Category - Agile

10.06 20170

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It’s the golden anniversary of Aretha Franklin’s gold single --- RESPECT. The queen of soul powerfully demanded … R-E-S-P-E-C-T -- find out what it means to me. The song found meaning for those needing empowerment in not only personal relationships but also in political movements. Fifty years later, what does respect mean in today’s workplace? Respect is a frequently stated workplace value. It is many times lauded in corporate visions and mission statements, but do we truly live up to our stated values? I had a couple of conversations recently about respect that got me thinking. Some people overlook respect issues in a work environment due to fear of losing their livelihood, but I feel strongly that if respect issues on teams are not timely addressed, then there is a risk of total deterioration of the productivity of the team. I believe respect is essential to success for all parties involved in a situation. If you do not receive respect, then your ability to respect yourself suffers. If you do not respect yourself, then your ability to respect others suffers. Tolerating a disrespectful situation creates a vicious circular cycle of lies, fear and anger. Bill Bradley stated, “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.” What does this mean … Fair Treatment – treat others courteously with empathy and the golden rule in mind no matter if they are customers, vendors, or employees. Honest Disagreement – promote transparency by eliminating the fear of opposing others views; however, remember that you are disagreeing with the ideas, not the person. Enjoyment of Friendship – foster trusting work relationships. A large part of life is spent with those with whom we work. To have a good life, we must foster the relationships with the people in it. Candid Exploration of Thoughts – be open to discussions of ideas that are very different than the current situation. Innovation can only come when we break free of what it is that we are doing today. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we are getting. Work Towards a Common Goal – make honest promises. Have a vision to strive for and be honest about where you are as a group in achieving it. Helping One Another – a greater height and an enhanced range of vision are achieved by lifting others up to stand on our shoulders. As an agile coach, I work with teams promoting the agile values -- Individuals and Interactions, Customer Focus, Working Product, Openness to Change. In order to build high performing teams, we promote the pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. There are no limits to what can be accomplished by a focused group of like-minded people situated in a friendly, fair, respectful environment -- unafraid to disagree, explore new ideas and help one another. Annie Gottlieb stated, “Respect… is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.” In order to truly appreciate others’ uniqueness, first seek understanding and then to be understood. In your environment… Stop, Look and Listen. Each person you encounter comes to the situation with their own set of unique individual capabilities. The best and most creative solutions will harness the capabilities of the individuals of a group to create positive interactions that allow for the creation of new experiences for the whole. Integrate the strengths of the group to benefit the whole by respecting unique individual contributions. John W. Gardner said, “If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them become better than they are.” In agile coaching our goal is always continuous improvement… to become better than we are today. However, don’t just focus on changing what you think is wrong… focus on making the most of what is right. In order to advance any cause, we must first inventory our team for their strengths, respect their capabilities and use those capabilities as a launching place to create a better situation by growing together from a position of strength. R-E-S-P-E-C-T… this is what respect means to me.

read more
31.08 20140

The Critical Inch

By: michelemuse Categories:Agile

We all have choices to make. The most important one is what to do with the day that is before us. Will we ignore those around us in favor of living in the past or dreaming of the future, or will we seize the day? If we are all food for worms, what will you do with today to make it matter? Are you always stressed to meet a new goal or distressed about past performance? Are you excited and alive about the work you are doing today and the relationships that you are enjoying? Could you engage more with those around you… take the time to go to lunch with coworkers and get to know them a little more, put the extra effort into the mindless tasks of your day, or make time to engage those personal relationships that you neglected for far off ambitions? To the inch worm, his largest goal is the inch in front of him. Eventually he makes it across the room but only one inch at a time. If he focuses too much on where he is going, he becomes overwhelmed. If he focuses too much on where he has been, he becomes discouraged. He must make every inch count as he spends his life moving inch by inch from one place to another. If there are enough fulfilling inches, then we have a fulfilling life. It will be worthwhile because we have filled it with what matters… the interactions with those around us within our critical inch. The critical inch concept ties back into the first value of the Agile Manifesto… individuals and interactions. All agile work is driven by this value. Our largest ambition or most distant goal is realized everyday on the team level with the daily standup, one task at a time. The interactions and relationships we build with the team are not only what leads to ultimate project success but also ultimately what leads to a fulfilling work life for those on the team. Instead of worrying about past problems or stressing about potential challenges, learn to be present to the moment you living and be present to those around you who are living it with you. Our lives are lived in the moment…not the past nor the future. My wish for you I take from Jonathon Swift, “may you live all of the days of your life.”      

read more
21.05 20140

Getting Real

By: michelemuse Categories:Agile

I recently read a quote from an unlikely source for life advice ...Mike Tyson.  Mike said "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." There is a lot of truth in this quote and in boxing in general because a boxer is forced to "get real" very quickly.  In the heat of opposition, agility and reflexive training become more critical than having a plan.  The ability to maintain composure and adjust a plan means the difference between staying in the fight or being laid out on the mat.  Personally, I never have been a big fan of boxing. It is hard for me to want to cheer on raw aggression, but I have been somewhat intrigued by the sage advice that comes from the ring. Boxers say that a fight is won or lost before the opponents step into the ring.   You are either very prepared for your opponent, or you are at a loss almost immediately.  Effective preparation comes from making a realistic assessment of your opponent's strengths and your own weaknesses and inversely making a plan to take action to maximize your strengths, while drawing out the opponent's weaknesses. Even as you plan and prepare for a match, you must realize that once in the ring, anything can happen.  The most admired boxers are known to be very agile ... adjusting movements quickly and fluidly while maintaining a steady rhythm and pace.  Muhammad Ali's trainer said "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."  In a world of heavy weights, you must be somewhat unsuspecting to your opponent. You must move around lightly, but at the time of execution you must pack a very direct punch. As an agile coach, from my observations of boxing here are some takeaways for my team trainees: 1.  Always take time to know your strengths and your weaknesses 2.  Build on your strengths, but don't ignore your weaknesses 3.  Have a plan 4.  Be prepared to change your plan, quickly and seamlessly 5.  Find your own rhythm and pace 6.  Take feedback from observers that have an outside view of the situation-- use the wisdom and experience of others to become a contender 7. Keep it real when dealing with the present situation no matter how unfavorable it may be Boxing ...a case study in agility.

read more
05.04 20140

Anew

By: michelemuse Categories:Agile

Winter is over; the cold weather is almost gone.  I am so glad; I hate the bitterness of the cold.  I love it when plants and flowers begin to bloom again.  It gives me hope; it reminds me that no matter how bitter the winter, that there is the renewal of spring, and the chance for the world to be beautiful again.  I recently read the unattributed quote that “what distinguishes what’s alive from what is dead is growth, whether it be in plants or in you.” It is important to remember that no matter what the setbacks that we may experience in life or in our careers that as long as we focus on growth through continued learning, we will prosper.  Continuous learning is a valued principle in the Agile world.  At the root of this concept of continuous learning is the belief that no matter how strong we may be, we all will be challenged with setbacks and failures.  The teams that prosper are those that self-examine regularly and use the power of inspection and introspection to make the changes necessary to be successful in the future. The individuals that are the most successful in life are those that make ongoing learning a part of their everyday lives.  Continuous learners use learning to stay active and alive, and vibrance from their knowledge pollinates to all around them.  Continuous learning helps us grow upward toward the sun, avoiding the weeds that would choke away the light.  This spring, stop in your busy life and take a moment to look at the renewal going on all around you.   If you like what you see, then consider making continuous growth and renewal a part of your personal world.

read more

Central

14:34