How many times have you heard management say “if they would just adopt that Agile thing it will fix the problems!” At Agile 2013 Christopher Avery provided insight into this management mindset during his talk. It’s not hard to find organizations where this mindset exists. For me the core of Christopher’s message was the time for deterministic, linear management is over. Managers need to transform themselves to become empirical and adaptive. This is a critical step if a transformation is to succeed in your organization.
In a discussion I had later that evening I found someone who didn’t like Christopher’s message. This person felt the talk was too confrontational and ‘us vs. them’. I actually believe if this is what the person heard … mission accomplished!
Confrontation is exactly what needs to happen. However, it’s not Christopher or anyone else who needs to confront managers with such an issue. Having been a manager of people it was the point I confronted my own responses I became a leader. It wasn’t until I stopped blaming my team, or justifying poor results based on some constraint I was able to finally confront where I was. It was then I was able to start coaching my team in doing great things. I feel fortunate that I confronted myself early in my career.
As for the us vs. them concern. I would agree this exists but the root of it is not in Christopher’s message. The root of it is out there in our companies where management points at the staff and the staff points at management. Whether we’re blaming or justifying … you’re having a very natural human reaction. It’s once we are able to see this and take responsibility for our actions that we can start to break down these walls.
Unless we’re willing to confront ourselves as managers, front line workers, and members of society these walls and barriers will continue to exist. I encourage you to take a step back confront your own responses and actions first. Are you practicing what you’re preaching? Stop trying to ‘fix them’.
Confronting reality sucks!