Stories are full of metaphors and similes.

Many of us spend at least a plurality of our day in meetings or talking with people. The give and take of conversation is core to software development. Ron Jefferies stated that user stories included a card, conversation, and confirmation. The problem is immediately apparent to anyone that has been involved with getting work done; language is imprecise. Metaphors are one of the culprits. Clean Language, borrowed from psychotherapy, is one of the tools that can be used to shine a light on what a speaker means when they use a phrase. In Clean Language – Basic Concepts it was noted that clean language can be used to establish the underlying meaning of a metaphor. It turns out that identifying metaphors is not as easy as the literature suggests. Exploring metaphors and why we care is an important digression. (more…)

Clean Language is a technique for shaping a discussion. The questions at the heart of this approach are designed to discover and explore a person’s personal metaphor. Clean language is a very useful tool for a wide range of roles from coaching to exploring requirements and needs. Before we explore how to use this approach for developing requirements and breaking user stories down we need to cover some basic concepts.  (more…)

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SPaMCAST 556 features our essay on Socratic Questioning.  Questions are a critical tool that every coach, mentor or leader uses to help shape and improve the performance of those they interact with — I don’t think this statement should surprise anyone.  That said, pushing past the concept of just asking questions, Socratic questioning is a formal and disciplined approach to getting the person answering the questions to synthesize and answer based on knowledge and logic.

We also have a visit from Susan Parente.  Susan brings her Not A Scrumdamentalist column to the SPaMCAST. In this installment, Professor Parente discusses being agile in name only. Being agile in name only is not an enviable place to be! (more…)

 

Coach of the ducks?

A short time ago I participated in a Meet-Up featuring Craig Larman.  As with most Meet-Ups, this session was engaging and thought-provoking. One of the takeaways was that when you ask someone to solve a problem or change how they are working, they need to own not rent the solution. When you give someone the answer they can’t or won’t own the solution. As soon as your influence is not focused on them, they will revert. The role of a coach often centers on diagnosing problems and helping people come to an understanding of how their behavior or feelings are affecting their team and organization. Rarely is an issue so obvious that observing a specific behavior and then sharing observations generates a real organizational or self-awareness solution. Questions are one of the most potent tools coaches have to help someone identify an issue and then find their own answer. The term ‘questions’ represent a mega category (similar to the term automobile).  Because the category is so large there are many ways to use questions to help solve problems. Socratic questions are an approach to using questions. Socratic questions when used is a formal structured approach to questioning that ALL coaches need to understand because it gets the person answering the question to own the solution. (more…)

Is chain link transparent

Working in teams or teams of teams is a fact of life in today’s corporate environment.  Gone are the days when software developers were relegated to the basement to labor away in solitary cubes.  Today’s work environment requires collaboration between team members, other groups and sometimes even the business. Collaboration requires three prerequisites; time, transparency and trust.  Each of these areas is complex in its own right. Transparency, the middle component in the prerequisites, is the sharing of all relevant information, including motives. In order to collaborate effectively, people need to know what they are working on, why they are working on it, the background of what they are working on, and more. Unpacking the concept of transparency exposes six important attributes that further refine and contribute to the concept of transparency. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 518 features our interview with Rebecca Staton-Reinstein.  We discussed leadership, the difference between leadership and management, coaching versus mentoring and who should own your improvement program.  Rebecca and I have known each other for years and I have always enjoyed her wisdom and pragmatic advice. She really delivers the goods.

Rebecca’s bio:

REBECCA STATON-REINSTEIN, Ph.D. is the president of Advantage Leadership, Inc.

Where she works with companies around the world that want strategic leaders and engaged employees to increase bottom- and top-line results and delight customers. Clients achieve their goals through strategic planning and leadership, management, team, and organizational development. Rebecca’s team works with clients to craft customized, successful solutions to their complex business issues in all economic sectors. Rebecca’s says, “Our mission is your success.”

For over 25 years, Rebecca has contributed improved organizational value as a leader, manager, technologist, keynoter, educator, and consultant honored by organizations on four continents. She is a Ph.D. in organizational development, MBTI® Master Practitioner, a National Speakers Association Professional Member, St. Petersburg Engineering Academy Foreign Member, and Board of Directors Chairperson-Elect, Davie-Cooper City Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Information:

Rebecca Staton-Reinstein, Ph.D., President

Advantage Leadership, Inc.

320 S Flamingo Road, Suite 291, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027

Rebecca@AdvantageLeadership.com

Phone: +305-606-9312  

Web:  http://www.AdvantageLeadership.com  

Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/RSRpage

Join me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccastatonreinstein


Re-Read Saturday News
We continue our journey through Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2018).  Today based on the advice of Stephen Adams we tackle chapters three, four and five. The chapters  are titled, “Apple Envy”, “Goodbye East Paly” and “Childhood Neighbors.” The chapters we cover this week paint a picture of a toxic culture full of deceit, naiveté, and vindictiveness; this will be a blockbuster movie someday. While Theranos sounds extraordinary, it isn’t hard to find similar corporate train wrecks. Bad Blood needs to be read as a cautionary tale.

Current Week:  Week 3 — Apple Envy, Goodbye East Paly and Childhood Neighbors – https://bit.ly/2zbOTeO

Week 1 – Approach and Introductionhttps://bit.ly/2J1pY2t    (more…)

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…)