about us then we need to care about ourselves. What behaviours and patterns emerge from this?

We appear selfish. It is all about what we can get right now. We want recognition right now. We don’t feel obliged to have to stay at an organisation for too long (especially if the organisation loves to retrench frequently). We see no problem with being headhunted. We see no problem with doing the work for the hours that we are meant to be paid and no more. This makes us look lazy.

Does this sound familiar? Take a look at the wikipedia definition of a Generation Y:

 Studies predict that Generation Y will switch jobs frequently, holding far more than Generation X due to their great expectations.[70] The UK’s Institute of Leadership & Management researched the gap in understanding between Generation Y recruits and their managers in collaboration with Ashridge Business School.[71] The findings included high expectations for advancement, salary and for a coaching relationship with their manager.

Is this singularly minded focus on shareholder value turning us all into Generation Y thinkers?

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All my blogs are highly self-opinionated. This one is going to be even further out there.

We have all hopefully had a good look at Daniel Pink’s amazing work on motivation. But despite this knowledge how do most organisations still currently manage motivation and performance?

They almost always still have yearly bonuses. Maybe this is because CEOs are motivated to get their yearly bonus and hence they think everyone else will be equally motivated for theirs. If all of our bonuses were several million dollars I am sure we would all be willing to conduct deplorable activities such as offshoring half of our work to third world nations… oh wait… no I have morals (well enough not to do this), that and I know it actually won’t work.

Most organisations still do the whole ‘you aren’t cutting it so I need to have a serious talk to you’ discussion.

Have you ever worked in an organisation where you haven’t felt motivated? Did you enter that organisation with such a low level of motivation? Of course not. People don’t enter organisations unmotivated – organisations make them unmotivated. Who do the organisations blame for this? The person of course!

I think there is something seriously wrong in this world if it is a CEO’s attitude that unmotivated people should quit, as if they are dead weight that the organisation cannot learn anything from. They performance manage these people in the hope of making them even further uncomfortable that they will leave. I say this as if it is an intentional plan, because it is in some organisations. To be honest it sickens me.

I have had the privilege to speak to some people who this has happened to. They haven’t explained their lack of motivational issues to the HR bodies of the organisation because they feel strongly that the HR bodies do not care or refuse to do anything about it. Their common causes of motivational derailment:

  • Bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Doing endlessly monotonous work
  • Not having the opportunity to do what they do best
  • Not being listened to (talking to the wind)
  • A long-term physiological or psychological illness (manifesting into stress of lack of performance)

In all these instances these people were labelled as being ‘at fault’ by their management and forced into a performance review process. Does the above items really seem like the employee’s fault? And yet when they leave senior management have the attitude “Well done! We got rid of that highly unengaged person.”

What have they done ? They have basically not fixed a really bad problem and instead will introduce someone else into the loop of misery, all the while leaving a permanent dent on someone’s mental health. I am so incredibly angry about this.

What needs to be done:

  1. Stop having the attitude that “we need to get rid of the poor or unengaged performers” and replace it with “we need to listen and start changing the culture around here”
  2. Start asking who your HR group is meant to be supporting – the managers or the people? Let me give you a hint, if is just the managers then you are wrong.
  3. Stop telling poor performers that they suck, start listening to them. Start asking questions like “When you joined this organisation what sort of environment were you hoping for?”, “How can we change the work that you do or the way that you do it so it can be more fun?” and “How can we make you more in control of what you do on a day-to-day basis?”
  4. Don’t jump to the conclusion that a poor organisational score on managing performance means you have to get rid of people. Find out why people rated the organisation that way and rather than manage them out work with them to improve their motivation and performance.
  5. Be aware that people are smart. If you tell someone ‘stop doing x’ they will game it, they will do it, but the underlying discontent and unhappiness will remain; it will likely manifest elsewhere or result in other actions. It is better to get a positive outcome for the employee and the organisation then just the organisation.

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Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideasattitudescognitive strategies or a professional methodology (see doctrine). It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.


Do we teach through repeated instructions? Yes, I see this often. Inculcating check.

Do we present a vision of a practice or approach being positive or negative? Agile manifesto – yes, Waterfall negatively viewed. Attitudes check.

Metacognition is defined as “cognition about cognition”, or “knowing about knowing.” It can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or for problem solving.

Do we use cognitive strategies? Yes. Are we cognizant of them? Yes.

Do we often treat ourselves as a professional methodology? Yes.

The term indoctrination came to have awkward connotations during the 20th century, but it is necessary to retain it, in order to distinguish it from education. In education one is asked to stand as much as possible outside the body of accumulated knowledge and analyze it oneself. In indoctrination on the other hand, one stands within the body of knowledge and absorbs its teachings without critical thought.

Are we educating or teaching and allowing critical thought? This is the big question and the key differentiator.

Firstly it depends on the trainer and the coach. I would say most professional Agile training I have seen (and yes I would include CSM in this) don’t allow critical thought. The exception to this rule is what I have heard of Alistair Cockburn’s advanced training which begins with a critical look of Agile and positive look on Waterfall.

