If you have read my bio, you know that I have spent many years helping companies with solution development processes, specifically in the last 10+ years in Agile. In that time, I have learned many hard lessons, and I have learned some of them many times. I sometimes think I can take short cuts, even though I know it is a bad idea.
You might also know that I am passionate about leadership, and have spent many years building my own leadership skills, and mentoring others. I am a disciple of the ‘Maxwell’ school of Leadership. I adhere to the “21 Laws of Leadership” and have in my personal library, most if not all, of Maxwell’s books. I listen to them regularly, and often will listen to some of them on my regular flights back and forth to customer’s I am consulting with. I do this because even though I have heard them countless times, I always find something that is relevant to my past week or upcoming week.
One of Maxwell’s most basic rules is that you must follow the Law of Process in leadership development. You can try to take shortcuts, but as Maxwell says, “Leadership develops daily, not in a day”. How you might ask does this relate to Agile and an Agile blog. The answer is simple. While Leadership develops daily, not in a day, so does agile. For it to work, you must follow the law of process. You can take short cuts, but eventually they will catch up with you.
My most recent engagement was started without my ‘normal starting process’. I did not personally do a transformation evaluation. I did not do a thorough interview with the enterprise leaders. I didn’t conduct a cultural survey. I did none of the things I typically do. I assumed that because I have done it many times, and the opportunity/challenge was so big, and offered me such a great challenge, I was eager to get involved. I ignored my better judgement, and I went along with the people cheering me on, saying I could make it work. The story is not written on this engagement, but I am now, daily, questioning why I thought I could take a shortcut. I ignored my best instincts. I ignored the Law of Process. I didn’t educate the leadership group.
In your endeavors as a coach/transformation specialist or whatever title you have, adhere to the Law of Process. Don’t ignore your instincts. Stand your ground. It will serve you well.
Five (5) Things I would recommend you do before starting a new coaching engagement
- Cultural Survey
- Preliminary Agile Survey
- Leadership & Staff Interviews about current processes/challenges/successes
- Business Strategy Team/Leaders
- Organizational Training/Development Staff
I welcome your ‘checklist’ before you start your new engagements. I’d love to hear how your setup yourself or your teams for successes. In future posts, I will share more details about why failing this process can be detrimental. For now, I will just share my failure. In Maxwell’s words, Failure is an event, not a person or a team. Failure is only an issue if you do not learn from it.
Until next time, I’d love to hear your ideas!
If you ever need someone to believe in you, let me know, I’d be happy to!