• Agile,  Coaching,  Facilitation,  Leadership

    Use the Value Cards exercise to help your teams collaborate better

    Edit 17/11/07. Now available for purchase   What do you think happens when someone who values empathy, love, kindness, respect, and humility joins the same team as someone who values boldness, success, fame, influence, and reputation if they are unaware of their own values and their differences with each other? Do you think they would collaborate well, make use of each others unique perspectives, and look to each other to complement their ideas? Or do you think they would struggle, misunderstand, and avoid each other? Our personality and values drive our behaviors and they’re all very different thingsOur personality is the unique and relatively stable pattern of our feelings, thoughts, and…

  • Feedback,  Leadership

    Is your feedback really feedback?

    2 years ago I worked with a team that struggled with delivering feedback to each other. Team members would try to express something constructively either to raise each others performance levels or to improve relationsships, but somehow something would always seem to go wrong and they ended up triggering each other. This damaged their productivity and morale to an extent that several people left the team. The remaining team members went through feedback training and coaching, and we looked at intentions behind feedback and how to construct feedback. Eventually they were able to have difficult conversations with each other in a constructive way that strengthed their morale and productivity. They…

  • Coaching,  Leadership,  Organisation

    First correct the environment, then coach the teams

    Some organisations attempt to increase their teams performance by injecting agile coaches or scrum masters into their teams. At the same time the environment is not conducive to coaching which means that coaching will not have any significant effect until the environment has been adjusted. To create an environment that enables autonomy and evokes high performance the following four conditions are necessary: Teams need a (one) compelling mission. Teams need the necessary skill set to deliver value (to customers or internal stakeholders) or at least a good enough match and time to learn more. Teams need to feedback from the customers and organisation. Teams need focus both in terms of…

  • Agile,  Leadership,  Organisation

    What we learned from removing all chapter leads (managers) in the IT tribe at Spotify

    Two years ago the Internal IT tribe @ Spotify was greatly understaffed but got approval to scale from 25 to 75 employees. As we started scaling we recognised that Spotifys organisational model added too many formal leadership roles for our taste and we wanted to find an organisational model that allowed us to scale without adding more formal leadership roles. During this time the existance of chapter leads was also being challenged in our tribe by our squad members. To solve both these problems we conducted an experiment where we distributed leadership responsibilities and we removed all the managers (chapter leads). I did a lightening talk about our experiment at Agila…

  • Agile,  Leadership

    No, agile coaching is not cat herding

    Agile coaches and leaders in agile organisations sometimes refer to parts of their job as herding cats. While said with a smile it has a negative connotation. I’ve done this in the past myself and I think it’s important that we stop talking about our jobs, and people and teams this way for several reasons: Talking about cat herding hides the real problems at hand. What exactly is the team doing that makes them appear as cats? And what should the team improve in order to not be a bunch of cats? It’s disrespectful and as a coach or leader you are likely loose influence. Sure, cats are smart, independant, and resourceful, but what coaches/leaders…

  • Feedback,  Leadership

    Feedback workshop facilitation guide

    For the past two years I’ve been facilitating and evolving a hands-on feedback workshop for existing teams that I have run with support teams, dev teams, and lead teams with positive results. I’m now sharing it in the hopes that it helps bring people and teams closer together, and improves the collaboration, all across the world*. Feel free to use it as it is, or change it as you see fit. Also please share your experiences with it! 🙂 * With that said, I don’t think it’s wise to run this workshop if you do not have adequate/significant experience from feedback, self awareness increasing activities such as Johari Window, and facilitation.  

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