How can agile frameworks like scrum create change for you, your team, and your organization? There are many answers to this question, so we asked Bob Galen, Kwasi Owusu-Asomaning, and Jesse Fewell, to share their thoughts.
Bob Galen, President and Principal Coach at RGCG and Director, Agile Practices at Zenergy Technologies, is an agile methodologist, practitioner, Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Team Coach. Bob witnesses change when there’s …”more inclusivity of ideas. More diversity of thought. Less individual work and more group collaboration. Curiosity begins to increase and questions begin to replace directives. Importantly the leaders begin to change even more than the teams. They are leading the way by changing the way they show up for their teams and shifting their mindsets.”
Importantly, the leaders begin to change even more than the teams. They are leading the way by changing the way they show up for their teams and shifting their mindsets.
Mindsets are hard to measure. You can, however, look for outward signs of an internal change in subtle language shifts. For example:
- “Doing” agile into “being” agile language OR “Big A Agile” changing into “little a agile”;
- “I” language changes into “we” language;
- “Do this” language changes into “invitational” language;
- “Output” changes into “outcome”;
- “Blame” language changes to “safety” language and appreciation.
According to Bob, “Change needs space and time to become the new status quo. The rate of change should somehow be measured to see if you’re experiencing change fatigue, which is inhibiting change, versus achieving balanced change which is becoming sticky and gaining momentum. I do think you can sense negative change (slow, tired/exhausted, resistance, too much) versus positive change pressure (faster, invigorated, adapting well, just right) as an indicator of balanced change speed.”
Kwasi Owusu-Asomaning is a Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Team Coach with a passion for connecting with people and helping individuals and teams discover their true sense of purpose. As Kwasi considers the magic potion to address a change that feels like “change from a culture full of entitled employees to one that’s more invigorating” as a shift to co-creation, he shares the following.
He suggests that before embarking on anything, turn to those who are actually being impacted and ask why it’s important, who benefits, etc. Involve those who may need to work differently as well, and that includes the leaders of the organisation. That co-creation activity, psychologically, triggers a message that ‘we are all in this together and you matter.’ Co-creating means from the beginning, throughout the learning and discovery and to the successes and the pivots that may emerge.
Then there’s the aspect of actually measuring the effectiveness or success of the change. Start by identifying what you care about measuring. Look at the vision of the change you are trying to achieve and ask yourselves, how would we know we’ve achieved this? What would we see? What would we hear? What would we feel? And take it from there. Start simple!
Jesse Fewell is an author, trainer, Certified Teach Coach, and Certified Enterprise Coach who helps senior leaders transform their organizations world-wide. Jesse focuses on quantitative versus qualitative change in his observations. As he sees it, “evidence of change comes in two equally important categories: quantitative data and qualitative anecdotes. Quantitative data create credibility and confidence. The social sciences rely on surveys and self-reported scores to convert intangible feelings into tangible numbers. If we ensure the surveys are anonymous, unbiased, and paced appropriately, then it can work well.
“For example, if we capture employee engagement scores before and after six months of coaching, we might find a lift from 57% to 85% on Teamwork. That tells us our emphasis on team practices has been wise and effective. However, that same milestone might show a drop in Personal Growth from 45% down to 37%. That tells us the ‘We’ came at the cost of ‘me,’ and creates clarity for our next phase of coaching.”
On the other hand, qualitative anecdotes create meaning. Numbers alone are dry and do not motivate. Therefore, as we go about coaching teams and leaders, we should collect stories that bring the human dimension into full view. That 28-point boost in teamwork can be accompanied with pre-coaching complaints, such as, ‘I feel truly isolated at this company. I’m only here for a paycheck’ to post-coaching testimonials, such as ‘I finally know where I fit in here, and I’m proud of the work we do.’”
Our thanks go out to these three agile community thought leaders for their insights. The world around us is in a constant state of change; sometimes good, other times, not so good. Either way, we believe that Scrum Alliance certified agile coaches are the change agents who are best suited to help. And the world needs more of them.