The Leader Foments Revolution (aka: Seeds My Mom Sowed)

In a broad sense, what leaders do is stage revolutions. ~Chris Brady

The revolution fire I am trying to ignite in the software development world is – People Matter. People are so much more than the skills they bring to the workplace. They are not just Developers or QA or Designers or any other assigned role but complete human beings. People deserving a work environment embracing their entire person. People Matter is why I do what I do the way I do what I do.

People Matter is ‘my why!’

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A Leader Breaks Out Of Patterns

How to not be constrained by what you already know? ~Ed Catmull

One of the greatest dangers in being a business coach is becoming a one trick pony and falling into irrelevance. Relying on the same old formula to solve problems grows stale. It becomes a dead language.

How then to stay ahead of the curve and stay relevant?

I like to ask questions, evolve questions based on answers, explore the patterns that arise. This approach is based on the premise that ideas are not a zero sum game. They are a multiplicity, exponential leading toward infinity. Each new answer is a seed growing a different tree.

To improve questions, the knowledge based must be expanded. I like to grow knowledge by reading in a variety of genres, reading articles with which I do not agree, reading books by global authors originally penned in languages other than English.

I find this grows my knowledge enabling me to see patterns I previously did not know existed. Which improves my questions leading to the bridging of minds adding to the infinitude of ideas available to address problems.

A Leader Walks Toward Discomfort

If you are not uncomfortable as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader. ~Brené Brown

For the most part, I am profoundly comfortable in my leadership role. Which begs the question, where am I coming up short? Where am I shirking my leadership duties? Where should I expand my sphere of influence to increase my level of discomfort? Bluntly, into what pile of crap do I need to step? Continue reading “A Leader Walks Toward Discomfort”

A Leader Polishes Souls

I wish we had a camera for the souls of people walking out of our offices and factories every day; it would make sludge look pristine. ~Bob Chapman

A sculptor looks at a marble slab and envisions the soul of the sculpture waiting to be released then chips away at the extraneous to reveal the beauty hidden within. So, too, a great leader sees the potential of a person, a new recruit, a frustrated colleague, an underperforming workmate and, with ongoing conversations, revealing questions, pointed suggestions, helps release the person’s soul into edifying work, work in which the person thrives.
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The Dead Poet’s Society, a Study in Leadership Development

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
~Walt Whitman

The final scene in the movie, “The Dead Poet’s Society” is a group of high school boys standing on their desks facing toward the rear door through which their beloved teacher, Mr. Keating, played brilliantly by Robin Williams, is exiting. A lamb sacrificed by the school administration eager to find a scapegoat after a student committed suicide. The scene began with Mr. Keating returning to the classroom to pick up his personal effects while his former students were studying poetry under a new teacher, the school administrator who happened to be the Pilate spearheading the sacrifice to appease parents.

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A Leader Plants

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

The number of seeds planted is a lead measure, one over which we have direct control. Harvesting, on the other hand, is a lag measure, proportionate to the planting, but governed by many conditions (sunlight, temperatures, precipitation) outside our direct control. Planting seeds is a controllable. Choosing where to plant seeds is a controllable.

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Agile Is Human Connection

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together. ~African Proverb

Poetry and art and love stories and handwritten notes and Agile development are about human connection. Like poetry, an agile team eliminates extraneous process to produce a succinct, effective flow to their work. Like art, the agile team creates beautiful software that dazzles the user. Like love stories, the agile team brings their entire being to the party and does whatever it takes to ensure their team succeeds. Like handwritten notes, the agile team shows teammates in a tangible way they are valued for their contributions and, more importantly, as unique individuals.

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