So what about the coaches? Most coaches I know would respond positively to critical thought. But do we actively enable it? I am not so sure we do a good job of this.

Which practices have empirical proof that they are beneficial? Ten years and how much data do we have about whether pair programming is really better? Yes I know the point is always made ‘but no one will pay for the same software to be created twice’ – but have we tried to get a real answer on this? Scientists study all sorts of things – why is it that Agile practices and techniques have such little data behind them? No one is willing to pay for it (except maybe Scott Ambler). Maybe as a community we should start working together and get some real information behind us so that we can respond strongly against critical thought.

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It was with some trepidation that I took at look at Seth Godin’s Tribes book. This was primarily due to mixed reports from friends whom had read it. It was so mixed that it  was pretty evenly split down the middle 50% loved it, 50% hated it. Those that didn’t rate it felt that it was overly repetitive.

My immediate thoughts – I LOVED IT! This is probably saying something seeming how cynical or pessimistic I can be about books, blogs, presentations, etc. Without a doubt I would recommend this to others for a read; it is nice and short, about 150 pages and half the size of a normal book. I wouldn’t say it’s insights are anything new for me, but there was a lot of strong re-affirmations to how I feel on a number of subjects. The biggest thing for me about this book was that I felt motivated as a result of it, although my passions are already quite strong, after this book they felt on fire.

Here is my key summary of the book:

  1. Heretics, innovators, revolutionists. Whatever you want to call them it is about not settling for mediocrity and instead striving forward towards an area that you are passionate about.
  2. Those that inspire others with their passion become leaders.
  3. Do something! Take control of your life and join or lead a tribe now.
  4. Sheepwalking is a beautiful term for those who are just following the pack and not asking questions. It’s almost as bad as sleepwalking through our working lives.
  5. Seth Godin’s movement is to make movements. Eat more prunes.
After reading this book and talking to colleagues about it I remarked how I had always felt comfortable with the revolutionist tag but was now on my way being comfortable with the heretic tag. My colleague’s response – ‘You aren’t a heretic, you are a heresiarch.’ I would probably rank the likes of Alistair Cockburn, Jeff Sutherland, Martin Fowler, etc with that tag rather than myself as they started the revolution. For me, it is about evolving the revolution to the next phase.
Some key quotes and thoughts on them:
Some tribes are stuck. They embrace the status quo and drown out any tribe member who dares to question authority and the accepted order.

Is Agile stuck? Are the heresiarch’s beyond reproach and questioning?

Everyone’s a leader.

Hmm we aren’t there yet – but everyone should be a leader of themselves. Do something you are passionate about!

Leadership is about creating change that you believe in. Leaders have followers, managers have employees.


Organisations don’t have to be factories, not anymore. Factories are easy to outsource.

This is where our real value add is. As work gets continually outsourced we need to be innovative as thought leaders to continue to preserve our way of life.

When a CEO takes the spoils of royalty and starts acting like a selfish monarch, he’s no longer leading. He’s taking.

Don’t get me started on this one. I just want to re-affirm that I believe this strongly.

It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is for someone to become curious. For seven, ten, or even fifteen years of school, you are required to not be curious. Over and over and over again, the curious are punished.

Wow. I say this regularly and it always felt like no one understood this. Maybe Seth is a secret twin? It’s not just the curious, we are molded to do exactly as we are told by parents and teachers, to comply. Why is it so hard to say ‘no’ to your boss for that new piece of work when you are already 150% overloaded – it is because of many years of conditioning as a child to not say no to a perceived position of power?

Heretics don’t settle. Managers who are stuck, who compromise to keep things quiet, who battle the bureaucracy every day – they’re the ones who settle.

Around about this time in the book I began to wonder – Do you have time to be a heretic? It felt like the book was pushing everyone in the direction of getting their word out. That could be internally within the organisation or wider on the internet. The internet approach would take time out of your busy personal life. If it is something you can spare and have the passion for it will be an easy choice. For those focussed on many things, juggling many activities including a family this will be harder. You might have to drop a hobby, but then again, your hobby should be an area of your key passion.

The new leverage available to everyone means that the status quo is more threatened than ever, and each employee now has the responsibility to change the rules before someone else does.

Innovate quickly, fail quickly, adapt quickly.

Faith is the unstated component in the work of a leader and is underrated.

The book makes a point that religion = rules and  faith = culture. Your tribe is your religion. Your faith is in your tribe’s values. I have heard Agile evangelists often called ‘The Agile Jihad”. It made me think about the training we provide and how from an outsider’s perspective it does look like an attempt to ‘convert’ others to our religion. For my two cents my religion isn’t necessarily Agile, it is a religion of embracing new ideas and change, of keeping people first.

It’s okay to abandon the big, established, stuck tribe. It’s okay to say to them, “You’re not going where I need to go, and there’s no way I’m going to persuade all of you to follow me.”

And lastly,

If you hear my idea but don’t believe it, that’s not your fault; its mine.

If you see my new product but don’t buy it, that’s my failure, not yours.

If you attend my presentation and you’re bored, that’s my fault too.

If no one cares, then you have no tribe. If you don’t care – really and deeply care – then you can’t possibly lead.

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