Michael Spayd and I delivered a keynote address to the General Electric crowd at a 300+ person in-house agile conference (plus who knows how many people on WebEx). We were honored to be among such agile community luminaries as Mary Poppendeick and Jean Tabaka, as well as several GE leaders who were keynoting on their experiences with agile.
Our topic was Catalyst Leadership: A New Model for Leading Teams, Products and Organizations and we delivered some pretty eye-opening material, including the fact that most organizations respond to the complexity of today’s business world through leadership that actually complicates our ability to thrive (maybe even survive) in a complex world. The new and better model of leadership for a complex world? Catalyst leadership as researched and written about by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs in their insightful and completely useful book, Leadership Agility.
After our keynote, Michael and I attended a session offered by Ken Clyne where he taught us how to play a Risk Game. Ken has a great article on how to play the game so you can get the details from that.
What I want to highlight is that great agile coaches stop running meetings and they start designing interactions, instead. They plan ahead. They design a “meeting” to be filled with activities and games that allow the team to interact and create together. they use their facilitation skills to help everyone play along in the meeting. This is important because we are always looking for 2 levels of results with an agile team: product and process. Sure, we want the product — sizing the items on the product backlog or identifying the top risks to integrate into our release plan. No doubt that this is the outcome we want. We also want another outcome, and that’s a team that can share their individual viewpoints and, therefore, create a more complete and shared understanding of their real world. That’s the process outcome. The process we use to get there matters, too. If we got the product result, but we didn’t get the process result through increasing the team’s capacity for collaboration, creativity and innovation then we know we only got half of the potential value. We left money on the table. Agile coaches…start designing interactions and help the team and the organization get the full value.