Welcome to the Agile Leadership Practice

Introduction

My passion is helping teams and companies become highly successful. Often through turning change and disruption into opportunity, specifically through the practice of what I call Agile Leadership.

Agile Leadership Practice

The Agile Leadership Practice is the practice of building an organization that can lead itself by bringing stakeholders into the WHY of their mission, helping them participate in the HOW and empowering them to decide on the WHAT while keeping them focused on The One Thing.

WHY to The One Thing1

It’s also about doing all of this in an environment that:

  • Values calculated risk;
  • Encourages data-informed decision-making;
  • Enables decisions to be made as low as possible in the organization;
  • Gives people the security to learn from every experience, regardless of whether the outcome was expected/hoped for or not.

These two sayings help capture Agile Leadership in a nutshell:

  1. “Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, and you feed them for life.”
  2. “We are stronger together.”

Drawing on books for Agile Leadership Practice:

  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek: Teaches you to always start with first principles and check everything you do against those principles.
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: A very good resource for understanding how everything is an experiment, and failure is not defined as “not meeting your objectives,” but rather, “not learning from an outcome.”
  • Scrum by Jeff Sutherland: Before you run to get this book, start first with The Agile Manifesto, and then The Agile Principles. The first thing you are probably going to do is think that this stuff is about software development, per se — but it’s not! It’s actually the way you solve every problem. They are easily adaptable to many situations and I manage whole organizations using these principles.
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen: This book is about disrupting yourself before others disrupt you. The other side of that coin is you can’t substantially change your fortunes by continuing to just do what you are doing today. What you are doing today has a predetermined trajectory. So, to change your trajectory, you need to change how you do things.
  • Switch by Chip Heath: This has great tools to help with organizational change. Helping find examples of success and to learn from and model after them. Also helps find ways to clear the path so change is easier than continuing to do the same thing that is being done now.

Conclusion

nyc-20080221-033-e1538517464643.jpgMy litmus test for success is a simple question: What happens if a leader at any level of the organization gets run over by a bus? When everyone in the organization knows their WHY, HOW and WHAT as well as an understanding of priorities and how decisions are made. The organization is much more resilient and scalable because everything does not hinge on a single or small group of decision makers.

This blog will focus on the many facets of leadership and meander off topic.

I will try to keep my posts short and focused. I provide anecdotes and book references to help you remember key concepts. I would like this blog to be a conversation so please use the comments to share your thoughts and engage with me and each other. My intent is to share my experience, provoke thought and learn from the healthy conversation that follows.

Credits:

Parts of this article are based on an article that I originally wrote for an Autodesk internal quarterly magazine that was published publicly here.

Related: Agile Leadership: Values & Pitfalls

Related: Start with Why (Your Motivation)

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2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Agile Leadership Practice

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