It’s you, not me - How to find your own way.
Once upon a time, there was a team. And this team, no matter how hard they tried, just couldn’t do agile. They went on a quest to find the “Scroll of Agility”. Finally, stood atop mount Lean under the shade of the great old Scrum-fall tree, they opened the scroll…
Sometimes, we spend so much time as individuals and teams on a quest for transformation. But maybe, we can’t be changed? Maybe, no one can transform us. Any maybe, that’s exactly how it should be.
Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a team. And this team, no matter how hard they tried, just couldn’t do agile. They went on a quest to find the “Scroll of Agility”, and after many a death defying feat, stood atop mount Lean under the shade of the great old Scrum-fall tree, they opened the scroll…
Sometimes, we spend so much time as individuals and teams on a quest for change, for transformation. But maybe, we can’t be changed? Maybe, no one can change us. Any maybe, that’s exactly how it should be.
In this session we will take a journey to authenticity, and discover why it matters not only to individuals, but to truly effective teams.
- Why authenticity matters for both individuals and teams?
- How can we guide teams towards discovering what is authentic for them?
Outline/Structure of the Talk
This is a new session for me so this structure is likely to change, but here is the current rough outline:
Introduction - 1m
Individual authenticity - 10m
- My personal story and individual authenticity in general.
- The fallacy of trying to be authentic just like your role models.
- A group discussion on how we relate to and occasionally try to emulate our role models.
- Introduction to Ken Robinson and his work on finding "The Element", "finding the work that for you is play"
- The story of the choreographer Gillian Lynn and how she found her "element".
- Introduction to the concept of "cognitive dissonance" created by the disharmony between our inner selves and our outer selves.
- My realisation that we don't have to try to be authentic, we actually try hard to be inauthentic.
Team authenticity and contextual alignment - 10m
- An introduction to my definition of team context, "the work a team is doing. And, the people on the team."
- We break away to look at how in physics, inefficiency is seen as energy being output from a reaction in ways other than desired (ie. a lightbulb producing heat as well as light).
- We analogize this to team and individual energy being directed towards things other than delivering value (cynicism for example). Here, we introduce The Energy Investment Model from John Edmonstone.
- We tie this is with individual authenticity, as a team wasting energy working against a process that is misaligned to their context. They are trying to follow to the process not their process, and thus wasting energy.
A tale of two teams - 5m
This is a generalised case study based on my work with 2 different teams in the same organisation who responded very differently (one very successfully, one less so) to my chosen coaching style and how I adapted it to work with a third team.
Coaching teams towards contextual alignment - 10m
- Starting with 4 simple rules:
- Start where the team is now.
Make it clear that you don't want to change anything in the way they are working. There are reasons for the way they are working, and you want all of us to understand them before anything changes.
- Visualise the work.
Whatever they are working on goes on a simple work board (also discuss here the importance of using language that ties a teams thinking to specific methodologies).
- Talk once a day.
At least once a day, the team should discuss the work they are doing by standing round the board.
In order to discuss anything, it must be on the board; they have to be able to "touch it to discuss it".
- Retrospect at least every couple of weeks.
The team will have a retrospective (ideally facilitated by the coach) at least every 2 weeks.
- Start where the team is now.
Closing - 2m
Tying it all together.
- Understand the importance of authenticity to personal wellbeing.
- Understand the concept of cognitive dissonance.
- Understand the concept of team contextual misalignment.
- Understand how team "energy" is wasted when there is contextual misalignment.
- Understand how to coach teams towards contextual alignment.
People working as scrum masters, coaches or other leaders / managers looking to move towards greater collaboration and fluidity in the team.
Prerequisites for Attendees
No specific prerequisites but the session will be of greater value to people that have had some experience of agile transformation in their organisation or team (either as a participant or practitioner).
This is a brand new session for me but I'm an experienced and well regarded speaker, I have linked to the slides and video of my session "Swearing, Nudity and Other Vulnerable Positions" to give you an idea of my style of presentation.
This session is about my personal journey to authenticity and my own recognition of the link between authenticity and team effectiveness, and how it has shaped my coaching practice.
In the session we will discuss the contradiction between wishing to imitate people who seem really authentic, and true authenticity. And how this isn’t dissimilar to the way many teams work. Imitating other teams and organisations. Perhaps the difference between 'doing' agile and 'being' agile.
We will explore a case study of three teams I worked with, with very different outcomes.
We will explore the work of Ken Robinson, The Energy Investment Model from John Edmonstone and the concept of contextual misalignment.
We will then look at some ways coaches and leaders can work with teams to improve their effectiveness, and that doesn’t mean telling them how to do the process, it means guiding them to discovering their own.