Agile as a mindset or a methodology?

Agile as a mindset or a methodology?

2 weeks ago 0 0 46

There is so much to be gained by using positive project methodologies such as scrum or agile. It can positively change organisations when they take on modern project methodologies that turn old ways on their heads. The problem with these approaches is when they become fixed in the business as a methodology, rather than unleashing what they can being as a mindset. Let me explain. If I use an ‘agile methodology’, then I become process bound to do ‘sprints’ and all of the other specific process elements that are described in the agile process. Sure, I can get a certificate in agile process, and then become rigid around enforcing that process in my business. I have seen one sales team that used the scrum ‘daily standup meets’ with all of the hoopla, and a complete disinterest from the staff involved. However, because it was ‘in the process’, it was put

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Should they be in charge? (Assessing leadership)

3 weeks ago 0 0 49

The Australian opposition just selected as new leader, and the UK Tories are currently starting the process of finding a leader to replace Ms. May and take them forward. It is likely that the people selected for these roles are not chosen on their ‘ability to lead’, but rather may other elements.  In a ‘perfect world’, how do we go about assessing leadership, both in current leaders and leadership aspirants?  In truth, people are routinely terrible at identifying and selecting great leaders. Whilst we are desperate to identify them, install them and even emulate them, knowing what will make a great leader is fraught with human error. In our desire to find and become great leaders, we often get sucked into the myth that is the cult of leadership. Why are we suckers for the cult of leadership? Humans seem to have a need to raise onto pedestals people who

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Is it time to fight your biggest enemies?

1 month ago 0 0 110

Sometimes they feel like your closest friends. They seem to want to keep you safe, keep you comfortable. But these two ‘false friends’ are your worst enemies if you want to succeed in business or in life. These old friends are fear and habit. They are insidious. They don’t walk around bold as brass. Most often they hide themselves away and ‘whisper’ into your ear. They sprinkle just enough of their magic on what you do to keep you stuck, keep you scared and keep you small. Have you ever sat in a meeting where someone says “yes, but we don’t do it that way!”. Or someone might find a way to get their point across with something like “But what if we don’t do it!” These are simply versions of your false friends speaking up to keep you stuck. There is some sort of comfort in not changing, not

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Frictionless business.

1 month ago 0 0 110

Friction is a force that acts against forward movement. It creates noise, it creates heat, it transforms the kinetic energy of forward motion into something else. Friction is something that takes energy and effort to overcome, and when an object is at rest, can add to the inertia to make it harder to get things moving. It seems like this is just physics, but it is also the underlying problem of so many businesses. Without even realising it they are adding friction to their business processes and slowing down performance. Friction that is converting positive energy into unwanted byproducts, and requiring massive amounts of additional effort to be put in by customers and staff to overcome the inertia that this friction generates. Simply put, a customer experiences ‘friction’ every time the process of doing business with you is slowed or impeded by your rules, habits or inefficiencies. Or a staff

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The leadership decision ‘speed trap’

2 years ago 1 0 851

Leaders need to know the difference between haste and speed, particularly when it comes to their thinking. In modern business, we seem to be in the habit of needing to be ‘fast’ to just keep up. However, going too fast can get leaders stuck in a ‘speed trap’ that can get you and your business into trouble. Feeling pressured to make fast decisions – and even feeling that you have to make decisions for others when they can make them for themselves – can be critical leadership errors that can impact upon your leadership (and whole organisation) performance. Decision making requires an appropriate amount of thinking. What we have learned through behavioural economics and psychology, is that there are common errors inherent in thinking. These errors, although well documented, are routinely made by almost everyone. Leaders, under pressure to take decisions, often fall foul of these errors, sometimes with catastrophic

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Managing in uncertainty for high performance

2 years ago 0 0 956

What is uncertainty? If we listen to the famous Chinese proverb: “May you live in interesting times”, we can see it as both a blessing and a curse. We are certainly living in interesting – if not uncertain – times. With Brexit, the extended time for Australian election to be decided, the rise of Donald Trump, the disagreements in the South China Sea, we can feel that there is uncertainty all around us. These uncertain times drive very specific responses. Often, these responses are not the best possible responses for the individual or the society in which they exist. How do people respond to uncertainty? When people experience uncertainty, it can mean that the person is out of their comfort zone. When there is uncertainty, people struggle to decide on what to do moving forward. They get stuck, and often have a lack of skill or strategy in deciding how

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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 738

I was presenting on culture and leadership at a recent conference (#100millionimpacts, for B1G1), and whilst facilitating a panel discussion, a common theme that emerged was the importance of the stories in business. In response to many questions after the session, here are a few thoughts on stories in business to extend that discussion further: Stories are powerful means of communication. Often, people believe that storytelling ends when the kids grow up. However, there are stories being told within your business – and about your business – that can either take it to new heights of success or lead it to ruin. What stories are being told about your business? People communicate through stories. As people communicate, they engage each other through analogy (this is like that), metaphor (the army of sales reps) and stories. Humans are always using these processes to engage their listeners, develop shared meaning and convey

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snap out of it! – your workplace trance is stifling your performance

3 years ago 0 0 633

We can’t help it – we all get hypnotised by our circumstances. The quality of your performance and culture is often a direct result of the workplace ‘trance’ that you and your teams are in. So many people seem to get stuck in low quality ‘trances’, where poor performance is the only practical outcome. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. We can consciously choose a higher quality trance and then achieve so much more. Hypnosis works by placing people into trance. Whilst there are lots of scary ideas about hypnosis and trance, world experts in the field define trance quite pragmatically: Trance is a simply a state of focused attention. Consider when you are absorbed in a great book or TV show. People can walk in and out of the room, and you may not even notice them. You can be absorbed in the story, and instead of

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Stress is inevitable – how you respond to it is not

3 years ago 0 0 1068

Stress is inevitable, but can it enhance performance or does it always harm us? Stress is reported as one of the significant ‘modern diseases’. People are reporting feeling so ’stressed’ from their work and private lives that it making them physically and psychologically ill. When you consider performance, stress plays a massive role in dragging people out of their peak performance states into less resourceful ones. Stress is almost contagious, with people being influenced by stress that others experience to become stressed themselves. Have we created a world where stress is inevitable, and we are all just victims of our circumstance – or is there more to stress, and can we do more than just manage it? What is stress? Stress is the body’s response to being forced to operate outside its comfort zone. When we are in our comfort zone, we have the belief and expectation that we can

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Understanding the ‘Trumpnado’ – the social psychology of Donald Trump

3 years ago 1 0 1082

After it started as seemingly a bit of a joke, Donald Trump has catapulted into front-runner status for the Republican nomination for President in the United States. His extreme actions and language are completely at odds with the traditional political playbook. However, it seems to be working. Whilst it may seem completely illogical, there are compelling social psychology reasons why his approach is working – and there is a dangerous historical precedent. Where did the supporters come from? Donald Trump has drawn a large and passionate supporter base. Whilst Ted Cruz and Mark Rubio have fashioned messages to speak to a conservative mindset, Trump has spoken across classic voter categories. His supporter base was probably not even aware that they were Trump supporters, but his campaign has activated them. First to get on board were more extreme elements, but over time his activation has reached deeper and deeper into the

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