Coach’s Notes: What Vs. How I

Excerpt from Permission to Lead, book 2 of The Dominant Gene series, a business novel about leadership. Part one in a two-part series.

“Ha,” Eve swirls her matcha, “so, what do you think respect for people means?”

This has to be a trick question. I know the answer. “It means we shouldn’t call people resources.”

Eve smirks, “Cute.”

“What? Am I wrong?”

“You’re not…wrong. You’re taking a behavior from that concept and calling it a concept. It’s a behavior.”

“So, respect for people isn’t a behavior?” I’m challenging a little for fun, mostly for real.

“In lean leader standard work, it’s not just a behavior. You’ll see it in scaled agile framework too, but don’t worry about that.” Eve seems to be talking more to herself than to me.

“Scaled agile what?” Great, more words to learn.

“Sorry. I shouldn’t have talked about that. Let’s forget about it for now, and circle back on it in the future. Back to the topic,” Eve smiles, “respect for people is one of the most misunderstood parts of lean leader standard work.”

I roll my eyes, “Of course it is. Any coach like you walking around WL would see it sorely missing. Although I’m not clear on it all, I know that I’ve been part of the problem, too,” I sigh. I’m exhausted talking about all of this.

“Right. That is one part of it,” Eve sits back in her chair. She’s getting philosophical, “to treat people fairly, give them clear goals, and trust them to reach those goals.”

Eve, leader coach in Permission to Lead. Art by Ian Corrao

“And give them accountability for results,” I add.

“Yes. In lean and agile, it’s so much more than that. Which is where people misunderstand the concept. The real respect for people is about the difference between the what and the how.”

I have no idea, so I say nothing, and just look expectantly at her.

Part 2 of this blog…

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