Agile Energy

My father’s Next Big Thing is to take down two stately white pine trees near his home. Long ago, the destructive White Pine Weevil invaded and compromised the trees, causing them to grow more than one trunk, and deforming them. From far away, these tall beauties look to be thriving, but up-close, their misshapen status tells another story.

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The White Pine Weevil, after mating in a Mile High Club of their own, find their way into the white pine tree, and never leave. They block the tree’s energy. The trees survive by putting their energy through the path of least resistance, often creating outcroppings and deformities. You can find malformed white pine trees all over Wisconsin.

Transforming your organization to be Agile (and Lean!) has similar qualities, in that your organization will use its energy to take the path of least resistance. When your environment is not set up for Agile to be successful, your organization will have outcroppings and deformities, ultimately compromising success.

Please don’t mistake trying to change culture as a way to create the environment for Agile to be successful. Take a look at my last blog for details on how culture change is an outcome of the right environment for Agile to survive.

The energy of teams who are told to “go for it” and “make mistakes” will be quickly blocked when they are denied an Agile environment. What might that look like? Here are two biggies:

  • Leaders saying to “go for it,” but then not funding training for scrum teams.
  • Leaders saying “make mistakes” but then reverting to command and control behaviors when something goes wrong, or a really big opportunity arises

In fact, teams with enough Agile energy will push through the path of least resistance, likely creating outcroppings of Agile in your organization. Maybe some teams will use a different training vendor or program. Maybe they will uncover a really great idea for how Agile will work in your organization, but they won’t share it, because they’ve already been blocked. Or, they could share it with others and not tell you, continuing a clandestine Agile energy movement away from the mainstream. That could be the beginning of another trunk on the same tree.

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If you’re not focused on creating a true Agile environment, the energy will go elsewhere. You may have so many deformities in your transformation, such as being Kinda Sorta Agile, or not being Agile at all.

Agile transformation is really hard. Where to begin? Try reflection. When reflecting on your Agile environment, leaders may need to stop and take a critical look at their vision. Slow down to go faster is entirely relevant, here. You can’t walk the talk if you aren’t connected to the talk. Do you mean it when you talk funding?

Don’t waste another day of blocking the energy of your organization. Begin today to create the path of least resistance for your teams, and watch them flourish.

One thought on “Agile Energy

  1. Pingback: The Other Side of Agile Energy | Francie Van Wirkus


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