Leadership is a daily activity at all levels and is fundamental to creating the conditions for evolving better ways of working.
Leadership, at all levels, is the key factor in the successful evolution of an Agile way of working. Most organisations trip up over the very first statement of the Agile Manifesto “Individuals and interactions over process and tools”.
There is a bias to focus on the process and technical aspects of Agile, rather than on leadership and behaviours. We can get ‘certification’ on processes and fixate on tools, however, leadership can create the environment for more rapid and sustained evolution of the ways of working:
- Safer to experiment and adapt.
- Move from Doing Agile to Being Agile.
- Evolutional rather than transactional change.
- Broad engagement.
- Leadership viewed as a pervasive capability rather than a role.
- Leading by example, modelling behaviours.
We bring an ever-evolving framework and then work with all levels to create and prioritise the time to learn the subtle new skills and behaviours.
We introduce a simple, pragmatic framework of principles in a number of interactive sessions. The beauty of this approach is that there are wide range of practices that one can use in the moment or in preparation for an interaction.
‘Leadership’ can never be put into the ‘Done’ column of your board. Therefore, your leadership programme needs to be self-sustaining and continuous.
As a result, you need a self-sustaining mechanism of peer-coaching. We have developed a two-weekly cycle of coaching-reflection-practice. This is intended for people who interact with each other several times a week and can therefore jointly experience and support each other.
Our work with leadership development is often combined with support for Agile transformation programmes.
Leadership is required at all levels.
The skills are subtle and illusive and therefore need safe and frequent opportunities to practice.
Dealing with complexity and emergent change requires people to have the skills, clarity and safety to make decisions without having to refer them up the ladder.
The leadership approach needs to help:
- Build trust.
- Create an environment of psychological safety.
- People to stop avoiding those difficult, awkward conversations.
- Colleagues to seek and offer support.
- Provide alignment and purpose to people’s time at work.
- People to feel truly autonomous and challenged in the work – ‘autonomy, mastery and purpose’.
- Prepare for stressful times – so that teams don’t revert to command and control.
Inspiration and ideas
Our leadership coaching takes its inspiration and insights from a variety of different and mutually supporting sources.
- Turn the Ship around and Intent Based Leadership – David Marquet’s pragmatic and clear principles arising from his experience turning around the US Navy’s worst performing submarine to become its best, sustained for years after he left the boat.
- Mindsets – Carol Dweck’s influential insights in how people can move from a fixed (defensive, closed) mindset to a growth (creative, collaborative) mindset.
- Psychological safety – Based on Dr Amy Edmondson’s work and how this was found to be “by far the most influential factor “ in determining the effectiveness of teams at Google, see the Project Aristotle findings.
- Intrinsic motivation – Daniel Pink’s compelling and well researched book on how people, particularly in knowledge work, are motivated. It all comes down to creating the conditions for people to have autonomy, mastery and purpose at work.
- Developing new habits – The Power of Habits (Charles Duhigg) and Tiny Habits (BJ Fogg). Leadership practices play out at the daily (hourly) level. Developing the habits to adopt and embody these practices involves changing habits and instinctive responses.
We can help you develop leadership qualities in both large and small group environments.