Leadership Tip (series) Inspiring Your Team

I was working with a client the other day and was asked how we attract such great talent to our projects.  “Steve, you always seem to have the motivated team, the stars… that makes delivery easy”

Whilst attracting bright talent is a focus of mine (who doesn’t want to work with bright people?), we work hard at it, we also work hard at keeping them and maintaining the motivation.

Our underlying philosophy is pretty simple and is broken down into three points that anyone can use.

  1. How do you make your team members wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose?
  2. You can’t manage people.  You manage tasks and inspire people to achieve those tasks. How do you inspire?
  3. How do you ensure your team members go home with a sense of achievement?

These three questions are answered at the start of every engagement and to ensure they remain efficient, are built into our retrospectives, which are held every two weeks.  The team are heavily engaged, we spend a lot of time talking about these points and adjusting team culture and actions to ensure we deliver on them.

Take these questions to your team and see what answers you get.  How can you implement them, and more importantly, how do you maintain them?

Great people are the result of inspired people.

Hope that helps.

 

Leadership Tip (series) Achieve

No-one likes a long running task.  Day after day, coming in to work to do more of the long running task.  Its a demoraliser…

I teach teams an agile/SCRUM trick, and that is to create your tasks so they can be completed within one day.  This way you go home with a sense of achievement, not dread!

Impossible you say… well let me explain a bit more.  I don’t mean Continue reading Leadership Tip (series) Achieve

Dirty Agile

The other morning I was a guest presenter (I really don’t like that word… I interacted with people) at a breakfast with Deloitte in Brisbane.  The topic was, agile, how I’ve implemented it and the results achieved at my latest client.

Half way through this session I chuckled to myself and coined the phrase ‘dirty agile’ – agile from the trenches.  Since then I have received a lot of interest in dirty agile.

The term dirty agile reflects scrum after many retrospectives.  The flavor of agile that we now run throughout this program can be clearly traced back to the manifesto principles and you can see its roots are in SCRUM, however it fits the organisation, their risk tolerance and low project maturity very well.

Jeff Sutherland – the founder of SCRUM explains that SCRUM is ‘onboarding for agile’.  It is a set of ‘rules’ to get you going, it is not Continue reading Dirty Agile

Executive support is mandatory for agile

Over the past 25 years of delivering solutions in multiple countries and multiple organisations I have never had the support from exec like I do from my current client.  From the board, to the CEO to the executive directors, to the business… we are backed and supported.

This stacks the odds of makes top down, bottom up change, success heavily in our favor.

It is common for the CEO to walk into the program room, sit down with me and ask Continue reading Executive support is mandatory for agile

Leadership Tips (series) Wake up!

Recently I am being asked a lot of questions around leadership.  It is inspiring that so many managers are now become interested in leadership and even more inspiring that a few are understanding the difference between the two.

… so I thought I would start a series so I can capture my thoughts in one place.  I hope you find something that inspires and helps.

As a leader I believe that your role is to achieve a better outcome from your team, compared to if you weren’t there.  Now don’t laugh, I have met more managers than I could count that made no difference at all (or worse… they had a negative impact) on the output of their teams.  Some managers are reporters, others are enforcers, the a few are leaders.

One philosophy I try to embed is Continue reading Leadership Tips (series) Wake up!

The Human Side of Business – Minimize Management, Maximize Leadership.

Managing should be an invisible, yet a productive force.

So, how do you improve the efficiency of the human-side of Organizations needed for the future success of a business?

Everything to do with work can be changed for the better, if only Management today is comfortable with simply pointing out where the business needs to go and how it intends getting there. Then letting go, and being flexible enough to adapt and evolve as that future unfolds with all of its uncertainties.

We definitely, need another measure of people performance other than by their economic contribution, which is often not within the control of the individual. We need to measure their commitment and leadership to the well-being of the Organization.

To achieve this we need to make work something worth committing to.

Adequacy and monotony is not something that just happens; it is built into your system.  It’s the result of thoughtless social engineering, which adds nothing to improve the human-side of the business, or the abilities of the individual, Continue reading The Human Side of Business – Minimize Management, Maximize Leadership.

How To Deliver Constant Change Without Burning Out Your Teams

As new beliefs clash with the old, ‘fast change’ has come to mean must change, and with it has come disposable skills, the loss of feeling valued and stable, and a lack of leadership and mentors. This has resulted in not only a knowledge deficiency within our Organizations but also, a shift in the centre of energy of these Organizations.

This disruption has become so much part of our lives (there is just too much to take in… so much to know, understand, think about and consider) that we are in danger of our minds suffering from sensory as well as information overload and burnout. Stress, bewilderment, helplessness, tension, anxiety disorder is on the increase, and it is showing up as unreasonable behavior and even mindlessness within our Organizations’.  Its showing up through lower than expected results.

People no longer know how to behave, how they work is how they have always worked. Many don’t know how to change. Speed has turned into haste as organizations fight for a credible future.

Now is the time to be a leader.

Continue reading How To Deliver Constant Change Without Burning Out Your Teams

How Spotify Do It – Part 2 of 2

Everytime I watch this series… yep, I watch them regularly… hey why not learn from the very best(!) I learn something new.

As your level of agile maturity grows you will face issues.  Architecture, design, fit into assurance frameworks in large organisations, skill set sharing etc.  Spotify seem to have faced them all… and found sweet solutions.

Watch and enjoy!

Continue reading How Spotify Do It – Part 2 of 2

How Spotify Do It (Is this Agile at its best?) Part 1 of 2

Those of you who know me, know that I am a raving fan of Spotify and their Agile culture.

Spotify is an amazing free, legal online music streaming service check out their product here (https://www.spotify.com/au/)

You see spotify have engaged the Agile philosophy properly.  Agile is about trying, measuring, then retrospectively looking at what worked well, didn’t work so well, and well… what totally ballsed up.

Lets be honest here… every project has its issues.  Any project worth is weight has to solve a problem that hasn’t been solved before, so it will come across some stumbling block.  People will make mistakes.  That’s normal and that’s ok with me.  Its how we learn, its how we innovate.  If we never try anything new, we wont create anything new.

The video below, with a huge thanks to Spotify who made it available, explains their engineering philosophy so well that I thought I’d use it here.
Continue reading How Spotify Do It (Is this Agile at its best?) Part 1 of 2

How To Run A Company (or Team) With (Almost) No Rules

Here’s a thought… If Ricardo can run a successful multi-billion dollar group of companies using his version of Agile, then we should all be striving to instill this mindset into our teams and departments.

What’s exciting is that its not just us dev types who are rethinking better ways of working.

What do Ricardo’s principles and Agile have in common?  Well, if I was to pick a commonality I would have to say this…

Continue reading How To Run A Company (or Team) With (Almost) No Rules