Sunset over Lake Erie

A sunset is a gift with no strings!

While there are many leadership types and models, one commonality is that the really great leaders have the ability to give and take feedback. The free flow of feedback is a form of reciprocity in which the gift is honest and well-meaning knowledge, advice, or guidance. Servant leadership requires this type of reciprocity. The servant leader works to empower and serve the people he or she leads while the free flow of feedback generates engagement and brings teams and organizations together. Generating reciprocity is an important skill that needs to be carefully cultivated by a leader. Servant leaders at the team level often use two basic tools to generate reciprocity: gift giving and content marketing. (more…)

Are we being manipulated?

Reciprocity is a social norm that helps shape relationships.  Reciprocity happens where a recipient responds to a positive or negative action with another positive or negative action (we peel back the covers on negative reciprocity soon). Reciprocity is a tool agile coaches, just like salespeople, use to generate agreements amongst teams and stakeholders. The word “use” screams control and negative types of manipulation, so coaches need to be able to recognize when they are generating a scenario of reciprocity due to generosity or a scenario where they are trying to manipulate others for their own gratification.  Every coach needs to pause to reflect before they take an action that they believe is part of the flow of reciprocity.  Here is a simple checklist comprised of seven questions to help a coach consider their actions: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 505 features our recent essay titled, Coaching: Six Modes of OperationOn the surface, coaching is a fairly simple role. A coach has six basic modes of operation.  But…if you peel back the layers just a little bit you will find that coaching is part art and part science.

In the second spot of this week’s magazine have the penultimate session of our read of Steve Tendon and Wolfram Müller’s Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach.  

I have moved things around a bit and complete this edition of the SPaMCAST with an essay on servant leadership from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Regardless of how you define servant leadership, I think we would all agree that good leadership is critical.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we begin the read of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (use the link and buy a copy so you can read along). The version of the book we are reading is published by Metropolitan Books, 2009 and is the 22nd printing. The book has nine chapters and with acknowledgments has 209 pages. My reading plan is one chapter per week, therefore, the re-read will span 11 weeks.  

 

Current Installment:

Week 1 – Approach and Introductionhttps://bit.ly/2LYi9Lv

 

Next SPaMCAST

SPaMCAST 506 will feature our interview with Mark Kilby.  Mark and I discussed agile in distributed environments. Agile in distributed environments is doable but it isn’t easy, Mark provides guidance and advice.

 

Standard poodle on yoga mat

Jax voted to take over my yoga mat!

One of the primary decision-making techniques used in teams is consensus decision making. The power of consensus decision making is that it yields decisions that are the output of a process in which a team or group finds a solution that everyone can either actively support or live with.  The process of getting to a decision or solution that the whole team can at least live will make sure that every that everyone on the team has a seat at the table and that team builds both majority and minority views into the deliberation process. Generating a consensus requires a number of skills that teams and team members need to learn.  These skills include the ability to:

  •       Communicate options and ideas
  •       Synthesize options and ideas
  •       Listen to team members effectively
  •       Discuss and identify similarities and differences
  •       Compromise
  •       Recognize the needs of others.

Diverse teams rarely have a single monolithic thought process. That means that consensus decisions are a synthesis of ideas in which no one got exactly what they wanted but the result is that the team broadly agrees on the specific issues and the overall direction.  When a team has generated a consensus everyone accepts the decision, will support the decision and understands the reason for making it. A consensus decision represents a team’s collective acceptance of the responsibility for enacting the decision and following through.

Despite the crisp definition of consensus, every team operationalizes the concept of consensus decision making differently.  Some bad consensus decision making processes include:

  • Voting –Teams often feel that they have achieved consensus when they have achieved a unanimous vote.  Voting per se is not bad in certain circumstances. Voting can be a way to test the broad position of a team and identify groups that hold different positions but rarely is it a tool to generate a synthesis or to expose nuances in position.  Voting is most often used to force a majority decision.
  • Majority or minority rule – By definition, consensus decisions represent a synthesis of ideas and concepts to generate support from the whole team.  Majority or minority rule scenarios by definition do not reflect a synthesis.
  • One-person rule – Decisions generated and enforced by a single leader do not represent a consensus decision – duh.
  • Bargaining – Bargaining shifts consensus decision making into a process where the participants agree on what each side gives or receives as payment to support the ideas or concepts of others.  Reducing decision making to a legalistic transaction reduces the need to create a synthesis of ideas.

None of the activities that aren’t good for consensus decision making are bad when used in different situations.  I have bargained with my family when deciding on a restaurant. Many a time have I negotiated visiting a place with good chicken wings one night and the vegan salad place the next (we are complicated).  One-person rule decision making can be very effective in an emergency. Captain Sully Sullenberger, who landed a crippled airliner in the Hudson River, did not use consensus decision making. Combining bad practices with consensus decision making is a problem.

Next:

Techniques for Consensus Decision Making

Techniques for Testing Consensus Decisions

 

Worn running shoes

Time to Intervene?

Coaches are more than someone lurking over your shoulder watching your every move.  The goal of coaching is to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in someone’s or some group’s life. To make a difference, coaches need to intervene.  The goal of any intervention is to change behavior to fulfill the coachee’s development plan (this is why agreeing up front to what you want to accomplish is a big deal). Changing behavior requires some combination of:

  1. Trying new behaviors and getting feedback,
  2. Building and trying new skills,
  3. Participating in training,
  4. Enhancing relationships with the right people
  5. Seeking out mentors to grow the whole person, and
  6. Accepting input from stakeholders on goals and behaviors.

(more…)

Barb eating Korean appitizers

Sometimes Trying Something New Is A Learning Experience!

Coaching is a core role for facilitating getting work done that requires a coach to intervene. Intervention requires the permission of the person or team on the receiving end of the intervention. Without permission, as Eli Goldratt stated, “ people will do almost anything before they shift their paradigm.” Agreement on positioning sets coaches on the lookout for learning opportunities. Learning opportunities come in two basic flavors, discovered/harvested or manufactured.

  • Manufactured learning opportunities are scenarios in which the coach controls the situation so that that the coachee can learn a specific point. Generally, these types of situations are safe (little chance for physical or career harm) so the coach can allow mistakes, debrief, and then run the scenario again until the coachee begins to build up muscle memory to help guide them in the real world. In a controlled scenario, it is far easier to dispassionately assess performance and outcome so that the feedback can be precise. Manufacturing a learning opportunity requires not only skill but the coach needs to keep several concepts in mind.  They are:

(more…)

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SPaMCAST 499 will feature our essay on trust and coaching. Coaches are among most effective tools used to help teams improve. In SPaMCAST 496 – Sam Laing I highlighted the need for trust between a coach and the team or person they are coaching. Without trust, a coach will not be very effective.  Two powerful and related tools!

In the rocker as they call it stock car racing is Wolfram Müller. Wolfram co-authored Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach with Steve Tendon.  We talk about Chapter 23 titled Reliable Scrum and Reliable Kanban. Wolfram can be found on LinkedIn at https://bit.ly/2qXvgnw

Anchoring the cast is the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Kim discusses software safety. Tools and software languages can have a major impact on software safety and all of our lives depend on software these days!

Re-Read Saturday News

In week 14 of our re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  we begin Part IV of Turn The Ship Around and tackle chapter 21. The first three parts of the book bring the story to the beginning of deployment of the Santa Fe.  Part IV picks up from that point! (more…)