Is your Scrum Master playing the right role?

Is your Scrum Master playing the right role?

1 week ago 0 0 48

The Rugby World Cup was on in Japan recently. It was a fabulous tournament with the South African team triumphing in the end. Rugby is renowned for its teamwork and tough play, and the idea of the ‘scrum’ in the world of agile working was taken as an analogy from Rugby Union. As such, it is interesting to reflect on what we can learn from the real game of Rugby to make scrums in your business work better. Summary: The analogy that created ‘scrum’ can teach us much about the roles of those involved. Scrum master is a role that does not exist on the rugby pitch. Its closest analogy is the ‘referee’. Understanding how a referee controls and manages the scrum can inform best practice for ‘Scrum Masters’ in the agile workplace, and help Scrum masters help their teams play better games. As I was watching the matches of

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Stories sit at the heart of culture

7 months ago 0 0 210

The fundamental basis of any group is the culture that forms when two or more people come together. This culture can be described as “the unconscious agreement between members of the group as to which behaviours are acceptable, and what is valued, by the group”. The interesting thing is that culture forms unconsciously, and relies on each of the people in the group negotiating and testing the boundaries of the behaviours that define the group. Everyone brings their own ‘stuff’ to a group – norms, beliefs, behaviours, aspirations, etc. Even when you change only a single person in a group, the whole culture can shift as the new addition begins to bring their own beliefs, habits, patterns and external cultural cues on the group that are different from their predecessor, and forces the group to re-negotiate its cultural foundations. I heard at a presentation recently that ‘culture is what we

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What the Christchurch tragedy can teach us about inclusion and diversity

8 months ago 0 3 372

The terrible hate crime in New Zealand has sparked support for diversity and inclusion, and raises questions about the cost of divisiveness. So in our search for diversity and inclusion, how do we address the comments of a far-right senator , and how do we choose, as a society what is acceptable as free speech or unacceptable commentary? How can we be truly inclusive if we exclude comments such as these? Is there a better way? The media has been full of images and stories related to the tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand. Whilst everyone was expressing shock and horror over the events, an Australian senator immediately claimed that it was the immigration policies and the nature of the people’s religion that was the cause of the event. I found myself responding to the senator’s comments with disgust, and a desire to see him sanctioned.  The position that he

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Multi-tasking: the myth that is costing you.

8 months ago 0 0 296

How many times do you hear about ‘multitasking’? It seems to be a concept associated with modern times, with everyone under pressure to achieve so much, all at the same time. People are on their phones, sending mails, checking social media, and attempting to do other work tasks. Or you ask your partner to do this, and do that, at the same time. Lets test your multitasking abilities with a little exercise: Part A: As fast as you can, write the first ten letters of the alphabet (hint: a, b, …), then immediately write the first ten numbers (hint: 1, 2….). Time how long this took you. Part B: Now, as fast as you can, write every second letter (hint:a,c..) up to ten letters, then immediately write every third number (1,4…) up to ten numbers. Time how long this took. Part C. This time, write every second letter then every

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Bad incentives create bad behaviour

8 months ago 0 0 242

We use incentives all the time to shape behaviour.  From our kids at home, to employees, to people we have just met, it is almost human nature to offer incentives to encourage specific behaviours.  However, like most things we do without really thinking them through, there is a dark side to incentives that often gets people stuck. Consider what an incentive might be – it might be the supply of some positive reward such as financial, social or relational.  It might also be the removal of punishment.  Often if people know that some punishment comes unless they demonstrate the behaviour, this acts as an incentive for this behaviour to be displayed. We often simply deploy incentives without thinking – in fact, the culture of the group that we are in often dictates what will be incentivised and how.  For example, if the culture can be defined as all the behaviours

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Are your Social Media habits making you more extreme?

8 months ago 0 0 185

That slightly political post comes up in your feed and you click ‘like’. No harm done, right? Maybe not, but it is also the path to creating more and more extreme views. Without realising it, there are a whole series of thinking errors that can lock us in from this first like to be active promoters of strong political opinion. And you wonder why the Russians spend so much promoting seemingly innocent topics on Facebook? Social media is the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) online world of manipulation.  The proven case of Russian interference in the US election with seemingly innocuous posts points towards a deep understanding of human behaviour, which can be ‘nudged’ towards beliefs and outcomes in very specific ways.  Sometimes you are on the hook from the first time you ‘like’ or reshare even a simple, seemly harmless piece of content.  Here is why. Firstly, humans

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Resilient or Robust: What is your survival strategy?

5 years ago 0 0 705

Resilience is about how you deal with crisis, stress and change.  It is critical to long term success -whether it is as an individual or as an organisation – because whether you like it or not, crisis, stress and change are inevitable.  How do you plan to survive – and even thrive – under these conditions? The quality of the outcome to such events depends on the strategies you employ, often based upon the type of business you think that have:  A robust business is one that sees itself as ‘strong’ and able to push through any crisis or change, believing that it can weather the storm and come out strong on the other side. A resilient business is one that sees itself as being flexible and adapting to change.  It has a clear belief that its resilience comes from moulding what it does to the circumstances and to serving

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Unlocking Potential

7 years ago 0 0 547

I was working with a senior leader in an organisation in Germany recently and his sense was that we are almost on another ‘tipping point’.  He keeps hiring great people, but most of his efforts to create synergies and really get the best of his people seem to fail.  He senses that there must be a ‘better way’ to lead people, and to get results. I have to agree with him.  I see so often that groups of people are thrust together in teams that almost bring out the ‘worst’ in each other.  They find ways not to collaborate.  They act defensively and avoid commitment or creativity.  Does this sound somewhat familiar? And yet, each person was a high quality, high performing individual. What would happen, I asked him, if they would collaborate?  If they would share ideas and be innovative and creative? If they would take responsibility for themselves

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