Although I have been called a lot of times a man of words, I actually devote more time to listen than to talk. In fact, I have been asked a lot of times a lot of interesting questions, being one of them "what's my plan?".
This could be a very short post giving my answer to this question: no, I don't follow a plan.
On October 18th at Agile Tour London, I gave a speak about how an enterprise transformation transforms you as a coach. First of all, thanks to all the attendants and the couple of people that invested their time in giving me some written feedback. I really appreciate it and learnt from it. It was a very introspective talk and I think the key was at the very end in three (not-so-new) key messages.
Setup your very own set of principles
Yes, I always repeat myself, but people need a purpose and you are people. As a change agent, your purpose could be "change" but this is maybe a bit blurry. Giving and end to change is also a chimera. So how to drive your actions in such a volatile circumstance? With principles. And comparing every choice and acting consequently to those principles.
They could be the ones in the Agile Manifesto, if you are "going Agile", you can grab some ideas from Management 3.0, or from a thousand more. My recommendation for you is to create your own and let them evolve and change until they get flexible but clear.
Bring your emotions to the workplace
You know this guy that is "professional at the work place" and a good friend and a happy husband at home. You know what? He is the same person. 24 hours long. And trying to forget it, force it or even negate it is, from my point of view, pathological.
In that precise moment where you create vulnerable human relationship with your team mates, magic happens. Try it. Ask them honestly how everything is going. Reject this first "good" or "nice" answer, go a bit deeper. Listen carefully, trying to understand, not preparing your answer. And be prepared to know someone that has been sitting with you maybe for weeks.
And also teach by example, do not answer "good" or "nice" when asked. Explain how do you feel. Maybe you are tired, or you had an awful night at home with your new born, or you are worried about last "corporative news".
The right amount of emotions? Bring your emotions, leave your ego.
Change the world one conversation at a time
And this is the key, this is the way I work, and this is the way you can also work. Put your whole attention to the conversation you are having right now. Whatever it is. Listen carefully, understand globally, ask what you need, in order to clarify, in order to confirm.
Because you are also, whoever you are, a change agent.
Cover photo by Joshua Ness
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