Tag Archives: agility

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Leveraging Our PastJune 7, 2017

 

“Let’s have a working lunch so we can make sure to get through all the content.”  

When a client says something like that to me, I experience contraction and agitation. Why? Because this frame places a premium on the “content” (or the “it”). I am now simply a “content” dispenser and the groups I’m working with are passive consumers.  I momentarily imagine myself sitting in front of the group reading aloud from a large book. (more…)

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Free To Go Off ScriptFebruary 15, 2017

I needed a breakthrough. Two important group facilitation events loomed in my near future. While I felt excited about them, I also felt terrified. As a lifelong writer who is more comfortable in the writing cave and in one-to-one mentoring situations, the very thought of guiding a group of writers gave me a chill. This was something I had veered away from religiously. But now, doors were opening and I felt called to step across the threshold. I could no longer say no. (more…)

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Increasing Energy, Usefulness and Efficiency in Everyday MeetingsAugust 7, 2015

In my work as an Agile ”Scrum Master” and Team Coach, I’m often confronted with the problem of how to spice up routine technical meetings and create genuine engagement among team members.

Although there are very good reasons why the Agile/Scrum framework encourages routine meetings, the “shadow” aspect of everyday meetings is an all-too-familiar experience that may appear in a variety of different forms:

  • Resistance to the meeting itself “Not another one!”
  • Boredom “Let’s get through with it.”
  • Participants easily distracted “This conversation doesn’t concern me, there’s so much I should be doing instead of this.”
  • No coherence at beginning — joking around, not starting on time, etc.
  • Same activity or discussion repeating itself over and over.
  • Less and less attention to structure and preparation “We know what to expect of the meeting and how to do it, we can just show up and start right away.”
  • Not a lot of listening, thinking about what I’ll say instead of listening.
  • Being physically present and mentally absent (vs being fully present and engaged).
  • The Scrum Master does the meeting by himself “It’s YOUR meeting anyway!”
  • Monologues take us away from priority subjects.

As a Scrum Master, one of my goals is to help the team self-organize and take ownership of every part of their work. Keeping that in mind, here are a few things I’ve learned as an Integral Facilitator that I use to bring a bit of “magic” into these meetings.

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Grow Your People, Grow Your OrganizationFebruary 5, 2015

In 2007 Accenture surveyed over 900 top executives in some of the world’s largest companies across North America and throughout Europe, China, and Japan about the need for more advanced management capabilities. Of those surveyed, nearly 50% of leaders said that their organization was not well suited to producing executives with the capability to manage and lead in the face of rapid change.

It’s clear that today’s professional environments demand greater sophistication of knowledge work; broader global perspectives, infrastructures, and multi-national systems; as well as leaders who are able to self-initiate, self-direct and self-manage. Yet at the same time, high performing leaders continue to be in short supply.

Whether we peer into big business, government, mature non-profits, mid-size companies or startups, the findings are similar: strong leadership is needed and the demand for it vastly outpaces our ability to ready the next generation of leaders to thrive in today’s business climates.

One of the few strategies that can help us to develop greater leadership aptitudes is the use of developmentally crafted curriculum, exercises and assessments. However (and unfortunately) most leaders in organizations are unaware of this body of research, and they aren’t using it to drive leader development in their organizations.

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Availability—Inviting the “bigness” of youJanuary 9, 2015

“When you can relate to the present moment, make choices and distinctions, and bring those into the collective—that is where the facilitative and the leadership role really meet. When that happens, you’re able to help a group have the capacity to relate to presence and be available to what is emerging. That’s the interface that we’re interested in. That’s where we start to see performance outcomes in organizations, things that are meaningful—greater cohesion, higher performance, more productivity, bigger breakthroughs, and capacity to collaborate across sectors. That’s when we gain greater capacity to work in a multi-stakeholder way with our most difficult-to-solve problems.” – Rebecca Colwell, CEO, Ten Directions

In the midst of a conversation, a meeting, a conflict—what are you available to?

Your team, or the people you’re meeting with right now—how available is this group? And to what?

In your group or organization’s normal habits of functioning, what kind of information and insight is readily available? And what is (kept) out of reach?

Often when we think about the goals and aspirations we have for ourselves and our organizations, we’re likely to think of things like “agility”, “innovation” and “responsiveness.” Sexy goals. Aspirations that embody power, swiftness, capability.

And a lot of people spend a lot of time making assertions about what generates desirable qualities like agility, innovation and responsiveness. Undoubtedly, there are many (some more lasting than others) paths up the mountain.

We value those qualities, too, because when they are present, they usually generate engaged participation and increased well-being—both of which we want to foster more of in the world.

But when we get curious about these desirable qualities, we approach them from a reverse-engineering perspective.

What leads to innovation, creativity, agility, and responsiveness?

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Agile Leaders—More Maturity, More OptionsDecember 4, 2014

There’s a substantial body of research that supports the idea that managers and leaders at higher stages of development are more effective than those at lower stages of development. This holds true for most meaningful measures of business and organizational effectiveness. Post-conventional or what we sometimes call “post-heroic” forms of leadership and management out-perform and out-maneuver less developed individuals.

Research into nearly 500 managers across a wide range of industries reveals the 80/80 principle. 80% of managers scoring near the bottom of the Leadership Development Profile were found in junior management positions. In contrast 80% of the individuals testing near the top of this developmental assessment were found in senior levels of management. (For those of you not familiar with the Leadership Development Profile, it was created by two of the most trustable names in adult development, Bill Torbert and Susann Cook-Greuter, and has over 40 years of research behind it.)

What this means is that when your capacities develop or mature, you get more options. More choices become available. More diverse behaviors become viable responses. Vertical development yields greater response-ability. Vertical development yields greater command, and more influence.

So, following from that, it also means that if you’re interested in climbing the organizational ladder, one of the most essential tools you need to invest in is your development. And, there’s a good chance that in order for you to even thrive at your current position—let alone add complexity to your job description and responsibilities—you may need to develop.

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