Why I write Agility Stories
Role models - authentic ones - are the best teachers. Their stories are food for those who want to excel at work, because we are all wired to consume stories.
I tell their stories. Here is how I got around to doing it.
I have been a reader for a long time and a few years ago; I arrived at a place where I wanted to write for 2 reasons:
All the reading and no expression was like undigested food sitting inside me. I had to state my view to sort out the essentials for myself. I promised to myself I would stay honest to my thoughts as I wrote, for this to happen.
Two - I wanted glory, fame and recognition for how wise I was. I tried. Alas! None of that really happened.
I realised that my truths were not something supremely profound and after I shared them; they had no no lasting effect on anyone. Everyone was busy sorting out their own truths.
Nevertheless, some of these truths were important to me. I share them below. Please skip the bullets below, if your cup is already full :)
Learn, Have fun and Add Value. If all 3 are missing for you at work - it is time to leave this job.
Meaningful personal change is possible only by changing your habits. The ones that derail you the most and often - are the ones with the highest impact.
Habit change is not easy. Taking one thing and focussing on it for 100 days helps. Peer support in the form of action learning also helps.
‘Why’, ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘How’. This is the sequence for helping teams come out of chaos.
All efforts to establish clarity of roles (the who) will fail if the purpose of a group is still unclear (the why) - because ‘why’ comes before ‘who’.
Useful conversations on ‘what’ (needs to be done) can only begin after both ‘why’ and ‘who’ are clear. Yet how many times ..
A team going around in circles is often one that is debating ‘how’ without clarifying the ‘what’ for themselves.
The ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’ sequence is also a diagnostic on where teams have gone off track. Backtrack to a point where there is still clarity and start afresh from there to help out.
The leader’s main job is to empower her team.
Daniel Pink’s Motivation (Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose) is the first step to a self-empowered individual. A leader creates this empowerment by removing constraints so that most people can jump over the hurdles particular to them.
The ‘jumping’ must be done individually by everyone, because the jump is different for everyone. The leader helps with ‘nudge’ and ‘nurture’.
The 2nd step for the leader is to provide engagement opportunities to individuals. Most learning happens through doing meaningful work. Ditto for job satisfaction.
A critical mass of self empowered individuals are needed for a team to be self-empowered. Many agile efforts miss the individual.
The 3rd step for the leader is to provide clarity on customer context. This happens at the team level. Clear vision, engagement with end customers, a good product manager - are all possibilities.
All these steps are of no use if the leader does not provide alignment amongst the team. Alignment ensures that the moving parts work together.
Alignment happens when role clarity, team processes, and leading indicators of outcomes are all in place and adequately communicated to everyone.
I felt demotivated that I could not effectively reach out with my truths. It did not help that I was lazy and gave up easily. Especially when it came to blowing my own trumpet.
So I dug around inside of myself to see what I could do to be useful. Helping others to empower themselves still seemed to be the most important thing I could do. I guess you could also say, ‘Those who can, they do; Those who can’t - they teach!’ :)
I realised I could do Stories. Stories have only a few themes, yet they can be retold endlessly.
They capture the listener’s attention. They do leave something behind, after they have been told and put away.
So slowly, I learnt to tell stories. Along the way, I also realised that my story and my truth are not my exclusive domain.
If I resonate to a particular person, then telling her story is as good as trying to tell my own. Even better, in fact, because every such person can be a new story. Newness attracts.
This is how I came upon the idea of celebrating role models.
My role models - self empower themselves. They self empower others. That is who they are.
I want their results to speak for themselves, more than their egos - so I call these Agility Stories. I write them in 1st person for the same reason.
If you have empowered yourself. If you empower your teams. Your results speak for it. Then, you are my kind of person. I want to tell your story too.
Like you - authenticity is a prerequisite for me. So you must be willing to share yourself in your story.
If you are interested, please reach me on calendly.com/brijsethi so that together we can explore your truth, for a story.
I have found friends and support as I have tried to walk this path. To each of you who reached out and patted me on the back - Thanks and a big return Hug 🤗.