The secret superpower of effective leaders: Developing relationships through conversations

When adopting Agile we talk about changing teams structures, development practices, delivery processes and deployment scripts. But what we often fail to realise is that those Team Members, Product Owners, Scrum Masters and Stakeholder are human beings first.

Whether we want to improve our Agile adoption across the organisations or take a team through the storming & norming phases we want to influence our teams. The problem is that people are not easily influenced in groups. To excert lasting influence requires trust. And the best way I have found to achieve that is through one-on-one conversations. Or as someone wise once said: "Conversation leads to trust, trust leads to relationships, relationships leads to.. influence"

In this talk we will delve into how to use one-on-one conversations to help grow people who are effective & successful in and around agile teams. After having done thousands of these one-on-ones with hundreds of different people over the past few years I have seen patterns over and over again which I have captured in “the 5 characters in IT”. Discover what McQueen, Woody, Merida, Wall-e and Edna can teach you about growing Agile teams.


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Outline/structure of the Session

5 min Intro & setting the scene. 

35 min Going into the 5 characters in IT.

For each conversation partner, I will do an introduction, explain what *they* need out, what *I* need, and pointers on dealing with obstacles based on my experience in different organizations

The characters are: 

1) Lightning McQueen, The demanding & ambitious manager (Product Owners, Project managers, Program Managers, Scrum Masters, Iteration Managers);

2) Woody, The mentoring & coaching people leader

3) Merida, The outspoken & sarcastic team member

4) Wall-e, The contributing in silence team member

5) Edna, The busy, but supporting delivery stakeholder


5 min Overall Tips & Tricks eg, why you should mix bigtalk and smalltalk

5 min Closing/slack

Learning Outcome

  • Why formal one-on-ones are so important
  • 5 stereotypical partners and what conversations to have
  • How to ensure that one-on-ones are effective
  • Why (and how) you should mix up bigtalk with smalltalk.

Target Audience

scrum master, agile leaders

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • Rohit Arora
    By Rohit Arora  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Wai,

    Thanks for submitting your proposal. Could you please share some of your past presentation, videos, links, so that we can further consider your proposal?




    • Wai Ling Ko
      By Wai Ling Ko  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Rohit, I am doing this talk at LAST 2016 conference in Melbourne. I will share the slide pack when finished. Cheers, Wai Ling

    • Wai Ling Ko
      By Wai Ling Ko  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hey Rohit, thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately I do not have any past presentations that are for public viewing. I hope you will still consider my proposal. Cheers, Wai Ling