We made a public commitment to share what we had done on the book each day, starting on Wednesday March 7. Here are this week’s updates, in reverse date order.
Friday, April 6
Michael & Michele – Seeing the System – The ability to see systems is a core leadership skill, and is measured in the Leadership Circle Profile, a foundational methodology in our approach. One way to look at systems that is well known in the Agile community is to do value stream mapping. A value stream map shows us what the system does at each step in a process, and measures key metrics like value added and non-value added time, lead time, etc. Value stream mapping is an ITS quadrant methodology that allows us to see the system and where things get stuck or are inefficient in our workflow. One extension of the Integral model is to realize we can look at a given quadrant both from the outside and from the inside. Value stream mapping — and systems thinking generally — is looking at ITS from the outside. What if we look from the inside?
A technique for looking at the system from the inside is a systemic constellation. Applying this method to our value stream map, I can configure the key process steps onto the floor in a meeting room, then have different people act as representatives of that step. The person stands at the location for that step, and feels into (or intuits) what it is like to be that step in the process. For example, let’s say we are mapping a loan application process. I will represent the process step of Evaluating the Loan Application for Approval. I stand in the location for that process step, and I “feel” frustration about the loan application having to wait for 7 days before I make the approval decision after only 15 minutes of actual examination. Other steps in the process report their bodily sensations, feelings or intuitions. Looking from the inside, the process starts to come alive. Perhaps the team going through this now has a new insight about how to shorten the non-value add time. In any case, a potentially dry process exercise now becomes more feeling oriented, and brings a more dual brain perspective online.
Thursday, April 5
Michele & Michael – A Place for Everything – At the end of each day in the Agile Transformational Leader workshop, we do a closing circle to hear from participants what they are taking away or appreciating from the day. In yesterday’s closing circle for day two, some of the feedback was quite telling about how the Integral Agile Transformation Framework™ is useful to people. Several said that immersing in the framework was helping them to integrate a lot of different models they knew about, but didn’t always know why the given model was useful. Since the IATF is a meta-framework, it helps us see the integration of various approaches and how they each fit into the world, when the approach is useful, how it helps, and what it might miss or leave undone. Other people talked about how working with the framework helped them see their own biases and limitations. Most of us are especially good at the techniques of one or two quadrants, but not the others. This is not a problem per se, unless we end up only using that perspective. It’s a reminder that we need to work in cross-functional change teams, including members that have facility in the different quadrants. We need to look to others’ strength to support us, and offer ours to them.
Wednesday, April 4
Michael & Michele – Growing our Leadership – When we work, our self comes out, in all its glory and gory. There is no way not to bring our Self into the equation. We can hide behind theories and frameworks and lectures, but in the end, our Self is what we have to work with when we are in the business of helping to birth change. If we wish to get better at our craft of leadership, we will need to get feedback on how it impacts other people. That will mean at times facing some hard places inside ourselves, seeing motivations and patterns that are painful to own as ours. At other times through their feedback, people will help us see the gifts and talents inside us; ironically, seeing these can at times be more overwhelming than seeing our reactive side. When we find the true gifts inside us, there is an overwhelming feeling of humility, of grace, a question of who are we to deserve such abundance.
Fully taking in our weaknesses as well as our strengths is the only path to growing ourselves; leadership development is not a solo activity, it is a team sport. If we are in the change business, we cannot stop growing, for the challenges will be ever greater, more complex, more dicey. We solve problems only for more interesting, complex problems to emerge. We do that best in partnership. We do that for the love of our craft, for the love of our clients. #JustGrow.
Tuesday, April 3
Michael & Michele – Stillness at the Beginning – The beginning of transformation engagements is a delicate time. The field is wide open; the possibilities almost endless. There is chaos as well as possibility; constraint as well as freedom. The Principals within the client organization are excited as well as fearful; the Coaches confident and anxious at the same time. If we relax into stillness, we will more easily appreciate this time that bursts with meaning, rather than getting caught in the ambition of achievement. To be proper servants of change, we must give up our attachment to a specific outcome, particularly one that makes us ‘look good.’ When we come back to stillness, we see more clearly what is trying to happen in the system we are engaging, the future that wants to emerge through us and our partners in the client system. It is a precious time to be savored, despite the feeling of urgency to get the change done, the way the beginning goes will shape everything that happens later. Let us be still.
Monday, April 2
Michele & Michael – Our personal mission, as Conscious Integral Leaders at Trans4mation, is to bring different perspectives, methods and tools from outside of the Agile industry to our Agile Transformation world. So, we have been deeply engaged in the organizational development and change community (OD), the leadership coaching and development space, and the integral movement, in order to address organizational transformation challenges using proven methods from the experts in the given field.
Earlier this year, we were inspired by our integral friends to think about speaking at the Integral European Conference this May on the topic of our “Integral Agile Transformation Framework™”. Last week we found out our proposal was accepted and so, we will be speaking to THE integral experts in the field about Integral Agile. This is thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time, since we are used to presenting to Agilists but not to Integralists! We have found, though, that the communities we’ve been engaged with outside of Agile are very interested to know more about the proliferation of the Agile movement across the globe, as they have been encountering Agile at every turn in their organizational transformation work. We have a common mission and synergy around integral thinking applied to conscious leadership, and the work needed in the world. This is the work we are called to do.