This article was initialy published on jesusmendez.ca

#5. Be the coach and fight back old habits

My ego feels great when I am invited to join crucial conversations at every level (strategic, tactic or operational), given my privileged position when starting continuous improvement transformations. The thing is, it doesn’t matter how I feel. What really matters is this:

What’s the role that is most beneficial for the team to take ownership of its own destiny?

Think about it.

#4. Stay focused

When starting a continuous improvement transformation, I am used to playing several roles at the same time; I could be the Scrum Master, or the Product Owner, or the Stakeholder, or even the leader role model. In time, I change hats to play the Agile Coach role, sometimes I’ll be mentoring and other times teaching.

As you can tell, it is a lot of role switching in a extremelly short period of time (typically, the first 3 month with the client).

So please, keep this in mind as a reminder:

Reducing Work In Progress would help you stay focused, be more productive, finish in a shorter amount of time, reduce stress and increase quality.

So what would it take for you to pass the ball and let others play the role that you have taught them to play?

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#3. Get organized and be ready

Today’s executives are busy people, specially in IT environments. They are people with fast-paced rhythms, busy agendas, extremely demanding tasks and little time to get involved.

With all that at hand, my job gets extremely difficult and challenging, given that for an Agile organization to work, I think leadership involvement is the key to success. So my biggest challenge has been: How do I get organized and ready to help decision-makers decide?

Well first, I am used to making visible the continuous improvement plans to everyone in the team.

I do, what I suggest others to do:

  1. Create a backlog.
  2. Set myself in short cycles/iterations.
  3. Keep track of what I’m doing.
  4. Keep what I do as much transparent and visible as possible.
  5. Pass it.

The other thing I do, is to set at least one or two meetings per week with decision-makers, to help them decide what to do, and reflect upon their actions, behaviors and attitudes when working with the team.

My main goal here, is to become obsolete as soon as possible and get them organized in a way that I have found useful to reach that goal.

#2. Stay Calm, Inspirational and Positive

This is a tough one. With the amount of conversations that could happen during the day, the role switching, people’s fears and concerns about the changes, decision-makers’ self doubts and the chaos of the transformation, staying calm is a huge and challenging task.

What I do to stay centered and inspirational ?

  • I focus on what we have learned.
  • Always pointing out what we have accomplished.
  • I listen to others to reflect them their own fears, being compassionate.
  • I am always honest and direct when giving feedback to people, with a sweet touch of kindness (typical of Venezuelans)
  • I take time to care about others, about what’s going on in their lives.

Take time to build great relationships with people and everything else will follow.

#1. Avoid taking things personal

The most challenging part of a cultural transformation is the ability to cope with one’s feelings and fears as well as with people’s dysfunctional behaviors. It takes courage to see yourself in others’ actions and be able to deal with it, without taking things personal.

How do I do it?

  • Asking for feedback about the way I behave and communicate with others.
  • Increasing self-awareness by working in pairs with other colleagues.
  • Asking for help and showing myself vulnerable when making mistakes.
  • Apologizing in front of the team when making mistakes.
  • Recognizing my personal limits, by constantly validating how present I am during conversations (Less Focused means something is off, fully concentrated means I’m doing something right).

Enough about me, what about you?

What challenges you when building Agile/other type Organizations?

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Jesus Mendez

I am Jesus Mendez and I help people collaborate with heart. I consider myself as an inspiring learner who nurtures from people's interactions and is extremely passionate about helping leaders survive and thrive. I offer you tools and techniques to help you inspire those around you by sharing what I've tried and experienced. I wish we can connect and make a better world, one conversation at a time!

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